Why Does Your Office Need a Makerspace?

What's the secret to building a more creative, innovative work culture?

AUSTIN, Texas - Txylo -- Are you looking for ways to enhance creativity and improve employee engagement in the office?

Incorporating a Makerspace may be part of the solution.

The Makerspace concept, long a mainstay of college campus STEM education programs, is now taking root in corporate offices as well.

Anyone familiar with Silicon Valley tech lore knows the story of a certain one car garage in Palo Alto, California where, in 1939, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard invented their first product, the HP Model 200B audio oscillator. Disney Studios was their first customer, using it to produce sound for their movie Fantasia. Nearly 60 years later, this Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches story was repeated in another garage, this time in nearby Menlo Park, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin started their search engine company Google.

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An extreme example of this is the augmented reality (AR) developer Meta, founded by Meron Gribetz, a Columbia University neuroscience/computer science student. Initially funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Meta is known for its unique working environment: a 5-acre residential estate located in the hills of Portola Valley.

Meta's office optimizes the college lifestyle. Not only do the 25 or so employees work long hours together, they also sleep on campus in dorm-style bedrooms equipped with bunk beds.

One of the primary ideas behind the Makerspace movement is to rekindle and reclaim the art of "making things" with our hands. But in today's interconnected, Internet-enabled world, engineering a good product is often not enough to be successful in the marketplace. It also takes the combined expertise of talented software developers, skilled marketers, and product managers.

Working with the customer community directly is the raison d'être behind GE FirstBuild, the micro-factory initiative launched by GE's former consumer product division in Louisville, Kentucky (now owned by Haier).

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With only 23 full-time employees, FirstBuild has seen its community member population explode, growing to over 23,000 members in just a few short years.

So far, FirstBuild can point to several innovative new product concepts — including a smart water pitcher, a small form-factor waste disposer, and a smart oven that can read recipe barcodes to control the baking time and temperature —  that are slated to move into production at FirstBuild's micro-factory.

GE FirstBuild also hopes to entice other companies to jump on the co-creation bandwagon; they've created a set of product developer tools, called Giddy, designed to connect user communities with brand name manufacturers.

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Source: Formaspace
Filed Under: Technology, Education

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