San Diego’s first Maker Faire turned out to be the 15th largest in 2013. Most of this success was attributable to the latent interest in the event and the large community just waiting for the opportunity to attend. However, we were successful in a few ways which were uncommon and I was asked to present those in a speech entitled Corporations, Institutions and Mini Maker Faires.
Unlike most Mini Maker Faires new and old, we established relationships with corporations and institutions on our path to the event. Qualcomm and MakerPlace and 3D Robotics were sponsors and exhibitors adding some serious heft to our show. In addition we had libraries, makerspaces, museums, and other institutions representing their making nature to all who expressed interest. Mix this participation with my deliberate effort to co-mingle them and you got some interesting results.
First, we were funded which was hugely important given we had no money banked. Second, the range of exhibits was wider because of the variety and scale they represented. Third, by setting them all together in a corner of the exhibit hall they all discovered one another, started to get acquainted and have since gone on to do all sorts of collaborations. These efforts at working together are key.
With collaborations come the weaving together of players in town. Schools working with libraries collaborating with maker spaces exhibiting in museums etc. build the fabric what results in a maker value system and infrastructure across a city. Good things can result from this, not the least is a Maker City.by