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Maker Faire: 9 Projects That Will Inspire You

Innovation, mutual respect, and the open sharing of information are the hallmarks of the Maker Movement. Here's why a trip to your local Maker Faire might be the wake-up call your IT team needs.
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Makers Look Like People
IT departments, on the whole, have a diversity problem. Women, in particular, haven't been going into IT or other fields in numbers proportional to their presence in the general population. You wouldn't know that, though, to walk through the crowd at a Maker Faire.
I didn't do any sort of scientific survey, but a casual look around the Orlando Maker Faire showed many women in the crowd, and faces from nearly every part of earth behind tables showing off projects. The maker community isn't merely a meritocracy. It's an aggressively welcoming meritocracy.
Let me explain: People do care about how well you do things at a Maker Faire. In general, though, they recognize that everyone has to start somewhere. So the various tribes welcome those getting started in their chosen technology, regardless of where they're coming from.
That last part is important, too: Any area of 'making' can be a point of entry to another. That means paper crafters are welcomed into robotics clubs, and embedded control geeks get lessons on knitting. It really is how everything grows.
(Image: Curtis Franklin, Jr.)

Makers Look Like People

IT departments, on the whole, have a diversity problem. Women, in particular, haven't been going into IT or other fields in numbers proportional to their presence in the general population. You wouldn't know that, though, to walk through the crowd at a Maker Faire.

I didn't do any sort of scientific survey, but a casual look around the Orlando Maker Faire showed many women in the crowd, and faces from nearly every part of earth behind tables showing off projects. The maker community isn't merely a meritocracy. It's an aggressively welcoming meritocracy.

Let me explain: People do care about how well you do things at a Maker Faire. In general, though, they recognize that everyone has to start somewhere. So the various tribes welcome those getting started in their chosen technology, regardless of where they're coming from.

That last part is important, too: Any area of "making" can be a point of entry to another. That means paper crafters are welcomed into robotics clubs, and embedded control geeks get lessons on knitting. It really is how everything grows.

(Image: Curtis Franklin, Jr.)

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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2015 | 8:59:09 PM
Re: Sharing: Not your typical IT mindset
I agree. If you happen to work in a large corporation working with different people whom age differences, culture and values aren't the same will be part of your daily life.  I think there should be some sort of training for it. I think one isn't really prepared until the situation becomes very close to one's life.  May be a game could be a way to train people to coexist better.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2015 | 7:26:41 AM
Re: Sharing: Not your typical IT mindset
@PedroGonzales, I agree with you. It is important to build your soft and hard skills in terms of any job you perform. However don't you think it is also important to learn how to work with different people since everyone will not be the same.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2015 | 6:59:30 AM
Re: Sharing: Not your typical IT mindset
This is what makes me excited about the future of tech. Too often it feels like couples like Apple will shut out the startups, but clearly many companies are coming up with the miniature tech evolution and it's excellent, as they'll focus on real world problems and customer needs, rather than style over substance. 

Not to suggest that any of these projects aren't cool to look at though, they just have a different focus.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/20/2015 | 3:54:24 PM
Re: Sharing: Not your typical IT mindset
These are great samples of how ordinary people are trying to solve real world problems.  May be companies should send their employees or have their internal Maker fair to find ways to make their business better.  I think sometimes we are caught in the routine of work we can't stop and think how we can make things better.  Many of both their soft and hard skills really can be use in the private sector.  May be high schools and university should promote such initiative among their students, but focus their energies on projects that impact business or their community.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
9/18/2015 | 2:41:56 PM
Sharing: Not your typical IT mindset
I couldn't agree with this part more: "The Maker world is one in which status comes from how much you share and how far you can spread your ideas -- not how successfully you can hoard them."

Personally, I am so used to silos and learning to pull back when projects encroach on responsibilities that generally fall to other teams.  DevOps has definitely told us that there are new ways to approach these projects, and taking the mindset from the Maker world, we need to get better at forgetting about traditional silos and experimenting with new ways of tackling problems.  Such a great point!
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