This seems only logical, doesn’t it? Makerspace, by definition, is “a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools,” according to www.makerspace.com. In other words, a makerspace is a place where innovation happens.
And where do you suppose innovation is most likely to happen, in a boring, uninspired space, or a bold, inspiring space?
Yes, we know all about the high tech geniuses who invented incredible programs from their garages as teenagers, but those stories are the exceptions to the rule and not the norm. Studies have shown that inspirational atmospheres foster learning and exploring in ways that drab surroundings do not. It has something to do with the stimulation of the neurons in the brain, and it is a scientific fact.
So let’s accept the obvious for the remainder of this article. A makerspace should be an inspiring space!
Now go out and find one!
A few progressive schools are moving in this direction. Certainly some colleges have already embraced the inspirational aspect of makerspaces. But what about in the private sector? Where does a group of innovators go to share their ideas and work together towards a common goal?
A garage? Perhaps they should lease some commercial property? But have you seen most industrial properties for lease? They are about as far-removed from inspirational as the stick-figures of a first-grader are from serious art. Your average business park is not concerned with inspiration. Its main purpose is to provide the cheapest workspace possible for small businesses. Period! Keep the prices down and keep the occupancy rate up, end of story.
Which leaves our group of innovative collaborators between a rock and a hard place in their search.
Perhaps we can offer a bit of hope! We are aware of one place, in Fort Worth, Texas, where inspiration is valued in a modern business park.
That place is Box Office Warehouse Suites, and it is the only Fort Worth business park made entirely from shipping containers. The owner of Box Office Warehouse Suites, Ron Sturgeon, advertises spaces for makers, doers, and dreamers, and he has delivered on that promise. One look at it from the outside will tell you Sturgeon speaks the truth. The colors are bright. There is street art/graffiti on many of the suites. Many of the suites have grassy patios. There is a feeling of community at Box Office Warehouse Suites, a feeling that something exciting is happening inside those offices and warehouses and retail shops. It reminds you of the type of place which would appeal to a dot.com start-up business, where the next great breakthrough in technology will be happening.
It’s just that sort of commercial property place!
So it is possible! It is possible to have a makerspace which is inspiring, but to find it you might have to be prepared to spend some serious time looking.
Or else just travel to Fort Worth, Texas!
Which might be the simpler solution to your problem!