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Humans Need Not Apply [video]

Published on October 18, 2014 by in stem, technology

johnny5 - the dreamer robot

Imagine a world where large classes of people lose their jobs by no fault of their own.   How would we adapt? A friend of mine shared a thought provoking video entitled “Humans Need Not Apply.”   CGP Grey argues that humanity needs to get ready because technology and automation present a threat to many types of jobs.

When I worked toward my masters degree in computer science,  I became especially interested in research on machine learning.   In this field of computer science, we study various theories of emulating human learning, pattern recognition, and simulated creativity.   After watching this video, I find myself wanting to consider the worse case scenario.   What would happen if general purpose robots and automation succeeded in making large classes of people unemployable in their current work?  This fearful worse case scenario hinges on the success of “general purpose robots”  and advances in machine learning technology.   On the machine learning front,  we still struggle with understanding the basics of human creativity?   One of my favorite AI thinkers, Marvin Minski from MIT, argues that artificial intelligence researchers have not given sufficient research attention to the following questions: (1) How do we detect and recognize beauty.   (2) How do we emulate art and creativity of humans?  Computers can’t even emulate the pattern recognition / cognitive learning power of infants.   Additionally, current machine learning techniques tend to focus on emulating particular modes of human thinking.  (i.e. pattern recognition, search, making plans, looking for winning moves, etc.)      It will be a long before we create the higher order algorithms that faithfully emulate our capacity for general purpose thought and switching between modes and knowledge representation.

This, however, is not the point of “Humans Need Not Apply.”   In 2014, we live in a world where automation and technology continue to take over work once done by people.   People are becoming “unemployable by no fault of their own.”   This is happening today.  (not in a galaxy far far away).    It’s happening now!    I want to encourage conversation on this topic.  I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the arguments of this video.  Here are a few questions to consider:

1) There is already a large and growing gap between the rich and poor.   As a just society, what responsibilities do we have to help people adapt to a economy strongly dominated by technology?  How do we help the poor?  How do we help the elderly?

2) Have you seen certain industries or areas of government that resist adoption of automation even if reduced costs can be achieved?

3) Since high scale automation and general purpose robots exist and will continue to get better, is there a way to plan your career so that you have robots working for you?

4) What types of jobs will be created as computers get better at learning?  What types of jobs will be created as general purpose robots become more common?

5)  Humanity has faced situations where we needed to adapt due to automation or out sourcing.   What lessons can we learn from history?

6) Since technology and automation will greatly impact our future economy, how do we encourage our children and students to be creative, curious and adaptable?

7) Let’s consider the best possible scenario… What is the best thing that could happen if we can create smart robots that do “mundane” or “high risk” human labor?  What is the greatest positive impact of large scale automation?  How do we ensure that this positive impact becomes a reality?

 

Looking forward to hearing your comments!!

 

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10 Benefits of Supporting SparkMacon MakerSpace Today!

SparkMacon Front Door

 

Support SparkMacon: Our MakerSpace for Macon, GA by giving to our IndieGogo funding campaign. http://igg.me/at/sparkmaconDonations big and small are greatly appreciated. We’re very thankful for the generosity of our community.

 

On behalf of the SparkMacon team, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the SparkMacon members who have helped us raise $7225.00 on our IndieGogo fund raising campaign.   The support from the Macon community has been awesome!!

If you have not had the opportunity to contribute to our IndieGogo campaign, please consider the following benefits SparkMacon MakerSpace will have on your creativity, your business, and the community.  We want to help you grow as a maker!  We believe in the growth of Macon.

1) Open Make Nights: During First Friday’s, SparkMacon will be open to the community for free for “Open Make Nights”! Our members will introduce visitors to the community, tools or equipment and help you make something too! We’ll offer FREE training on high demand maker skills. We will host open make nights every First Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

2) $40,000 in tools and equipment: With standard membership, you get exclusive access to $40,000 in the latest creative tools and equipment.

On the tech side, you’ll have access to our industrial grade 3D printers, laser cutter/engraver, music /audio recording equipment, Mac and PC lab equipped with the latest creative software.
For our artisans, we have a robust wood working space, jewelry tools, art supplies, and more!

