An exploratory study: Universities, Enterprises and Maker Communities in Open Design & Manufacturing across Europe

We want to share with you our report that contains the results of an action-research developed in the context of the OD&M Project.

The main objective of this research was to analyze how and to what extent the emerging open design and manufacturing paradigm (OD&M) is currently becoming the ground of progressive convergence and synergy between Universities, enterprises and maker communities, and how this ‘knowledge triangle’ is collaborating towards the creation of effective and meaningful value chains of innovation.

The research started by investigating the key competences and skills that presently characterise the ‘maker profile’, in order to draw a general picture of how these are developed, in which contexts, and through which particular teaching and learning processes. The research explored existing experiences and discussed with Higher Education’s representatives the drivers, barriers and possible scenarios stemming from the introduction of making education within formal learning.

Then, the research involved professional makers and OD&M enterprises (i.e. enterprises that show strong and direct connections with the open design and manufacturing paradigm) in order to get an in depht understanding of how making-related values, skills and competences are contributing to shape and inform their businesses.

Lastly, the research explored the perceptions and opinions of ‘traditional’ companies regarding these topics, and discussed with them the potential risks and benefits that may emerge for them from the OD&M paradigm.

We can say that the different levels of maturity of the maker movement – and, more generally, of the open design and manufacturing paradigm – in the different countries, poses clear challenges in the implementation of this type of research; on the other hand, it reflects the reality of an emerging phenomenon and points to both the challenges of a common path, and the opportunities of building common experimentations at European level.

  1. Research Report – Integral version
  2. Research report – Reduced version

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