"Maker Faire" entries

On co-creation, contests and crowdsourcing

A portrait of a design contest and what it says about the future of co-creation.

I had decided to update the branding at one of my companies, and that meant re-thinking my logo.

Here’s the old logo:

Original Middleband Group logo

The creative exercise started with a logo design contest posting at 99designs, an online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design.

When it was all done, I had been enveloped by an epic wave of 200 designs from 38 different designers.

It was a flash mob, a virtual meetup constructed for the express purpose of creating a new logo. The system itself was relatively lean, providing just enough “framing” to facilitate rapid iteration, where lots of derivative ideas could be presented, shaped and then re-shaped again.

The bottom line is that based on the primary goal of designing a new logo, I can say without hesitation that the model works.

Not only did the end product manifest as I hoped it would (see below), but the goodness of real-time engagement was intensely stimulating and richly illuminating. At one point, I was maintaining 10 separate conversations with designers spread across the Americas, Asia and Europe. Talk about parallelizing the creative process.

In the end, the project yielded eight worthy logo designs and not one but two contest winners! It was the creative equivalent of a Chakra experience: cathartic, artistic and outcome-driven at the same time.

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Jason Huggins' Angry Birds-playing Selenium robot

Jason Huggins' Angry Birds-playing Selenium robot

How a game-playing robot could help shape the future of mobile testing.

If you try to talk to Jason Huggins about Selenium, he'll probably do to you what he did to us. He'll bring his Arduino-based Angry Birds-playing testing robot to your interview and then he'll relate his invention to the larger problems of mobile application testing and cloud-based testing infrastructure.

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Maker Faire Detroit this weekend

Maker Faire Detroit this weekend

Maker Faire Detroit will be held July 30 and 31

In our second Detroit Maker Faire we're able to see all kinds of examples of how makers have become resources for the community, contributing in Detroit and the region.

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Detroit Can Do Camp – July 29

Detroit Can Do Camp – July 29

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.”

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Maker Faire mimesis and open speculation

Maker Faire
is a string-and-duct-tape combination of O’Reilly’s, Emerging
Technology, Open Source, and Money:Tech conferences. The ultimate
impact, like the free software movement, is to enhance everyone’s
mastery of their environments and both the tools and the confidence
for solve one’s own problems. This process–which reflects the way
most of the great scientists became their mature selves–can not only
increase the number of scientists and engineers, but alter the kinds
of scientists and engineers they are. To anyone who’s attended Maker
Faire, seen what it does for children, and felt its effects on
oneself, there’s really nothing more to say.

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