The world of physical things is going through a similar type of disruption the online space has experienced in the past decade. It’s getting much easier to prototype, design, raise money to fund innovation and distribute physical goods, with the advances in 3D technology in particular. We’re entering a new era of manufacturing on demand; the kind of micro-production humanity has never seen before. It’s dizzying to even begin to consider the impact of it all, even a decade from now.
When you teach yourself how to make things, and when you learn about how things work—inside and out—from hands-on experience and from other people, you become a maker. You’re no longer simply a consumer. You learn to solve problems and master a wide variety of machines, tools and exciting new technologies. Makers put all the pieces together to turn an idea into a reality.
These new tools and technologies have widened the variety of content possibilities on the web, which has evolved the industry of digital communications. The lines between marketing, PR, advertising, digital and traditional communications are blurring. I think the future of communications belongs to bold brands that know their own brand narrative very well and stand for what makes them unique. Storytelling across multiple platforms, great experiences for clients and innovation have never been more critical.
Communications professionals need it all these days: writing, video editing, photo editing, HTML and basic programing skills, design for digital and print, solid grasp of user experience and basic principles of information architecture, and event planning. We also need great project management skills, deep understanding of industry trends, an eye and mind for data and analytics to measure impact, and ability to innovate and learn new skills fast.
Maker community and DIY culture have only recently started to come out of the fringes, ready for prime time. I love the idea of people are building robots on their kitchen tables and playing with Raspberry Pi. I love that more and more people get excited about LED lights and soldering. Just like how Internet publishing became democratized by people tinkering with HTML, the processes of making will get democratized in that same way as we collectively fall in love with making things again.