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Making the Data- your feedback requested

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This coming Labor Day weekend, the Nation of Makers Data Working Group is updating and prepping language for the 2019 Survey of Makers.

The team has been posting links on Facebook asking for feedback on questions and language, but we know that not every maker is a Facebook user, so we wanted to share the links here to make sure you had a chance to review/comment on.

Review and Update the Question about Tools in your Makerspace

Review and Update the Question about Services your Makerspace Offers

Review and Update the Question about what you use your Makerspace for

Review and Update the Question about Leadership Training

Review and Update the Question about the work it takes to run a Makerspace

Review and Update the Question about Roles in a Makerspace

Review and Update the Question about Professional Services you use in your Makerspace

Why is your feedback important? The survey is being used as a first source of data that maker groups and organizations can use to measure themselves, justify asks through grant writing or other partnerships and for us to learn about ourselves.

Results from the 2018 Survey are being processed and shared on a Blog where the group is aiming for monthly updates. One of the lessons learned was that the number of “write-in” answers was high because of missing standard responses that fit. This makes the data more cumbersome to process and analyze, so the team is asking for community feedback to help better shape the options on these questions better. The hope is that it will make some analysis easier and faster next year… so please take 10 minutes, click through and leave any feedback that will help.

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Make Nashville: Expanded Space Grand Opening

Congratulations to Make: Nashville on the smashing success of their Grand Opening at the new space. Their new space is 12,000 square feet of amazing making potential, which also gives them room to rent out some dedicated studio space. Although not a part of Indiana Makers, they are a short drive to visit for many of our spaces, and we recommend stopping in and getting a tour if you find yourself in the neighborhood.

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Member Drivers

I want to go back to that comment that David Norris at Cyberia Makerspace made.  Even though it spun us down a different road, there was something important about it.

What he was referring to in the discussion about members was this:

member_driversThere tends to be some combination of things that members of a makerspace come looking for.

Some members  join and never make a thing.  Perhaps they have their own fully stocked workshop at home where they tinker, or maybe they just don’t have time or energy in their life to build right now ( a sad state, but we know it happens to the best of us at times).  Why would someone like this pay to join a makerspace?  They are either just looking for community or a combination of knowledge and community.  These kinds of members tend to ebb and flow. Maybe they join to bounce ideas off of like minded people while they complete a large build at home.  Maybe their way too busy life overwhelms even their ability to hang out with the cool kids. Whatever the reason, these members come, stay for a while and then sometimes drift away again…

Some of the people at a makerspace only sign up for classes and never become members ( unless you have a policy preventing this).  There is nothing wrong with this. These are the knowledge seekers.  Depending on how many classes you offer, and how much time and money they have, some of these folks may spend more time at the space than a regular member ;-0

Then there are the tool training/test em out folks.  They come for a combination of classes and tools, but the classes they are looking for are not content or process– they are tied to learning how to use tools. They might be learning and testing before they buy at home.  They might be learning and prepping themselves for a new job opportunity. There are more than a handful of reasons these folks show up at a makerspace, but once the learning and testing is done they tend to disappear, unless you can actively grab their interest. Sometimes these folks come for a combination of community and tools– they know enough to not have to take classes, but want to tap into the collective knowledge of the space in order to make decisions about a model or brand.  This is a bit of an in person google search.  Sometimes these folks only pop up at open hours , but never become members.  If you are a non profit with a public mission, these types of users should be in your business plan.

A related class of makerspace denizens are the job shoppers.  These are the  folks who join, use a set of tools for a specific project and then disappear again.  Unless they have a series of projects, they rarely convert to a more permanent user.   Since this is part of the mission of a makerspace, this type of user should not be a surprise.  The trick is to tie into a constant stream of them, so as one finishes a project, a different one is getting ready to start.

Why is this an important topic?  Because at the end of the day, every makerspace has to generate a certain income stream. If you are not monetizing these opportunities, you will be missing a certain segment of potential income.   There is a caution to this and a thing to take to heart–


At the very center of this venn diagram are the people who come for it all, the ones who are passionate about the knowledge and the tools and the community.  These are people who become your core group of members. These are the ones who empty the trash without being asked. These are the members who don’t just have skin in the game, they donate blood to the cause.

If you price all of these drivers too high without giving some break to the combination, you will make it hard for these critical core to grow and sustain.  Work instead on growing your other member and customer types into this center core by talking and listening to the things that bring them in, and challenge the space to meet their needs as well.






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Maker Events: Makevention by Bloominglabs

Makevention, hosted by Bloominglabs, is one of Indiana’s best regional maker fair events.  Completely free for attendees, it brings together academic breakthroughs and engineering, startups, games, and learning experiences for the whole family.

If you have never been, reserve the time at the end of August next year to take the whole family.

If your space is considering hosting a maker show and tell event, we recommend that you visit or talk with the folks at Bloominglabs for tips and tricks on how to succeed.

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