3) Become a member today! If we reach our goal of $10,000 in the next 6 days on our IndieGogo campaign, all SparkMacon members get an extra month of membership for free. If you pre-purchased a 1 month membership, we’ll give you 2 months of membership.

Donation Level Perk Membership Cost Per Month Savings using IndieGogo Discounts
$50.00 2 months of membership $25.00 $30.00
$100 4 months of membership $25.00 $60.00
$400 13 months of membership $30.77 $120.00

4) Your Event in SparkMacon: Your club or organization can host public meetings events in our meeting space for free. Your events needs to be sponsored by two existing keyed members and approved by the leadership board. That’s it!!

5) SparkMacon Maker Showcase: Showcase your art, technology, club, or company at the grand opening in early December. It’s going to be an amazing party and opportunity to connect with the top technology professionals and our creative community.

6) Maker and Business Education: With membership, you get access to training workshops around 3D printing, laser engraving, woodworking, graphic design, robotics and others that will cover tools and resources inside the space. You also get exclusive access to workshops from the Macon Arts Alliance Amplify program. These workshops will include topics around marketing, rocking your Etsy store, social media, business planning, funding, online business and others.

7) Memberships make GREAT gifts! SparkMacon memberships make great gifts for a friends and family. Top Middle Georgia companies are showing their appreciation of their top performing employees with SparkMacon memberships.

8) We love our corporate sponsors: We enjoy celebrating our corporate sponsors through our website, email and social media channels.

9) Supporting the next generation of creative STEM professionals: Our SparkMacon mentors will support the young makers and their families with coaching, tools training, and resources to help them bring their maker creations to life in a project based learning experience. We believe it’s important to inspire the next generation of makers to love learning and help them be creative and curious.

10) Supporting Your Job Growth: Our community has already attracted some of the most talented artists, media professionals and technology professionals in Macon. We love to support local job seekers, makers, technology employers, and local start-ups. It’s a great time to a Macon Maker… and Macon Made!!

 

 

Support SparkMacon: Our MakerSpace for Macon, GA by giving to our IndieGogo funding campaign. http://igg.me/at/sparkmaconDonations big and small are greatly appreciated. We’re very thankful for the generosity of our community.

 

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Why Does the Makers Movement Matter?

Robots Under God: A Project from Atlanta Mini Maker Faire 2013

As I woke up to attend the Atlanta Makerfaire 2014, I started to reflect upon why I personally get excited about growing the SparkMacon MakerSpace community. Why is building a makerspace community important? Why is growing a community of art and technology creatives worthy of investment and time?

Highlights from Atlanta Maker Faire 2014

Growing Innovative Culture and People: I personally believe that the organizations that will make the biggest impact in the world are creative organizations.   In the past few years, I started to become an anthropologist of innovation. I’m naturally curious about how communities organize themselves so that they maximize their impact and creative output. (i.e. Google, Apple, Pixar, Ideo, etc.)  What do these communities believe and value? What motivates them? How do they lead and communicate? Helping to grow SparkMacon’s community has been such a wonderful opportunity to explore these questions with other Middle Georgia leaders. By working hard and putting people first, we are trying to find answers to these questions. We have such a wonderful and generous team.

I believe the Makers movement is a game changer. In the context of education, I hope that we can inspire students to just love learning. The Maker education movement has challenged our communities to give students freedom to explore their own creativity and process of discovery. It’s amazing to see a child’s creative capacity if they are given the creative freedom, tools, and supportive coaching. On the business front, it’s amazing that we now live in a world where an ideas can be sketched on a computer. (i.e. an app, a 3D design, a song, art, etc) Over the next few years, we will continue to see that it’s possible to take the “bits” of your idea and convert them into a prototype or something that can be sold. (“atoms”) Check out our blog post here for more details on this trend.  I’m excited that I was able to take a Google Cardboard prototype that I created using TinkerCAD and turn it into a working minimum viable product.  The sketching process took one or two hours.  The 3D printing process took 5 to 6 hours.  In a world where digital fabrication technologies enable us to prototype new products in days, how do we teach our students and communities to become great product designers?  How do we empower their creativity and capacity for innovation?

