The Nation of Makers: Becoming more than an organization

At Super-Releaser, our team members come from very diverse backgrounds and have a variety of expertise. For example, our soft goods engineer, Kari Love, is heavily involved with the maker movement and her and Matthew's local hackerspace, NYC Resistor. As a result, Kari was asked to be on the transition group to carry on work started by a White House initiative launched to support the growing maker movement.

Since it’s creation in 2014, the President's Nation of Makers Initiative has been working to help connect and highlight the work of makers, hackers, and educators. Some convened by the White House have even gone as far as to survey the "state of making" in all 50 states.

As the current presidential term comes to an end, the Nation of Makers (along with many other White House initiatives) is being spun out into an independent form. The Nation of Makers transition group has been entirely focused on setting up the organization as a non-profit, writing a proposal Mission for the community, compiling the many values of the maker movement, and building the foundation for the Nation of Makers as a standalone organization.

“The formation of the new Nation of Makers organization is in response to a call to action from the President,” says Kari, “It’s entirely being done by and for the community.”

The Nation of Makers has come a long way since the government first took interest in the maker community. As Kari herself describes it, “The White House and President Obama’s Office of Science and Technology identified that there was something really special happening in the maker movement.” She adds that they saw how makers exhibit community action and novel thinking, along with skills in economics, education, manufacturing and entrepreneurship, and as a result sought to help cultivate these behaviors. Since launching the Nation of Makers, the White House has hosted its own National Maker Faire for students, makers, and entrepreneurs to share their work with U.S. officials. The most recent National Maker Faire took place in June, and kicked off a presidentially-proclaimed “National Week of Making”.

A founding board of directors has already been set up, including veterans of the maker movement such as Adam Savage, former co-host of the television show MythBusters and head of Tested.com, Harley K. Dubois, co-founder of Burning Man,  and Professor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Winston-Salem State University, Pamela L. Jennings.

Now that the organization is a standalone entity, it plans to continue connecting makers everywhere. For example, there are plans to help educators find funding for maker education and to communicate the best practices for starting a makerspace. The Nation of Makers may even serve as a platform for makers to seek information on gaining access to tools and resources, such as equipment and time in National Labs.

“It’s such a big mission and such a big vision that it’s hard to even narrow down what the potential is,” says Kari. “In terms of where the benefits could lie, it’s entirely dependent on what people can imagine and what people want to build.”

In conclusion, Super-Releaser is very happy for one of its own to be giving back to the community from which it grew. We are also excited to see where the Nation of Makers will go as its own organization, and where it will help take the entire maker movement as a whole.

If this sounds interesting to you, we suggest you check out these sites:

Nation of Makers Official Website
Nation of Makers White House
Nation of Makers series on Make

If you'd like ongoing information about the new Nation of Makers org sign-up (and set your spam filters right) to get:
Nation of Makers Newsletter

If you are a maker who wishes to further this cause, this is what you can do to help:
Participate in the Nation of Makers Formal Announcement

By Aidan Leitch

Kari Love