MAKE-IT celebrated the fourth annual Maker Faire Barcelona with visitors from all around the world, of all ages, backgrounds, expertise and curiosity levels and facilitated, in this context, three workshops over the course of two intense days. This was the opportunity to meet, discuss and co-create individualized ‘solutions’ based on the imagination, creativity and innovation of participants who contributed and learnt new skills and ideas with the workshops of our partners from Fablab TI and ZSI.
The topics facilitated the organization and governance around maker communities and labs, how lab managers, personnel and makers can improve and increase peer and collaborative activities inside and outside of the labs, usually stemming from activities created and fine-tuned within the labs, and the creating value of a social and/or commercial scale. The workshop contributed to the core pillars of the MAKE-IT project, and also brought to the fore contributions in education, learning and knowledge, society, and economics and sustainability.
Workshop 1: How Labs become relevant – Fablab TI
During individual and collective brainstorm session on social, emotional and functional aspects of what a lab should do for its makers/users, participants were challenged to distance themselves from their own narrative and empathize with their surroundings and stakeholders. There’s a strong narrative in the maker community which, from an outside perspective may appear esoteric. Questioning assumptions about what the role of their labs and maker spaces is becomes both a challenge and an educational experience creating insight various ‘jobs’ that labs/maker spaces should pay attention to.
Workshop 2: Sustainable Business Models for Labs – Fablab TI
While exploring the question of ‘why am I here?’ participants were able to not only assess and share their individual reasons for attending the workshop, but also to reflect on whether through a process of co-creation with the facilitators and fellow participants are able to develop new business models particular and feasible to their specific situation, lab or maker space.
Individual commitment sessions, where participants worked on constructing personal or lab activities they would try to implement upon returning home revealed some insightful commitments:
Experiment: Try to sell a 3D printing/team building workshop to acompany
Hypothesis: Someone is willing to pay for this, at least the price of a 3D printer
Signs of success: 1 sold and happy customer before the end of the year
(a) plan a half day event
(b) make a brochure
(c) try to sell by cold calling
Experiment: Organize a workshop for members and non-members
Hypothesis: If we organize workshops we will attract new members and attention outside of our community
Signs of success: People attend the workshop and get interested in the activities of our makerspace and somebody decides to join as a new member
(a) choose a:
date—ending of July
(b) the chosen day give the workshop
(c) during the workshop talk with new faces and get
interested in their interests. Introduce them to
current members with the same interest.
(d) offer them to become members, get their feedback
about the workshop, future workshops and activities
Experiment: Show and Tell
Hypothesis: Makers are eager to share their achievements; Others like to be inspired; companies are looking for talent
Signs of success: Presentation of 3-4 projects. Minimum of 25 attendees including entrepreneurs and business angels
(a) find members with project ideas
(b) create workshop to develop ideas and create prototype
(c) exhibit projects as they are being fabricated
(d) organize event—getting stakeholders involved (entrepreneures, business angels, investors)
Workshop 3: Inclusive Makerspaces – ZSI
One of the missions of the Maker movement is the democratization of access to digital technologies for all people regardless of educational background, age, gender, disability, etc. Is this mission accomplished or does the male white young maker with technological background prevail in the maker scene?
In the interactive session together we imagined how an ideal inclusive maker space would look like and think of how to reach out to people who hardly find their way to the maker space.
Workshop 4: Facilitation of Idea Validation – Fablab TI
Individual and team presentation on the topics facilitation and validation resulted in many participants agreeing and emphasizing the importance of establishing a culture where makers and lab personnel started asking the right questions to facilitate makers in the progression of their ideas from an intangible concept to a more concrete stage where value is created. A huge focus during this workshop was that of makers/lab users and their ideas, more focus on gauging market interest, and finding the right it, before building it right, rather than on the technology-driven aspects or functional perspectives of labs, where many makers tend to be more readily equipped. See picture of participant’s feedback below.