How to Make a Makerspace

Held in Artisan's Asylum with 35,000 sq ft and 140 artisan stalls, this place was a site to behold!

Held in Artisan’s Asylum with 35,000 sq ft and 140 artisan stalls, this place was a site to behold!

Every new makerspace is an adventure. For some it’s a good ride and for others it’s not. The difference can often be attributed to the skills and experience of team members. Some are better prepared to deal with a myriad of issues but most are not. It is this gap which we were trying to address at “How to Make a Makerspace“.

What are the issues? What challenges to they represent? How should I approach solving them? Where can I turn for answers? Can I get guidance from those with prior experience?  These are the kinds of questions attendees had and which Gui Cavalcanti and team tried to address for the 150 or so attendees, most of which were planning their first space.

A panel I moderated was entitled “Comparative Makerspace Business Models.” Having visited many makerspaces and co-founded Nova Labs I found this very comfortable ground to cover. On the panel were leaders from a diverse group of makerspaces: Artisan’s Asylum, Sprout, i3Detroit and Columbus Idea Foundry … and I threw in my experience to add to the mix. The 75 minutes was well received and folks found the format I used to be effective.

Was it worthwhile for those who paid $125 to attend? I have no doubt and rarely do I feel this way after a conference. The intense and persistent note-taking was one clue. People were really into what was being said. It became more obvious as time went by because the calibre of conversation ratcheted-up. People were learning and asking questions that showed they were pushing at the boundaries, applying the questions to their situations. Lastly, the buzz in the room and the community that grew from the event were impressive.

Yes, the workshop was a success and they should take it on the road.

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