Article by Materahub

The relationship between Made in Italy and craft represents an invaluable contribution to Italian success in the world. The great tradition of Italian trades is not going to disappear: on in fact, in the next few years there will be an increase in the demand for professions based on human skills that machines cannot replace: manual skills, talent and creativity.

Recent studies on employment trends in high-income countries agree that craft and all ‘hands-on’ jobs will be among the most popular occupations in the next 10 years. Among industrialised countries, Italy enjoys a favoured position because it has the most famous tradition of the craft trades and the excellence of its manual production is recognised globally: ceramics, violin-making, tailoring, glassware, jewellery, agri-food products, mechatronics, bicycles, components, etc.

A job you can do from home

Craft studios often combine the workplace with the home, solving the problem of reconciling family and work. 21st century workplaces are also moving away from the old model of the anonymous and standardised industrial factory. This production model is even more valid today: ‘digital artisans’, for example, are almost always freelancers working from home. Today, it is women who invest in craft production and, in most cases, they work from home and sell online to customers who are increasingly demanding, confirming that craft activity favours employment for women but also for young people.

In the third millennium the craft workshop is not only the place where objects of the highest quality are produced and knowledge handed down from generation to generation is preserved, but also the place where today there is more innovation and space for creativity and the new frontiers of digital technology.

Creativity, manual skills and technology, a perfect mix

Another strength that makes the craft industry a job of the future is the ability to repair, regenerate, rebuild, which is typical of the artisan world, in contrast to the industrial philosophy of disposability and is more relevant today than ever before. The crafter has always innovated: through the creation and improvement of tools, the choice and experimentation of new materials and the talent for repair – which is often more elaborate than the creation of the object.

Today, artisans are becoming digital makers and are connected to the world, not only to their local area. All the studies on the future of the sector indicate that digital is a great opportunity, not only for the automation of machinery and the simplification of activities but above all for e-commerce and the “internet of things”. The internet of things is the new frontier of putting sensors inside handmade and customised objects. The prospect for craft – which is the most important production sector for customised objects globally – is very hopeful because it enables the creation of ‘smart’ objects that interact with users, that ‘talk’ to each other and, above all, to those who made them.

In addition to this, e-commerce helps to use the web to better propose yourself, to sell all over the world “staying at home”, to sell highly customisable products. Thanks to the Internet, it is possible to maintain a post-sale relationship with the customer at a very low cost.

Italy is the perfect ecosystem for future artisans

In Italy, there is an important trend towards the return of many manual productions that had been located abroad: craft is the sector that, more than any other, is implementing a deep ‘green transformation’ in the way it designs, manufactures and disposes of its products. Finally, the close link between Italian “craft districts” and the territories that generated them has a high impact on so-called “tourist spending“.

These are the reasons why Materahub will use the CRAFT HUB project to encourage young talents to invest in craftsmanship in Italy, perhaps returning home and building process and product innovation of the “Made in Italy”.