How to Fail at a Makerspace

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Thinking of starting a makerspace? Are you ready for events to go suddenly and tragically the wrong way? No? Then maybe you should be aiming for failure instead.

The webinar How To Fail At A Makerspace discusses the definition of failure and its fundamental importance to learning and investigation. Hopefully after this short session, you will begin to reevaluate the insignificance of success and enjoy the journey towards things-not-going-the-way-you-expected.

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How to Fail at a Makerspace

  1. 1. HOW TO FAIL AT MAKERSPACES (AND WHY THAT IS OK) BROWN BIGGERS UNCG UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
  2. 2. WHEN WE ARE BORN, WE HAVE TWO SKILLS: [COMPLAINING] AND [PROCESSING FOOD]. THE REST, WE HAVE TO LEARN.
  3. 3. UNCG MAKERSPACE PLAN: • PURCHASE AND SETUP 3D PRINTER. • INSTALL SOFTWARE ON PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE MACHINES. • TRAIN STAFF IN ITS USE. • TRACK ITS USAGE AND DIGITAL MEDIA COMMONS (DMC) ATTENDANCE.
  4. 4. PRINTING IN 3D! HTTP://YOUTU.BE/G-L71VBYB4O
  5. 5. UNCG MAKERSPACE PLAN ACTUAL: • PURCHASE AND SETUP 3D PRINTER. • INSTALL SOFTWARE ON PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE MACHINES. • WATCH 3D PRINTER WORK FOR ABOUT THREE DAYS. ONE DAY, RETURN TO IT BROKEN. • EMAIL TECH SUPPORT. • RETURN PARTS. • INSTALL NEW PARTS. • GO BACK TO “EMAIL TECH SUPPORT” AND REPEAT. AFTER TWO WEEKS OF REPEATING, SEND UNIT BACK TO MANUFACTURER. • TRAIN STAFF IN ITS USE. • TRACK ITS USAGE AND DIGITAL MEDIA COMMONS (DMC) ATTENDANCE.
  6. 6. WHAT WENT WRONG? • WAS THE SYSTEM UNATTENDED FOR TOO LONG? • WAS IT IMPROPER USE BY STUDENTS OR STAFF? • WAS IT A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS? • TRICK QUESTION: NOTHING WENT “WRONG”.
  7. 7. FAILURE IS THE ONLY OPTION. • WHEN WE MAKE A PLAN AND IT SUCCEEDS, WE LEARN VERY LITTLE. • WHEN WE MAKE A PLAN AND IT FAILS, WE LEARN VERY QUICKLY.
  8. 8. EMBRACING THE MAKER: • PATIENCE • THINGS WILL BREAK. • YOU AND YOUR PATRONS (AND POSSIBLY YOUR SUPERVISOR) WILL GET FRUSTRATED. • PLANNING • WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THINGS BREAK? • WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET FRUSTRATED? • SAFETY • CAN WE DO THIS WITHOUT GETTING HURT? • CAN WE FEEL SAFE ENOUGH TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, AND WORK THROUGH THE CONSEQUENCES?
  9. 9. ETSY’S JUST CULTURE • WHEN AN ERROR OR ACCIDENT OCCURS, ETSY INVESTIGATES THE SITUATION, AND THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO IT. • ENGINEERS ARE EXPECTED TO GIVE A FULL AND DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THEIR INVOLVEMENT – WITHOUT FEAR OF REPRIMAND. • “BLAMELESS POST-MORTEM” • FAILURE IS INEVITABLE, SO THE EMPHASIS IS ON LEARNING AND IMPROVING, NOT BLAMING AND PUNISHING.
  10. 10. MAKE YOUR SPACE SAFE TO FAIL • INVITE EXPLORATION. • ENCOURAGE USERS TO COMMUNICATE WHEN SOMETHING GOES AMISS. • BE PREPARED FOR FRUSTRATION. • REFRAIN FROM RESPONDING IN A PUNITIVE MANNER. • ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE ABOVE.
  11. 11. WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE IT WORK: • SUPPORT. • TO COMMUNICATE WITH ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPERVISORY STRUCTURE. • TO ESTABLISH A COMMITTEE (BEFORE SOMEONE ELSE DOES). • APPROPRIATE RULES WITH LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES. • STAFF WITH THE TIME AND PASSION TO DEVOTE TO THIS INITIATIVE.
  12. 12. HOMEWORK!?!? • BUY AN ARDUINO, LED AND USB CABLE. ($30 - $40) • DOWNLOAD THE ARDUINO SOFTWARE: HTTP://ARDUINO.CC/EN/MAIN/SOFTWARE • MAKE IT BLINK! (HTTP://TRONIXSTUFF.COM/2010/04/04/GETTING-STARTEDWITH-ARDUINO-CHAPTER-ZERO/) • FRUSTRATED? GOOD. • WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?
  13. 13. REFERENCES & LINKS • ETSY: HTTP://CODEASCRAFT.COM/2012/05/22/BLAMELESS-POSTMORTEMS/ • WOODS, D. D., DEKKER, S., COOK, R., JOHANNESEN, L., & SARTER, N. (2010). BEHIND HUMAN ERROR, SECOND EDITION. SURREY: ASHGATE PUBLISHING LIMITED. • MAKE MAGAZINE: HTTP://MAKEZINE.COM/MAGAZINE/MAKE-36-BOARDS/MAKES-ILLUSTRATEDBOARD-GLOSSARY/

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