Philosophy - Who Needs It? On the Economics and Philosophy of MakerSpaces - Sharing vs. Distinction

Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 month ago to Economics
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If there ever were a textbook example of "Philosophy - Who Needs It?" in this generation's economy, makerspace environments should be the textbook case. Ayn Rand would have had a field day with this one.

Several faculty from Florida Tech (including me) just received a grant from the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) to transform makerspace education. My university will provide a value (lessons learned in makerspace education) in exchange for their value (money) as both of us seek to improve the way that engineering education is provided.

KEEN is the philanthropic arm of the Kern Family. The Kern Family makes Generac backup power generators that many of us at Florida Tech use in the event of hurricanes. The Kern Family wants to see engineering revolutionized via incorporation of what they call entrepreneurially-minded learning (EML), as outlined at

I have reviewed the relevant makerspace education literature and categorized it, but not yet summarized it into a review article. While doing this, I have seen lots of documentation on how makers think and relate to other people in the process of both invention (entrepreneurial) and innovation (intrapreneurial). KEEN wants to imprint an entrepreneurial mindset into engineers, as do I.

The most remarkable aspect of the literature review has been the insight I have gained into the minds of millenial makers. Like most millenials, they expect a lot for free as a means for companies to drive millenials as potential customers to the company's web site. After having provided some value for free, the company then expects its potential customers to purchase what is distinctive about that particular company's products and services. The millenials then post their own creations, often highlighting the benefits of the company's products, but many times not acknowledging the value that the company provided.

I would like Gulcher commentary on the following:

1) As inventor or innovator entrepreneurs, what should we do, and what should we not do to
a) attract customers; b) gain enough value from such potential customers so that we can see the just fruits of our mind and labor; and c) minimize intellectual property theft (patents vs. trade secrets vs. open sourcing, for instance).

2) What experiences do you have in the following types of making environments? a) virtual reality / augmented reality environments to help you transform your ideas into drawings; b) makerspaces or FabLabs; c) university student design centers; or d) machine shops?

KEEN's 3 C's are a) curiosity, b) connections (as in the ability to see common concepts between two seemingly different application fields, rather than who you know (although that is important to them, too), and c) creating value.

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