NTX Magazine Volume 4 - Page 77

industry spotlight Manufacturing Can-do Texan spirit finds home in Makerspace movement ers and lathes to welders and software experts, this space allows its members to create the products they want in their own lives -- inventing, designing, imagining and willing into existence what may be the next “must-have” device, product or idea. Along with the tools comes a supportive community and technical experts who enjoy the art of creation enough to put their own skills to work for your brain child. Who can belong? Anyone with a dream and a willingness to tinker. With barrier to entry very low, the access to that next big invention is within anyone’s grasp. It’s a concept that has local businesses nationwide taking note, says Robert Davison, a member of the board of directors of Dallas Makerspace, a Dallas non-profit that operates a makerspace location in the Carrollton area. Dallas Makerspace workshop. “Makerspace is as much social as it is about making things,” says Rich Osman. Making burgers to feed the folks at Makerspace. Members of Dallas Makerspace discuss projects. “The ability to experiment is huge. Large corporations are even seeing the value in spaces like ours,” said Davidson. “For example, in Detroit, Ford Motor Company sent employees to a local makerspace to just invent and create. The ability to experiment brought out creativity in their employees, and they saw a 50 percent increase in patentable ideas by employees.” That can mean big pay-off for North Texas businesses, Davidson estimates, by leveraging human capital that exists but doesn’t necessarily have an outlet to try new things. Corporate labs are off-limits to many employees, and everything from safety to liability issues can preclude just any employee trying out a new idea in the corporate environment. But makerspaces encourage new ideas and provide a community of fellow makers who are willing to share their skills and celebrate the creative process. “Makerspace is as much social as it is about making things,” says Rich Osman, president-elect of Tarrant Makers, the Fort Worth-area not-for-profit that fosters the makerspace credo in Cowtown. “Our focus is making sure that we do everything to enable the act of making with the resources that we’ve got. We’re focusing on offering classes and providing whatever support we can to develop facilities. We’ve got a lot of very skilled people that the libraries are finding very valuable, and we’re learning a lot from what they’re doing. Currently, our focus is on the education aspect.” Tarrant Makers, which is in the process of finding the funds or a corporate donor to provide a dedicated space, is currently working with libraries, such as the North Richland Hills Public Library, to offer classes and activities that allow creativity to flourish. Utilizing existing public spaces to provide their expertise for free keeps Tarrant Makers excited and interested. A monthly “show and tell” meeting brings everyone together for a look at what’s new and what’s next. It’s a meeting that is open to anyone. Winter/Spring 2015 www.ntc-dfw.org 75