As part of the week leading up to Maker Faire Detroit, we have organized Can Do Camp for Thursday, July 29 at Eastern Market in Detroit. Can Do Camp is an informal day for makers to meet each other and explore the DIY mindset. This mindset is a powerful and positive force for building hands-on communities as well as fostering innovation and developing a diverse, creative culture. Can Do Camp will bring together what President Obama called “the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things.”
In a recent blog post, entitled “Catastrophe Thinking,” @NutureGirl pointed out that if you want to make change, you have to change the story. She suggests that we can’t keep repeating awful stories, such as we hear about Detroit, and expect things to change. Maybe it’s time to create a new story for Detroit, and that story is about what people are already doing and what all of us can do by working together. It’s why we’re organizing Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford (July 31-Aug.1). If it was the can-do spirit that built Detroit, can that same spirit re-invent Detroit?
(For reference, Web 2.0 was a new story about the web, pointing out that there were hackers and entrepreneurs at work on a new generation of applications, and that the bust following the boom was behind us. Telling the right story at the right time can be powerful.)
The venue for Can Do Camp is Eastern Market in Detroit. Eastern Market has made the transition from a meat-packing district to a large farmer’s market that draws people from all over. This marketplace is the center of a growing urban agriculture movement. Near Eastern Market is where a new hackerspace (OmniCorpDetroit — OCD) will be opening soon.
At Can Do Camp, Tim O’Reilly will be talking in the afternoon (and Can Do Camp follows loosely the pattern of FOO camp, which Tim organizes). Tim is coming because he recognizes, as do I, that doing something in Detroit matters. However small, it is worth doing and worth caring about Detroit even if you don’t live there. As I’ve written before, Detroit’s problems are our problems. Yet regardless what anyone says, what really matters is tapping into the energy and ingenuity of the tech and creative communities in the region.
Can Do Camp is open and free of charge. (And there’s free beer at the end of the day.) If you’d like to join us, please register (mainly to keep a headcount for lunch) by sending an email to email@example.com for an invitation. For more information on the program, please visit the Can Do Camp website.
I’d like to thank Lesa Mitchell and the Kauffman Foundation for supporting this event, along with our partner for Maker Faire Detroit, The Henry Ford, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the New Economy Initiative.