Google Cardboard

Being creative and tinkering with my kids: While I enjoy technology, I love my family. I’m very thankful to my mom and dad for fostering my personal creativity through music. These creative experiences have given my life joy, richness, depth, and way to serve others though music.  I will always cherish my experiences as a choir director.   I think I’ve taken this ethos into my career as a software developer and my path as an aspiring maker. It’s wonderful to be able to be able to share the joy of making and tinkering with my kids and my wife. I love hearing my kids say “that’s cool!!” when they discover a cool robot, play with lego’s or make something awesome on their own. It’s the best feeling in the world.

Please consider finding and supporting a Makerspace or MakerFaire in your area.   It’s a worthy community effort.   It’s not just about technology or art.  It’s about making the world a better place.

All the best!

 

Support SparkMacon: Our MakerSpace for Macon, GA by giving to our IndieGogo funding campaign. http://igg.me/at/sparkmacon .

Even small contributions are helpful. We’re very thankful for the generosity of our readers.
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loop / rotate / translate

Programming

Science Education

 

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Even small contributions are helpful.   We’re very thankful for the generosity of our readers.

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Make 3D Printable Models with JavaScript

loop / rotate / translate

My dad taught me the basics of computer programming using QuickBasic.   Even in middle school, I can remember us learning how to draw pixels on the screen with code.  As a kid, it seemed like magic just making simple shapes!  I was taking steps to learn how to build my own video game!!  These moments fueled by passion for learning for years to come!

Welcome to 2014… We now live in a world where modern browsers have amazing speed and 3D graphical capabilities.   I came across a tool called OpenJSCAD.org that empowers programmers and tinkers to build 3D models using the popular JavaScript programming language.  I wanted to take you though a simple tutorial to show you how it works.   It’s pretty fun!   The tool enables you to export your creations to STL format for 3D printing or editing.    I was able to edit the STL models using TinkerCAD after exporting.

Interested in learning JavaScript?   Check out CodeAcademy and our list of free JavaScript books.

You might use this tool to engage students in learning to code.  Professional programmers can use this tool to sketch objects using the most popular programming language on the web!

How does OpenJSCAD work?

Visit http://openjscad.org using Google Chrome.

As the screen loads, notice that the main menu appears on the left.  You have a JavaScript code window on the right.   I would encourage you to explore the main menu since it contains examples and documentation for the tool.

opening screen

Using the code window on the right, clear the contents of the code and paste in the following code:

function main()
{
var list = new Array();

var obj = cube([20,20,2]);
list.push(obj);

return list;
}

All OpenJSCAD programs must contain a function called “main.”   This function will be called to draw your 3D model.    The “main” function must return a list of objects that need to be drawn.   In this simple example, we create a list, create a square using the “cube” function, add the square to the list, and return the list.   Make sure your cursor is placed in the code window.   Press CTRL+ENTER.   This will run your program and render the scene.   It should look something like this.

a square

By default, objects will be drawn at the origin of the scene. (i.e. coordinates 0,0,0 in terms of x,y,z ).   Let’s say we want to draw another square slightly above the second.   To accomplish this, we need to translate the second square up on the Z axis.  Let’s change the previous code to show you how to accomplish this.  Notice the function call to “translate”.   Press CTRL+ENTER to render the code.

function main()
{
var list = new Array();

var obj = cube([20,20,2]);
list.push(obj);

obj = cube([20,20,2]).translate([0,0,5]);
list.push(obj);

return list;
}

two squares

 

 

The framework enables you to rotate objects by an axis.  In the next example, we will rotate a new square 20 degrees.  Copy the code below and run it in OpenJSCad.  In this example, you’ve learned how to create simple rectangular objects, translate them, and rotate them.  Cool!

function main()
{
var list = new Array();

var obj = cube([20,20,2]);
list.push(obj);

obj = cube([20,20,2]).translate([0,0,5]);
list.push(obj);

obj = cube([20,20,2]).translate([0,0,10]).rotateZ(20);
list.push(obj);

return list;
}

 

rotate example

 

