RISE OF THE NEOMAKER
The world-wide Maker movement has become a well-established phenomenon over the past 2 decades. Few people disagree with the view that hands-on creativity and the process of making things are good for us.
Naomi the Neomaker in Action
We have written before about the new phenomenon of individuals; self-organised / informal groups and community businesses that in addition to creating great products and services also have a shared goal. That goal is the promotion of the wellbeing of their customers and supply chain partners. In fact, for these groups, the fostering and sharing of wellbeing is their primary purpose.
We are not talking about Big Corporates and their CSR programmes here. Nor the huge, industrialised charity sector. We really are talking about something quite different: small scale, community focussed, real people in real places. Working in a way that creates value on a level comparable with any multinational or corporate.
As it happens, Neomakers live smack-bang in the intersection between public services and communities. Which means, with diminishing capacity in public service provision, they may well be making a unique (if invisible) contribution to the economy locally and nationally. That is up till now, maybe.
More often than not they are using digital technologies to power their activities and create impact. It could be as simple as using a social media page to market and sell a product. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, organising themselves and networking to high levels of sophistication with online collaboration tools; business management software and CRM / marketing systems.
New Modes of Care
At the same time, the direction of travel of public service policy and provision has necessarily shifted more towards prevention and personalised care. Ushered along, no doubt, by the same winds of change that are driving the Neomaker revolution. This scenario represents an unprecedented era of opportunity for innovation and disruption in the social sector.
A very interesting question arises from all this. What if these Neomakers are creating real value and fostering increased wellbeing within communities? That would make them a de facto component of an emerging supply chain model that may well be the key to sustainable future public service provision? So what exactly is a Neomaker?
Meet Naomi the Neomaker
People say to us, “what is with you system designers and your labels and jargon?” We say, call it whatever you want but let’s have a conversation because the Neomakers are a “thing” in a world that is changing fast and irrevocably.
We’ve been partnering with a group of Neomakers during the past 12 months to test the design of a prototype social prescribing model called BHappy Hub in a local community setting in Kings Heath, Birmingham. So meet Naomi Spencer. She has just celebrated 10 years in business with her event management company.
Naomi founded her community business in 2009 when she organised a christening party for JJ, her 8 month old son. Sadly, on the day she was disappointed and let down by the party planners. She thought, next time I’ll do it myself and before long she was catering for the parties and celebrations of friends and families.
We came across Naomi when we were looking for a partner to help us run a series of wellbeing workshops as part of the BHappy Hub prototype. We were looking for someone who understood a very special requirement that was critical to the design of the model. That requirement was how to create a “pop up” space that said to people in it “you are unique and valuable. In here you can grow.”
“That’s precisely what I do!”
What happened next is critical to the prototype. Naomi said that’s precisely what I do. That is why I set up my business in the first place. Then she said, I get what you’re trying to do and I will contribute my skills. Space making, when done well, shows people they are valued and that you’ve taken the time to meticulously prepare the environment for them.
One final thought on the term “supply chain”. Not be thought of so much as a “chain” but more a complex network of human interactions which in this context promotes the safe conveyance of those precious objects that come together to create wellbeing: trust; confidence; empathy; intelligence; growth and connectedness.