Home-Brew and the DIY innovation movement @ Slate Magazine. What Beer Can Teach Us About Emerging Technologies – The home-brew movement serves as a lesson in DIY innovation…
Since the legalization of home brewing in 1979, however, the number of craft breweries has grown to more than 1,800, most of which were founded by DIY home brewers. Tens of thousands of DIYers now brew across the United States. The American Homebrewers Association boasts a roster of 27,000 paying members ($38 per year; $600 lifetime).
We can learn several crucial lessons from this diverse, creative group, and that understanding will allow us to encourage innovation. For some, the main impetus for DIY is that it provides an outlet from their daily grind: Many employees suffer the life of the cubicle-bound “knowledge worker.” In his best-selling Shop Class As Soulcraft, Matthew Crawford argues that the elimination of industrial arts and home economics classes from public school curricula has left us dependent on machines that we don’t understand and frustrated by the outsourcing and off-shoring of production. We also derive little satisfaction from what we “produce” at work. We’ve become a nation of shoppers and consumers. DIY is a way to engage the physical things around us and create durable (and drinkable) objects. Based on informal conversations with other DIYers, some of these motivations include self-reliance, community-building, autonomy, independence from monopolies, an alternative to rampant consumerism, innate curiosity, and the desire to make something cool.
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