In the next example, let’s create a small stack of these squares using a “for” loop.  Notice how we’re changing the “z” factor to position our squares in 3D space.    If you run this example, you should see something like this.

function main()
{
var list = new Array();

var z;

for(z=0; z<50; z = z + 2)
{
obj = cube([20,20,2]).translate([0,0,z]);
list.push(obj);
}

return list;
}

squares and loop

 

Let’s complete our 3D sculpture by adding a bit of rotation.  We’ll edit the previous program to add a rotation factor that will increase 10 degrees for every step.  The model should look like the following.

function main()
{
var list = new Array();

var z;
var rotate;

rotate = 0;
for(z=0; z<50; z = z + 2)
{
obj = cube([20,20,2]).translate([0,0,z]).rotateZ(rotate);
list.push(obj);
rotate = rotate + 10;
}

return list;
}

 

loop / rotate / translate

Here’s a few more artistic forms I’ve created while researching this blog post.   This post only scratches the surface of the tool.   You can learn more about OpenJSCAD using the user guide and examples.   I could imagine math and computer science teachers using this tool to help their students learn the basic of 3D space and computer graphics primitives.  If you make something cool with this, drop me a line on Twitter or Google+.   I would love to see your creations!  Happy coding!

screen07screen09

 

 

Help us sustain SparkMacon: Our MakerSpace for Macon, GA by supporting our IndieGogo funding campaign.   http://igg.me/at/sparkmacon .

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SparkMacon MakerSpace CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN HAS LAUNCHED! Contribute now and tell your friends!

 

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SparkMacon is a community innovation space equipped with the tools, equipment, and grass-roots education required to convert your idea into a reality. Think of us as a gym membership to exercise your creativity, hands and brain. We aspire to blend the best of art and technology.

Learn more about our SparkMacon campaign at IndieGogo.com

We aspire to build an authentic community of makers and business leaders.  To help create a thriving culture of innovation in Middle Georgia, we believe that our community should consider adopting the following values.

Most of these value propositions have been adapted from Ideo, a leading innovation consulting firm.

We were very excited to open the SparkMacon MakerSpace doors to our community.    After consultation with other MakerSpaces in the Georgia area, we were strongly advised to seek community feedback on tools and materials that we should consider purchasing for the space.   Likewise, our focus group provided suggestions on education programs they would like to see in SparkMacon.

Thank you again to Molly and Andrew from Georgia Pallet for sharing their pictures from the event!

For everyone who attended our first community meeting on Sept 4th, please know that we’re very thankful for your time, feedback and influence.   We have integrated and organized the focus group data and online survey data.   This data will be influencing our first round of equipment purchases and projects for our MakerSpace.  In the interests of transparency, we wanted to share this data with you, our community!  We have detailed all of the community feedback data at the conclusion of this post.

How can the community help in building the Maker Space?

Please consider volunteering to help build and assemble the MakerSpace.   Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or on our email list.   We also appreciate you sharing this vision for SparkMacon with your friends and family.    We will be posting volunteer opportunities soon.

  • First Cleanup day: This day will be the general cleaning day to get the space ready to pain.
  • Painting day: This day will focus on paining the stairs and walls of the space.
  • Workbench building.
  • Floor Finishing and Repair.
  • Partition Build: Once the space is “ready” we will be putting up partitions to separate the dirty shop from the rest of the space.  This will also serve to provide a storage space for supplies.

Can the community or my business sponsor equipment?

Yes.  We’re very thankful for any contributions from the community.   If your business is interested in sponsoring equipment or classes for the community space, please let us know.  Please direct your messages to info@sparkmacon.com .

How do I sign up for membership?  How do I contribute to the sustainment of SparkMacon?

Part of receiving the full amount from our initial seed grant from the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) requires us to be able to show community support through a crowd funding campaign.

Learn more about our SparkMacon campaign at IndieGogo.com

We also know that without your financial support this project will be short lived.  We need members and community support from the start to succeed and that is where you come in.  With your support we hope to provide a home for the next generation of inventors and creators, support creative hobbies, and provide the resources for those individuals who are ready to create now.

