Yesterday we have visited TechShop, which is a kind of incubator for makers. I could have thought that this domain is pretty far from mine but actually, it only deals with the ability to turn an idea into reality.
The concept is pretty simple: it allows makers to have the best equipment to create objects. You can find a wide variety of instruments, from laser cutter to 3D printers,… Since obviously the creation of such a place has cost a lot of money, it asked to appeal to the generosity of all those who wanted to participate in something, and even to « change the world ». In addition to a 150$ a month membership for all those who want to access the space and equipment.
From ideas to reality
Whether you deal with objects or software applications, the main idea is always the same: you’ve got to test your ideas before you invest time and money. The only difference between both is that creating an object can be very expensive.
What is interesting with TechShop is that not only they make available equipment, but also what they call « dream coaches ». The idea is not to execute orders and create things on behalf of potential creators but to learn these very creators to do it themselves! And that’s exactly the role of the dream coaches that are specialized in the use of one or several machines.
Share your ideas and don’t be afraid about being stolen
Another interesting characteristic of TechShop, that can make the difference with other incubators, is that there is no silo between creators. Basically, as soon as someone as an idea about something, he immediately shares it with his neighbors, without being scared that his idea will be stolen or not. Why? Because ideas are everywhere, in a large amount, because there are so many things to do that people probably don’t need and don’t have time to steal other people’s ideas… According to me, that’s not such a common mindset.
The other principle underlying this collaborative mindset is that if you help someone someday, he will probably do the same for you another day, so it’s really a win-win situation.
Unlock your creativity
Chris McCoy, the co-founder of You3Dit.com working in the TechShop environment, offers his 3D printing services to anyone who has an idea. The concept is very simple: you send a sketch on a file containing your idea and he prints it for you.
He had this idea thinking about his parents that had so many ideas but no mean to turn them into reality. So he decided to free everyone’s energy in creating this service company. What I find particularly interesting here is that we observe a sort of innovation democratization. Yesterday it was digital and now it’s 3D printing but in both cases, you don’t have to be rich or get an incredible network anymore to get a chance to create something and to innovate!
Technology finally helps everyone to turn a problem into an opportunity. The only thing that finally remains is that you’ve got to believe in your potential and your ability to deliver something useful. So be part of this wonderful manufacturing wave and become a maker 😉