How Makerspaces Are Inspiring Innovation At Startups

What does the future hold for American innovation? Ask someone who’s spent a little time in a makerspace, and you’re liable to get a very optimistic answer. Every day, new ideas are coming to fruition in these community workshops, where thinkers and tinkerers can go to create things that might otherwise never see the light of day, thanks to the shared resources offered there.

Need a 3D printer to build a prototype? You’re likely to find one at a local makerspace. Looking for an engineer to draw up plans for your new idea? There’s probably one right down the hall from you there. Just want to collaborate with others who are eager to get together and make something? Look for your people in a makerspace.

Basically, if you want to create something, but you don’t have what you need to do it all on your own — whether it’s expensive equipment or people power — chances are you can do it in a makerspace. This week, I want to look at how this phenomenon is changing the game for everyone from entrepreneurs who aspire to start new companies to innovators who want to work for those companies.

A great place for startups to start.

Startup mentor Martin Zwilling once said that “the Maker Movement and startups were made for each other.” I’d say it’s hard to argue with that. When you think about the time and cost a startup can save using a community-shared equipment infrastructure instead of investing hard-to-get funding to buy its own resources, it just makes sense.

And while makerspaces may be great first homes for startups, the converse is true, too: Startups can also be great homes for makerspaces. For example, Umbel, the company I run, regularly hosts “Build Nights,” during which employees and their friends and families take over the Umbel Labs facility to work on maker projects.

“Given that the average tenure at a startup is around 10.8 months, and how competitive it is to recruit new employees, outfitting your start up with a makerspace can have a measurable effect on retention and recruitment, especially when it comes to engineers,” stated Troy Lanier, Umbel’s VP of Innovation.

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See on Scoop.it3D Engineering


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