While the GTA grant will provide for many of the initial tools and resources the space will need, there are many that it won’t.  Funds from this campaign will go toward expanding our offering to address more needs that the community has outlined in our initial research.

We hope we have provided perks at all levels for all people no matter their interest.  But some of the cool ones are discounted members, workshop attendance, T-Shirts, and invitations to our grand opening and Donor dinner.  Not to mention inclusion on our donor walls inside the space.

Thank You MaconMakers for all of your support and enthusiasm for this community venture.   With your help and our community collaboration, we know that we will be helping Macon citizens succeed in their businesses, create job opportunities, be more creative and innovative.

Questions or comments?   Drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, or at info@SparkMacon.com .

 

 

Projects and Events Requested by Community

  • Young Makers Program
  • Cosplay
  • Support Local Robotics Team
  • Community Message Board
  • Design Mentor
  • Student Organizations
  • Makers Mixers
  • Partner with University Community Service Organizations. Create interesting service learning opportunities for students.

Technology Equipment Requested by Community

  • Legos /  Lego WeDo /Space for young makers to build
  • Digital Fabrication Equipment
    • 3-D printer(8 mentions)
    • 3D Scanner(4 mentions)
    • Laser Cutter(3 mentions)
    • CNC Machine(2 mentions)
    • 3D modeling workstation
  • Electronics
    • Soldering tools/welding(4 mentions)
    • Oscilloscope(2 mentions)
    • Raspberry Pi’s
    • Spectrum Analyzer
    • Frequency Counter
    • Galileo board’s
    • Logic Analysis Tools
    • Electronic parts inventory
    • Printed circuit board making tools
    • Breadboarding
    • Arduinos
  • Media
    • Music Lab/Audio Booth/Recording Studio(7 mentions)
    • Green Screen(2 mentions)
    • Video Presentation Equipment(2 mentions)
    • 3D Motion Capture Device
    • Adobe Creative Suite
    • Computer Stations

  Artisan/Craft Equipment Requested by Community

  • Photography Studio/Dark Room(3 mentions)
  • Metal/Clay Kiln(3 mentions)
  • Pottery wheel(2 mentions)
  • Drill Press(2 mentions)
  • Jewelry tools(2 mentions)
  • Floor Loom(2 mentions)
  • Air Brush
  • Anvil
  • Art Area
  • Art supplies & tools for conventional media artists
  • Band Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Dishing Hammer & Bowl
  • Dress Forms
  • Embroidery Machine
  • Foam
  • Hammers for Blacksmithing
  • Industrial Sewing Machine
  • Lathe
  • Magnetized Picker Upper
  • Mini Forge
  • Paint Booth
  • Serger/Overlocker
  • Shop Vacs
  • Spinning Wheel
  • Spray Paint Gun
  • Vacuum Press/Form
  • Wood Shop

Education Requested By Community 

Area Class Title Freq
artisan/craft Tool Training: Basic Woodworking Tools 7
artisan/craft Tool Training: Hands On Metalworking Tools 5
artisan/craft Tool Training: Table saw Fundamentals 5
artisan/craft Jewelry I: Introduction to Metalsmithing 4
artisan/craft Tool Training: Rough to Smooth — Using the Miter Saw, Band Saw, Jointer & Planer 4
artisan/craft Photography Master Class 3
artisan/craft Tool Training: Hot Craft Studio Jewelry Shop 3
artisan/craft Tool Training: Router Table Fundamentals 3
artisan/craft Painting Master Class 2
artisan/craft Blacksmithing 1
artisan/craft Brewery Lessons 1
artisan/craft Chain Maille 1
artisan/craft Culinary Arts 1
artisan/craft Fabric Dying 1
artisan/craft Glass working 1
artisan/craft Horticulture 1
artisan/craft Leather Tanning 1
artisan/craft Sewing and Knitting 1
artisan/craft Weaving 1
business Business Consulting for Artists & Makers: Office Hours 7
business Arts Marketing for Artists & Makers: Office Hours 6
business Social Media Marketing 6
business Getting Started with WordPress 4
business Scrum Master Training 1
education Invent To Learn: Bringing Making and Tinkering to the Class Room 5
education Young Makers: Robotics 4
education Young Makers: Game Design 1
technology Introduction to 3D Modeling 13
technology Tool Training: 3D Printer 9
technology Intro to Inkscape for (Laser) Cutting / Laster Cutting 6
technology Circuit Hacking/Circuts 101/Electronic Workshop/Soldering 5
technology Introduction to Arduino 5
technology Introduction to Rasberry Pi 4
technology Programming the Web: HTML5 and JavaScript 4
technology Programming Simple Animations Using HTML, Canvas, and JavaScript 3
technology PC Board Making 1

