Makerspace Challenge: Pitch Night

Makerspace ChallengeTuesday was pitch night at 88.9 for The Commons. The Betty Brinn/Learn Deep team shared their vision of CSA-farm-box meets up-cycling. The solution looks to offer schools a subscription service that delivers a mystery box of materials for use in a makerspace on a monthly basis.  Great idea, go team!

We have an idea on how to make this happen in Milwaukee. If you’re interested, let us know.

 

Makerspace Challenge: Thinking Through a Solution

Last night at The Commons, the Betty Brinn/Learn Deep team pinned down a persona for their beachhead customer– now known as “Steve” who manages the makerspace for an area school. The key problems faced by Steve:

  • “I don’t always know where to go to get the materials I need.”
  • “It takes a lot of time to track down where to find supplies (if I don’t already know where to get them).”
  • “I have to pick up everything myself.”
  • “I have to do this for all of the teachers that want to use my makerspace.”
  • “At times, I want to be inspired by the material (so I don’t know what I want until I can see and touch it)”.

The team was able to use that set of problems to filter the ideas generated last week to just those that addressed these key issues.  It also led to the creation of a second persona — “Orlando”, who has excess material, but also,his own problems to solve:

  • “I have usable stuff that now costs me money to dispose of”
  • “I don’t know who would want what I hope to get rid of”
  • “I don’t like the fact that my scrap ends up in a landfill”
  • “I worry about liability issues if others come on-site to sift through my scrap to take what is of use to them.”

This week’s work:  Confirm the assumptions about the problems faced by Orlando, and clarify the vision for a potential solution– what’s the minimum viable product, and what might it look like when fully realized?

 

Makerspace Challenge: Peer and Mentor Reviews

Our makerspace challenge team gets input from mentors

Our makerspace challenge team got a chance to share what they’ve learned to date with their mentors and peers from NML’s team. The team is working to understand the types of materials used within school based makerspaces, how that varies by grade level and where schools run into issues. By Next Tuesday they need to have a firm grasp on their initial target customer and the problem(s) they hope to solve.

Makerspace Challenge: First Session for our Team

Last night at Ward 4 The Commons revealed the teams for each of this semester’s challenges. After a getting-to-know-each-other exercise that involved great lengths of yarn and a couple of well placed metaphors, the teams got to work. Joost, Mike Cook and I walked our team through the challenge to find a sustainable way excess materials from area firms could be made available for Betty Brinn’s maker initiatives and the makerspaces/FabLabs within area schools. The team’s work for this week is to look at how other organizations have solved the problem.

Meet the Team

Back row:Ryan Dickson (Cardinal Stritch), Gabe Wichser (Carroll University),
Jason Hart (DevCodeCamp)

Front row: Taylor Waite (Cardinal Stritch), Jedidiah Hersey (UWM),
Holly Hamm (UW- Washington County), Isioma Okoro-Osademe (Marquette)

Photos: Robert Colletta Photography

Makerspace entrepreneur challenge at The Commons

LD partners with Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

In other metro areas around the country, non-profit organizations have formed to address this challenge. They solicit donations of excess materials from area firms and make them available to educators at low cost.  Better known among these are RAFT, with locations in California and Colorado, and the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

Teachers attending our monthly Collab Labs expressed concerns about the cost of materials. That got us wondering what options we have in Milwaukee for an organization doing something similar.  We brought the idea for a corporate challenge to The Commons (who provides space for our Collab Labs in Ward 4 and helps facilitate our break out groups). They agreed that this would make an interesting challenge for students. So earlier this month we got the green light to pursue that with a team in this semester’s cohort.

We partnered with Betty Brinn Children’s Museum to formulate this challenge over the past weeks.  We are challenging a team to create a pitch for a sustainable startup to provide surplus materials to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum’s Maker Initiative as well as area school’s maker programs. We spent Sunday afternoon at Ward 4 with Carrie Wettstein and Mike Cook from Betty Brinn to introduce our challenge and meet prospective team members.

The project will kick off on the 21st when team rosters are announced.  Our team will work with Mike Cook and the makers at Betty Brinn to understand their needs. Joost and I will serve as the team’s coaches through the process. We’ll help connect them with area schools creating or running makerspaces/FabLabs so they can understand the K12 perspective as well.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity (Thanks, Joe!) and look forward to the work.  We’ll keep you posted on the team’s progress and opportunities to see what they come up with.