All three of the people I interviewed had various ideas of what a Maker Space might look like. Even Joel – who thought it was something you do when you’re cleaning out your house! You can actually use anything to be a maker – what is someone’s junk can be someone else’s treasure!
One of the first steps to consider is the space – where will your makers do their thing?
- Choose your team – Everyone and anyone you need to create a working environment (electricians, plumbers, designers, technologists)
- Find inspiration from others – visit maker spaces in your area (yes…they do exist). Ask them questions and learn from their mistakes
- Prioritize the purpose, goals, and outcomes
- What is the purpose of your space? What do you envision people doing in it? Is it for learning, playing, tinkering or demonstrating?
- Identify your resources
- What is your startup funding, costs and budget? Perhaps you can look into grant funding.
- How will you sustain the space? Will you charge a lab fee or ask for donations?
- Think about the fidelity of your space. Will it have expensive high tech and very expensive equipment (high fidelity), medium fidelity (some technology – but not as expensive, or low fidelity (things around your house, markers, paper, cotton balls or sticks and leaves?
- Create standards for your space, certification for use of high tech equipment, a team who will know how to run, fix and troubleshoot all of the equipment in your space
- Build the space and secure the tools, technology and supplies
- Design assessments for activities, program review and evaluation schedules if necessary