Author: Marthe Zirngiebl

http://www.sfs.tu-dortmund.de/cms/de/DieSFS/MitarbeiterInnen/zirngiebl.html
Marthe Zirngiebl is a researcher at Sozialforschungsstelle – Central Scientific Institute of the Technical University Dortmund. She has developed a strong focus on social innovation in various societal contexts. She combines this focus with her previous knowledge in environmental governance and transition studies which she gained during her MSc. in “Environmental Studies and Sustainability Studies” at Lund University (Sweden).

When online meets offline: Digital Social Innovation Fair 2017

It seems to me that fairs are an omnipresent component of the MAKE-IT project. Obviously, Maker Faires are one of the most important opportunities for makers worldwide to showcase their project to a wide community and meet fellow makers and potential investors and consumers in an offline environment. Yet, MAKE-IT through its transdisciplinary approach is not only part of the Maker movement, but, as a CAPS project, MAKE-IT has one foot in the world of social innovation as well. Just like Makers, social innovators display their ideas and meet other like-minded individuals at fairs.

One of these fairs is the Digital Social Innovation Fair, which took place on the 1st and 2nd of February in the pre-digital historic buildings of the Protomoteca Hall on Campidoglio in Rome. The MAKE-IT consortium was well represented with Tomas Diez’s keynote giving a comprehensive overview of the Maker movement’s vast spread including the rise of fab cities and the opportunities of the smart citizen project and Jeremy Millard’s keynote which focused on how acknowledging nature as a fifth additional actor to the quadruple helix model can inform the design of social organisations and substantially alter visions of future societies.

The keynotes given on both days of the fair covered a vast array of topics reaching from practical issues of how e.g. open data management can become a tool for municipal public administration to ethical considerations touching upon the prevailing conflict of online power being in the hands of big corporations instead of citizens. In the evening, Janosch Sbeih and I took part in a side event which led us to FabLab Rome located on the outskirts of the city. We explored the FabLab’s two neighbouring facilities of which one was decorated in neat colours to spur creativity, while the other resembled a garage stuffed with drilling and printing machinery. Leonardo Zaccone who founded the FabLab Rome focusses on introducing kids at an early age to the possibilities of digital fabrication. To enhance the outreach of his Fablabs he developed specialized courses for teachers who can then include digital fabrication into their curriculum.

Side event: Leonardo Zaccone presenting his FabLab at Meet the Roman Makers (Photo by Marthe Zirngiebl)

 

On day 2 of the Digital Social Innovation Fair 2017 Janosch Sbeih presented MAKE-IT’s preliminary results during a workshop called Collaborative Making, Art and Creativity. Since many of the other presenters and people attending our workshop are quite active in the Maker movement, we used our time slot to discuss the question of what the Maker movement needs to sustainably tackle societal challenges such as environmental degradation, social inclusion, and employment.

The audience agreed that a lot of makers pursue projects that have the potential to tackle these challenges sustainably. While they do not lack creativity, ideas and a sense of societal responsibility, they by and large lack public recognition. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for initiatives to receive funding or guide policy in a favorable direction. So one consequent action to be pursued by the Maker movement would be to voice their values and showcase their activities to a wider public. Hence, our presentation, as well as the other ideas and projects exhibited at the Digital Social Innovation Fair 2017, provide valuable insights for MAKE-IT’s sustainability scenarios developed as part of Work Package 6. To collect further input, the results of the discussion are presented here and will remain open for further comments by the online community. Furthermore,  Janosch Sbeih wrote an analytical report of the DSI Fair 2017 you can check below.

 

TUDO Analytical Report: DSI Fair 2017

 

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MAKE-IT at the CAPS Community Meeting and Workshop in Berlin

On 18th May 2016, I presented MAKE-IT at the CAPS Community Meeting and Workshop in Berlin. DG Connect did not only invite all 36 CAPS projects funded in the first two calls, but also external participants interested in their developments. The acronym CAPS stands for Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation.

The CAPS initiative attempts to foster the use of network technologies, thereby building collective intelligence and collective action within five thematic areas. MAKE-IT aims at understanding the role of CAPS in enabling the growth and governance of the Maker Movement, particularly in relation to using and creating social innovations and achieving sustainability. While MAKE-IT is one of the four projects funded within the cluster Collaborative Making, projects of other areas employ means of digital fabrication, as well. In that regard, the community meeting showed that the insights into the working of makerspaces will be of great value for and provide potential synergies with other CAPS projects like Hackair or CAPTOR, which with the help of special DIY building kits encourage citizens to measure the level of air or ocean pollution.

 

Besides presenting MAKE-IT and listening to the presentations of first and second round CAPS projects using socially innovative means to contribute to a more sustainable, more cooperative future, I participated in a workshop which centred on the role and ambition of impact measurement. Of central interest was the tool IA4SI, Impact Assessment for Social Innovation, a first generation CAPS project which developed a self-assessment tool. This tool should assist CAPS and other projects with a focus on digital social innovation in assessing and monitoring their socio-economic, environmental, and political impacts. As such, it serves as an important reference framework for the Monitoring and Assessment Framework developed as part of MAKE-IT’s Conceptual and Methodological Framework.

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