The UK craft sector isn’t a ‘hipster’ economy. It’s sparking innovation | Rosy Greenlees | Opinion | The Guardian


The craft and making sector has created the basis for the disruptive collaboration that led to breakthroughs such as 3D printing, the application of prosthetics in surgery, and the design of the wearable technologies set to revolutionise our clothing. Craft and making can be artisanal but the myth swallowed by policymakers is that it is little more than this. A cute, niche sector. But Britain has quietly built up a £3.4bn making economy, influencing everything from the automotive industry to smartphones. It is also reshaping the way larger brands produce and engage with customers. Companies ranging from Adidas to Ikea have set up design units based on the craft innovation model. Ikea’s Space10 development in Copenhagen, for instance, is specifically based on the idea of collective co-creation. The second myth is that this new craft industry is not an employer, instead being a small ecosystem of makers and curators. Yes, the sector has not given birth to any super-companies yet but neither has the much-vaunted UK tech sector. Instead both have created not corporate monoliths but hundreds, maybe thousands, of small, highly specialised firms that are transforming our economy and the relationship between producer and consumer.

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