Two papers about the CCC Maker initiative will be presented October 16-18, 2019 at ISAM, being hosted at Yale University.
As the initiative winds down, we bring to the ISAM community the fourth in our series of papers: lessons we have learned and a lens through which to discuss them. In this paper, we
review Maslow’s original hierarchy of needs, adapt it to makerspaces, and apply it to the case of the California Community Colleges Maker initiative (CCC Maker), to provide a framework to assess growth and engagement on scales ranging from individual to statewide, as well as identify important tipping points and interventions when teams are plateauing unproductively. With this information, the CCC Maker network has a clearer idea of which colleges are ready to take the network into its next iteration, a self-sustaining and intra-correcting collection of community (and other) college makerspaces that span the state and share resources, insights, and an evolving vision of truly well-educated students.
Sierra College used its public-private makerspace partnership and the open source and collaborative culture of the Maker Movement to develop a flexible and diverse ecosystem of individuals and organizations to guide workforce development services and programs. This model allowed the College to move outside the bounds of a) small, unique pilot projects that would not scale, or b) projects that ‘bolted-on’ to existing services and limited improvements to solve problems. The Uzzi and Spiro study on network size and structure described a flexible and diverse ecosystem as ‘middle ground’ within a Small World network, allowing knowledge to flow efficiently and ideas to be repurposed in new and creative ways. Chesbrough took this concept even further to describe the characteristics of knowledge flow as “Open Innovation,” a structure and mindset for adapting, surviving, and flourishing in the tech-enabled 21st Century.
Sierra Makerspaces has also suggested a new model of open innovation in the community college, guiding future efforts in workforce development and preparing students for the innovation economy.
In Chesbrough’s model, universities were identified as critical stakeholders in the open innovation process as research knowledge flows within and outside academia and businesses. Community colleges are not research institutions – however, a model of open innovation has been proposed here, based on the Sierra College experience, that uses the makerspace as a catalyst for preparing and sourcing workforce talent, especially in emerging fields of study.
Sierra College also had the unique opportunity of serving as the fiscal agent for the CCC Maker statewide initiative. This position extended the College’s ecosystem to a national level, allowing members to operate at multiple levels, see more examples, and share a wider range of best practices with the College network. When the California Community College Chancellor’s Office invested in scaling makerspaces at community colleges, we did not anticipate that a structural shift to the middle ground of a Small World network would be so impactful. Sierra Makerspaces has positively affected students, faculty, businesses and the community by adopting creativity and collaboration as guiding principles for educational practices and services. Sierra Makerspaces has also suggested a new model of open innovation in the community college, guiding future efforts in workforce development and preparing students for the innovation economy.
Learn more at the International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces.