Pro-am hobbyists:
A new report from the New Labour-aligned think-tank DEMOS, The Pro-Am Revolution: how enthusiasts are changing our economy & society. £10 on paper, or free to download the PDF. If you smile at the old maxim: “professionals built the Titanic, amateurs built Noah’s Ark”, then the report’s for you. Interesting policy suggestions: do nothing, except get out of their way (I like it); encourage a sort of Friends Reunited – but for hobbies and special-interests, based around geographical location; create a grassroots version of NESTA, for pushing small funds to socially-useful pro-am projects (“ahem, here’s one I made earlier); give pro-ams some free radio spectrum (yum!); widely encourage open-source methods; encourage talented people to turn their hobby into a small businesses. Dubious policy suggestions: get pro-ams to direct their energies toward huge lumbering public-sector organisations (a bit like suggesting shutting a cute chirpy budgie in the same room as a mangey old tom cat); expand higher education (debatable; it may be better to simply give talented people the money HE would have cost); a National Volunteering Day (yawn); and get pro-ams to “play a larger role in innovation foresight exercises” (translation: ‘get them to give the DTI some free consultancy’).