My friend Katie inspires me. It is because she creates. She is a maker of things. Katie makes greeting cards; she draws; she writes; she cooks; she takes pictures. Her joy shows in all of her creations. Her work has on more than one occasion sparked me to create and share my own things.
I feel that many of my generation have lost touch with our intrinsic drive to make things. Instead we have replaced it with habits of consuming things others have made. And while there is that initial excitement at having bought something, it wears off quickly. But the thrill of making things on your own is different. It stays with you. There is a sense of pride and ownership about having learned something or having figured something out.
This past weekend I watched “the next list“, a program on CNN hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It profiled Dale Dougherty and his creation – the Maker Faire. At a time when everyone seems panicked about America losing its edge in creativity and innovation, Dale is igniting that fire single handedly. He is providing a venue for do-it-yourself-ers to show off their creations. “the next list” spot lighted a couple of makers and their creations at one such fair. I was amazed with what I saw.
Somewhere on our way to the 21st century we started to believe that only geniuses can create; that failure was not an option. We stopped making making things and exploring ideas for their own sake. It is time to reconnect with our humanity; get our hands dirty once again and start making things. America doesn’t have to fear losing its leadership in innovation and creativity. But to maintain it we do need to replicate Maker Faire in all of our homes, schools and businesses.