Making a new Europe: The OpenMaker initiative

Accelerating the 4th Industrial Revolution: Inviting Makers & Manufacturers

The OpenMaker initiative is a pan-European project aiming to seed & accelerate the 4th Industrial Revolution.

We recognise manufacturing as one of the key sectors in Europe: in 2014, manufacturing represented around 16% of the EU GDP, more than 80% of EU total exports, 80% of private Research and Development expenditure, and employed 30 million people[1]. However, the sector has suffered in the wake of an economic crisis and globalisation[2], and in 2014 a goal was announced to increase manufacturing’s share of GDP to 20% by 2020[3]. Such aspirations require radical innovation in the face of economic decline and technological disruption.

The 4th industrial revolution heralds such a shift not only in the nature of what we make and how and where we make it but also how we reimagine elements like citizens rights, quality assurance, insurance warranties and provenance in a zero margin cost society. It is ultimately supporting the distributed networking of scale free industrial processes to bring about the new “smart factory[4]” city.

This initiative seeks to catalyse the ideation, discovery, design and prototyping of business models, production processes, products, and governance systems.

We aim to seed & prototype collaborative innovation across manufacturers and makers and transforming linear vertical supply chains into supply meshes, democratizing and decentralising innovation and supporting mass customisation is seen as a strategic opportunity for ushering forth a new era of manufacturing.

The programme will initially support makers and manufacturers with 4 accelerator hubs across Europe (UK, Italy, Slovakia and Spain) offering seminars, matching events and training sessions to facilitate partnerships. the initiative will also engage with citizens, universities, local authorities, civil society organisations and policy-makers. Each hub will award prizes of up to €20,000 to successful partnerships, and all partners will be supported by a dedicated digital platform to widen the opportunity for businesses to grow.

Imagine a future where manufacturing companies become the open platform for young innovators to try inventions and take their next step to making an impact on society. Then, imagine a future in which brilliant innovators are able to transform industrial processes, making them more efficient and effective, resulting in more user-friendly products for society. OpenMaker unites these two dreams.

– Filippo Addarii, Co-Founder and CEO, PlusValue

The industrial revolution was born at the crucible of a reimagining of our institutions and our means of making, and we are again at a similar moment where the remaking of our literal future is contingent on us reimagining our institutional infrastructure for a new age of Democratized making. OpenMaker initiatives recognise the 4th industrial revolution will not be made by merely focusing on new products or the localized remaking of existing products, but on this symbiotic relationship between our institutions and our means of making. The OpenMaker initiative is an open opportunity for cities to systematically reimagine and start recasting their manufacturing ecosystem for a 21st Century.  
-Indy Johar, Senior Innovation Associate Young Foundation, Co-Founder 00, Co-Founder Dark Matter Laboratories, Chair – Wikihouse Foundation.

Catherine Hughes, Communications, OpenMaker
M: 0044 7746 198 352 (UK)

OpenMaker website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

OpenMaker is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The OpenMaker consortium consists of 10 partners:

  1. The Young Foundation (UK)
  2. Bogazici University (Turkey)
  3. Centire (Slovakia)
  4. IMT Lucca (Italy)
  5. LAMA (Italy)
  6. Tecnalia (Spain)
  7. Top-ix (Italy)
  8. University of Zurich (Switzerland)
  9. Accord Group (UK)
  10. PlusValue (UK)

[1] See EC Task Force on Advanced Manufacturing for Clean Production (2014)

[2] While Frey-Osborne, (2013) identifies that 47% of current jobs – including accountancy, legal work and technical writing – risk being completely automated in twenty years, it is already apparent that the “sharing economy” and th e “on-demand economy” are facilitating nonstandard employment and subcontracting, reducing substantially workers’ protection. On this topic, and on the impact of globalisation on the manufacturing sector, see also Center for American Progress, 2015.