Session at #32c3: Session on building makerspaces in Favelas by Miguel Chaves

The project was born out of an event, the International Development Design Summit. Good things came out of it but they wanted to build some kind of longer term existence so they changed focus and name to IDIN (international development innovation network). How to build long term sustainable space and what would it be. Concepts that emerged: Hackerspace, Techshop, Innovation Centre, Tech space.Design to -> Design With ->Design by (most impactful: you teach maker process and people produce their own projects)

How to start to build a self sustaining makerspace 

 3-4 months to build relationships.

1. Hands-on activities of them (In this case they had a community garden. They got to know local community leader and asked her what do you want to do, what do you like? “Handicraft and building an ecotourism”. They went there and just worked with them on the garden, earn some respect as “not just people that just talk and talk”. Result: Building relationships and empathy.

2 years process to build sustainable community centre (with maker space in it)

2. Making place to start the space. Pick some accessible place, like someone’s garage.  Don’t place tools or technologies in place, just make a nice place to hang out…so they are not intimidated. E.g. dash of paint some tables and chairs- should look like a normal social space, not too fancy. Buy technologies if and when the community demands it.

3. Hands-on activities of us Workshops introducing new knowledge and skills eg How to build electronics or how to build mechanics as a consequence of learning how to build simple cool things, such as a small lantern.You give people space to work together so they can show, or discover, tacit knowledge. Result: Raising curiosity, as well as surfacing and making visible tacit knowledge.

4. Launch the space. Do workshops based on what people said they wanted to learn and give certificates. E.g Bag making workshop, or making broadcast wireless radio (bring local wifi connection into disconnected radio)…Also build and test speakers.

5. Keep the space open 24 hours a day 5 days a week. This will allow people to bring their tactit knowledge or build their own projects e.g. a low cost solar water heater or a low cost mini lantern. Other projects include making a wood lathe out a drill and doing things with it.


Developing the business model: Their source of revenue is providing courses on social innovation to richer inner city high school kids: “how to make my son think about providing technology for the 90%”. Path to business model included getting involved in Global Innovation Gathering where they got really good connections and advice.

High tech: They also won some larger contract which would involve introduction of high tech in this work. Even if you have momentum- how are people going to react to the high tech stuff?

Bigger space: The number of people and equipment grows if you are successful in engaging people. In their case the community, recognising the value they brought, provided them land they could use free of rent. On that land they are building a new community space with an innovation centre nested within it.