Monday 27, November 2017 by Jessica Combes

Harnessing Maker Movement will help transform GCC economies

 

GCC countries could reap the rewards of youth-oriented innovation and entrepreneurship if they embrace the global phenomenon called ‘Maker Movement’, according to a report released by Oliver Wyman.

The Maker Movement is a rapidly developing global trend that values an individual’s ability to create new and innovative products or services. The movement has evolved into an ecosystem of platforms which includes Maker Spaces, hackathons, Maker Fairs and meetups where the technology-driven do-it-yourself generation gather to learn, become inspired, experiment, design and build prototypes in collaborative environments.

“It is critical GCC policymakers set their sights further up the value chain, developing the skills and capabilities needed to shape the industries of tomorrow. GCC countries, like many others across the globe, have an abundance of potential in their youth population who are eager to adopt new technologies and new ways of learning. To support growth and nurture the ambition, talent and drive of their youth, GCC governments should look to seed, catalyse and enable the growth of the Maker Movement,” said Anshu Vats, Partner and Head of Oliver Wyman Middle East’s Public Sector Practice.

The Maker Movement has been enabled by technologies such as 3D printing and open-source code, and by the rise of social media and its ability to connect like-minded people. Other parts of the ecosystem provide sources for financing and tools for producing, marketing and selling new products. The net effect reduces barriers to entry for creating, manufacturing and marketing products.

The movement’s direct impact, however, is only part of the equation. Still greater is its potential to catalyse GCC innovation in key areas including manufacturing, education, community and entrepreneurship.

Manufacturing
The Maker Movement is inextricably linked to factors driving the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), promoting such trends as small-scale manufacturing and assembly, with manufacturing hubs closer to raw materials and/or end consumers.

Education
The movement can influence existing education models to cultivate a culture of lifelong learning and experimentation with a shift towards “hands-on” learning, learning-by-doing, and innovative thinking. It can prepare the workforce for the industries of tomorrow.

Community
The movement promotes community values and engagement with civic institutions. By bringing together relevant institutions and enablers, it can catalyse local production and enterprise, thus enabling job growth and prosperity for the local economy.

Entrepreneurship
The Maker Movement is an expression of entrepreneurial spirit. The ecosystem proactively enables and promotes entrepreneurship by reducing barriers to entry throughout, and providing access to, the entire product value chain.

Agent of Transformation
The Maker Movement’s collaborative nature can promote a culture of close engagement with local communities and fosters strong connections between citizens and governments. Educational institutions are increasingly collaborating with the Maker Movement to support “learning-through-doing” and applied learning methodologies to engage students in new and constructive ways.

“Instilling community pride through support of local enterprise has long been an aim of the GCC, and is one that the Maker Movement could further help,” said Vats.

Leveraging GCC resources to create viable Maker Movements
The report states how GCC nations have spent the past decade diversify their economies, focusing on traditional and existing industries and exploitation of legacy resources. The GCC now has the opportunity to level the global playing field in sectoral development, promoting national infrastructure and human capital to compete with other global economies, says the report.

“Much of the governmental apparatus and market conditions needed to support the growth of the Maker Movement are already in place in GCC economies. GCC nations, like many across the globe, possess abundant potential in their youth populations, eager to adopt new technologies and strategies for learning. Therefore a coordinated strategy by governments to “reconfigure” traditional ecosystem enablers built in the industrial age could be effective in seeding and enabling the movement’s growth, injecting new vitality into GCC economies, communities, and citizenry,” said Vats.

 

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