 

 

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My Google Cardboard Prototype

Google Cardboard

 

Google Cardboard is a virtual reality technology building upon the capabilities of an Android Device.   In a previous blog post, I discussed the exciting potential of this technology in education, art, and engineering.   With help from a local Macon Maker, I was able to print my first prototype of the Google Cardboard.   It was very fun to build this prototype in a few hours with TinkerCad.   I never imagined that I’d be making a cool physical object with a browser based application.

If you’re interested in tinkering or experimenting this model, visit the following link at TinkerCad.   If you use this model, please drop me a line and let me know!

https://tinkercad.com/things/6EN9IbUAoOf

I think it’s awesome that Google has fostered a whole community of makers to improve their Google Cardboard technology.   Check out the community progress here:  https://plus.google.com/communities/111524380182206513071

I want to thank Jeremy Barker for helping me print this first prototype.   He’s a very talented and knowledgeable maker specializing in 3D scanning and digital fabrication in Macon, GA.   He was very kind to give me and a few young makers a tour of his rapid prototyping lab.    The kids were amazed by the 3D printers and scanners.   It was exciting to hear him share his dream to build a 3D scanning / digital fab business.    Like all start-ups, getting initial funding is a challenge.   So…Please consider checking out his “GoFundMe” page.   I think it’s a cool business idea.

 

 

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Beyond the Obvious by @PhilMckinney [Review]

Network of Ideas

Are you a leader, entrepreneur, or researcher looking for a system for making your organization more innovative?  In our economy, creativity has become critical skill.   In a music context, the artists that continue to re-invent themselves find ways to remain relevant, fresh, and attractive to the market.   Organizations take huge risks when they don’t reflect on their product or service offerings and look for new ways to serve.   (When was the last time you used Kodak?  How about AOL?)

Our book club at work just finished “Beyond the Obvious” by Phil McKinney, a book helping organizations create a disciplined culture of innovation.   Mr. McKinney was a director for innovation at HP. In this book, he shares his systems, plans, and soft skills required to organize innovation team and create new products and services.   He has a wealth of experience from other technology companies he has directed too.   In my view, I found this book very pragmatic and thoughtful to helping us focus our innovation activities.

Key points from “Beyond the Obvious”:

  • Questions Matter: The questions that we ask determine the quality of ideas we receive from our teams.   The book is designed to help organizations find “Killer Innovations.”    While most organizations focus on incremental innovations, Mr. McKinney coaches leaders to ask bolder questions to discover ideas that are desired by the market and remarkable.  What are the assumptions of your organization or processes?  What if you changed the assumptions about who you serve and how you serve them? “What are the criteria our customers use when selecting our product or service?”  You can find more “Killer questions” from Phil’s Twitter feed and website.
  • Management of Ideas:  You have a system for managing your money in your business or family.   In a similar way, Phil coaches organizations to create systems for managing ideas.  The book reviews a gated funding model to help your team and leadership manage risk thoughtfully.  He argues that ideas with remarkable execution define innovative companies.  Phil introduces readers to his “FIRE” method: focus, ideation, ranking, execution.
    • Focus – He encourages leaders to use bold questions to challenge and focus the attention of the organization.   This phase can also be informed by market research.  On a personal level, you also might consider your passions too.  He also challenges organizations to REALLY know who you serve.
    • Ideation – It’s important for organizations to find a system for documenting their ideas.   If you have ideas stuck in emails or meeting memo’s, it will be hard to move those ideas forward.    You also want ideas to mingle and combine.   In this phase, you want to encourage your team to combine ideas together to create new concepts.   This is especially potent when ideas combine from different divisions or functional groups.  The following TED talk speaks to this concept too.

