A Scan of South Africa’s Maker Movement

Jeremy de Beer, Chris Armstrong, Meika Ellis and Erika Kraemer-Mbula
Publication Date: 21 December 2017

This Working Paper sets out findings from a national scan of maker collectives in South Africa. The scan gathered data on more than 20 maker communities across five South African provinces. The research generated a set of 12 variables, covering a range of management, spatial and activity aspects of maker communities. Several sustainability themes emerged: stability of funding and revenue model; establishment of niches, reputations and brands; knowledge appropriation and intellectual property (IP); elements and degrees of institutionalisation; robustness of communities of practice; embeddedness in broader networks; orientations towards innovation and enterprise development; and socioeconomic inclusion. The data also provided evidence of approaches to innovation-scaling that are broader than commercialisation.