The creation and maintenance of maker spaces in a school, community, and entrepreneur research environments is critical to the incubation of STEAM talent. Most people remember some of the critical components like card board, various lengths of wires, soldering kits, bread boards and even 3d printers. Most maker space custodians often forget the very important purpose across these spaces to turn young engineers, developers, and artists into successful business owners and entrepreneurs! Here are some crucial things most maker spaces forget to include to incubate these young thinkers!
1. Daily Tag Up Meetings
A once a day mandatory hour long tag up meeting can go a long way to keep your makers on track to achieve their goals. You may get a lot of resistance at first, but having young makers set down their tools or get off their keyboard, and stop what they’re doing is worth it! When everyone spends five to ten minutes talking about what they accomplished, preferably in a quad chart, they shouldn’t be surprised when they make their first million!
2. A Certified Scrum Master
It’s surprising to me that everyday I talk to a young maker and they don’t even know what a Scrum is! Spoiler alert, it’s not about rugby. A Scrum is a crucial management tool for fast deployment of technology through short cycles. If your makers are having to adapt to unexpected problems and don’t have a way to receive rapid feed back on their projects, it’s probably because they need a Scrum master! All it takes is a 14 hour course and a test, and you can become that Scrum master your maker space needs.
3. A Dress Code
I know, uggg, a dress code! You may be thinking your makers will feel restricted and uncreative with a dress code. Many feel that dress codes are antiquated boomer formalities. But what the youths really don’t understand is that creativity comes from constraints. It is also incredibly difficult to get anyone to take a young professional seriously if they’re wearing jeans and a rock n’ roll t-shirt.
4. Waterfall Deployment
Whether a maker realizes this or not, whatever they are trying to accomplish is made up of a series of simple tasks which depend on each other. You know what that sounds like? A Waterfall Deployment Model! Most STEAM maker spaces don’t even force their makers to create any requirements documentation. If they were equipped with a better tasking model, they could finally get their technology developed on schedule for the customer.
5. Motivational Posters
Not only have motivational posters been shown to prevent Colony Collapse Disorder in bee hives, they are crucial to keeping your makers productive and happy. If you want your makers to keep up that positive energy through the grind of being a creative type, you should consider putting something up that lets them know to just hang in there a little longer or that it’s okay to hate Mondays.
6. An Official Power Point Template
One thing makers and other creative types always need help with is jazzing up their power point presentations. If it doesn’t have a busy background with all your slogans and logos, it won’t look presentable! If you create that easy to access power point template for your makers, you won’t believe how much investment money they’ll start raking in! Make sure to force them to use the template for the daily tag up meetings. That way it becomes a habit.
7. Restricted Internet
Procrastination is the biggest stumbling block to productivity and creativity. If you aren’t blocking all of the fun sites on your maker space wifi network, your makers are probably wasting a ton of time reading internet forums instead of creating! The most pushback you’re going to get is on blocking YouTube and wikipedia which are huge time sinks. Inform your makers that anybody can upload content there and they should not be trusted. Any information they need can be easily found in a book at their local library.
8. A Six Sigma Black Belt
There is nothing that will prepare you to manage the design process quite like a six sigma black belt certification process. All it takes is one to three months of online training and you will be qualified to bring industry level quality to your seemingly humble maker space! If you don’t have the skills or time you can always hire one. Unfortunately, the high demand for the skills of a six sigma black belt may add six figures a year to the overhead cost of your maker space. Trust me! It will be worth every penny.
9. A Mission Statement
One of the most easy mistakes makers can make is that they get so caught up in their creating process that they forget what it’s all about. Many maker spaces might have a good logo, but many forget the all important mission statement. With a solid mission statement, your makers will remember what it’s all about. Be sure to display your mission statement in all rooms of the maker space and print it on as much merchandise as possible! No one will forget their goals if it’s on every mousepad.
10. 396-Degree Feedback
You may be wondering why you need 396 Degree feedback and not just 360 degrees. We here at jabde believe you should always give a 110% to include 360 degree feedback. It’s not just about making sure you get feedback to and from your makers. You also need it from their customers, managers, peers, parents, and romantic partners. Hence the 396 degrees! If you want any useful 396-degree feedback program it needs to at least be monthly and cover all professional and personal topics. It’s not taht much paperwork!
11. JIRA System
If the makers and coders aren’t using Atlassian software to track issues, I hate to break it to ya but they aren’t really makers. They are what we like to call in the business cowboy coders. While it’s fun to be a cowboy, what isn’t fun is to neglect coding bug and tasks. The easiest way avoid this pitfall is to start with a JIRA type system of tracking tasks and bugs.
12. Official Mentorship Program
It’s easy to forget that the most important function of maker spaces isn’t just to incubate ideas into multi-million dollar products. It is to develop maker girls and boys into maker men and women. While this shouldn’t just be a part of your mission statement, any successful maker space will develop a mandatory mentorship program. The youths will never develop if they don’t hear about how it used to be done in FORTRAN and how easy they have it. It is too easy to set up monthly meetups at Starbucks to skip this incredibly important step.
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