    • Ranking – You might have hundreds of ideas.   How do you find the top 5% or 10%?   He challenges organizations to use gamification, voting, and other mechanisms to help you discover your best ideas and focus on those concepts.
    • Execution – Phil challenges individuals and organizations to move and execute their ideas.   In this perspective, he challenges organizations to build prototypes, perform limited launches, and get feedback from users.   If you start finding successes with these small prototypes and limited launches, then start selling the product and service and measure the impact thoughtful.   This is a very similar concept to “build, measure, learn” concept from Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
  •  In the closing chapters of the book, he provides a clear plan for running innovation workshops with your team.   His six golden rules for innovation workshops include the following: (1) Setting the focus, (2) Assigning 2 “Killer Questions, (3) Encourage research, (4) Don’t filter ideas, (5) Schedule time for idea generation, and (6) ranking ideas.

I think OpenIdeo is a solid example of Phil’s FIRE system in action.   If you’re looking for fresh ideas on civic entrepreneurship, this is a great website.   Notice how the website encourages focus through questions, ideation, and ranking.

If you’re serious about creating a culture of innovation, I would highly recommend Phil McKinney, “Beyond and the Obvious”, and his podcasts.    They are not easy teachings.   I, however, think they are ideas that will make a difference.

 

How do you keep yourself innovative and creative?

 

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Georgia Kid’s STEM Day at the Museum of Aviation

Kids STEM DAY

To help inspire the next generation of scientists and technology professionals, the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins organized the Georgia Kids STEM Day on 8/16/2014. It was a pleasure to see the museum education team and volunteers across middle Georgia come together to help kids from 2nd to 5th grade experience the fun and excitement of science, technology, engineering, creativity, and math.

I had the opportunity to attend the event this past weekend as a volunteer. The event attracted over 100 students.  I think everyone had a fun time tinkering, building, and experimenting. In one workshop, students engineered model rockets from paper, straws, and tape. It was neat to see their excitement launching their rockets into the sky. In another room, students learned lessons about electronics using Snap Circuits. In yet another space, students had the opportunity to tinker with robotics using Cubelets.

Thanks to the Museum of Aviation team for putting this event together.  It was so much fun!  You can learn more about this story at 13WMAZ  and Macon.com.

Our SparkMacon MakerSpace community was excited to support the Georgia Kids STEM Day. As a newly formed community, this was our first community service event. We had a blast! Two of my friends from Mercer Engineering Research Center helped kids invent cool musical art and crafts using MakeyMakey.

Mentors

The PiBot was a big hit with the young makers at the event. We loaded the robot with an obstacle avoidance program and let the kids “bounce” the robot across the conference area. For the curious students, one of our team members helped the kids make basic code changes to the Arduino robot. We were surprised to find a few 5th graders who felt very comfortable with editing and uploading C code. (I wasn’t doing C at 10 years old!)

PiBot

To help the kids get into 3D modeling and computer programming, we introduced the kids to ScriptCraft, TinkerCad, and 123D Sculpt.  Minecraft is always a hit with kids. Kids were empowered to build anything they could imagine. To enhance the building process, the kids were introduced to a few JavaScript commands to help automate large building tasks. One command automates the process of building a rectangular space of blocks. To learn more about ScriptCraft and Minecraft in Education, check out our review here.

ScriptCraft

Some of the students who visited us especially enjoyed blowing things up with “TNT” blocks. With this in mind, I taught them a few variations on JavaScript commands that would enable them to automate the distribution of “TNT” in the space. I never imagined that blowing things up could help motivate kids to code.  I think they learned about chain reactions from the activity too.

The Museum of Aviation provides a wealth of STEM events to kids, home schooling communities, and teachers through the year. Make sure to check out their website to learn more about their events, lesson plans and teaching resources (http://www.moaeducation.com )  To our community from Brent Lanford, Robert Betzel, Stephen Finney, Tanya, and Melissa, Thanks for volunteering and helping to inspire the kids.

 

 

Museum of Aviation 1

C-130 at Sunrise

 

 

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