How Our Guiding Question Resonated With Our Interlocutors
- Many Fab Labs and workspaces are aware that they are part of an ecosystem unique to their situation; however, they are ready to work with one another.
- A Fab Lab is a platform, an infrastructure, a toolkit. It doesn’t act as a pillar but rather as a bridge between the ecosystem’s actors. It creates links between the different spheres of the ecosystem.
- Strengthening links between laboratories broadens everyone’s access to more than just the local ecosystem.
- We rally together around values shared by Fab Labs and reflected in their Charter.
- Support in numbers is key in the concept of inter-structure. Not only does it help strengthening the legitimacy, it shows that we are part of a linked and structured network.
- There is still little collaboration or exchange. Fab managers sense a feeling of isolation. Establishing strong communications could help free up more time for structuring activities.
Suggested read: https://makercitybook.com/
When a Fab Lab becomes relevant
- Entrepreneurship + education + important issues (yes, including climate change!) + agency of citizens in their environment.
- As a platform in which projects are created and evolves.
- Iterative design: design the Fab Lab, the city, the country, by iteration. In other words, test early, test often. Also, the Fab Lab must adapt and be flexible towards its environment (and even towards its hosting structure.
- The issue of adaptation to climate changes and the example of Barcelona as a Fab City shows that the actors of an inter-structure have the capacity and the will to tackle important and complex questions, not only on a local scale, but on a global scale. Go beyond making for making’s sake.
- Go from the valorization of DIY (do it yourself) to DIT (do it together) … In Rivière-du-Loup, they say Flala: Fais-le avec les autres 😉
- The Fab Lab demonstrates that multidisciplinary approach can be applied in a concrete way. Users from a variety of backgrounds join together to work with the same tools.
- Competitiveness cluster: develop regional assets and promote a better collaboration since a Fab Lab of a given region is well aware of the local assets. In that sense, the Fab Lab becomes a regional post in the inter-structure.
- The Fab Lab can foster research with researchers, with the NRC, and other third-party partners.
- Help retain a population in its community, attract people in a community. The Fab Lab acts as an attraction pole in a rural community.
Suggested read: Innovation is overvalued, maintenance often matters more
The needs and wants expressed by the workshops and their ecosystem
- We dream of changing the hosting structure from within.
- We dream of an inclusive space, open 24 hours, a place to meet and share with others.
- We dream of creating beautiful projects, to be proud of those creations, to be able to make what we can’t do by ourselves.
- We dream of a multidisciplinary, multi-level approach, to step out of the compartmentalization.
- We dream of huge modular projects that can be distributed throughout the country.
- We dream to break away to make everything profitable.
- We dream of creating our own lab… Katimavik for Makers? Exchange programs for Fab Managers and users to promote the diversity of experiences and stimulate the communities.
- We want to learn about the mistakes of others, no repeat them.
- We want a meta-structural political lobby, as a way to share access to politicians and to facilitate interactions with them.
- We want to discuss about the values that unite us and observe how they can be applied in the reality of a workshop.
- We want to facilitate the access to our own resources.
Challenges faced by laboratories
- A lot of energy is spent on local development, keeping in mind the global issues. It’s the rebound effect of our local actions.
- Paying people in the long term. Insure the continuity of jobs and, in consequence, the local knowhow of the organization.
- Learn about programs to facilitate the reception of interns who greatly can help with implementing and developing Fab Labs and their activities.
- We don’t know how to promote access to our resources and those of our ecosystems to other workshops.
- Top down. Les welcoming structures are sometimes (often) stiff and based on old organization models. Fab Lab users are often faced with two realities: one foot in an innovating model and the other in a more conservative one.
What laboratories want to know
- A quantitative section:
- Who uses the labs?
- How many employees are there?
- What are the business models?
- Are revenues from sales or individual memberships?
- Any revenues from partnerships?
- Management tools,
- Tools for financial growth.
- Illustrate data with graphics. Go beyond the text and the report.
- Use the wiki to feed the database and use it to create visual elements.
- A dictionary or glossary of innovative terms.
Meta: “mega” huge questions…
- Why Fab Labs are Fab Labs… or are not one… or are not anymore?
- How to establish a residency process on a vast territory?
- How to understand the diversity of networks in Canada (local, regional, specialized, international).
- Social and innovative financing
- Token of accomplishment
- Collective grants
- Group purchases
- Maker Finder application based on skills
- Fab Labs Nation Consulate in every province and territory (or a grouping) to promote networking, research, and (inter)structural projects throughout Canada…