Mixing makers, hackers, designers, and OpenIDEOers in IDEO’s London studio
We wondered: How could we help the digital community build out more of these winning tech and design solutions? What would happen if we got passionate designers, hackers, and digital community members in a room with no distractions one weekend, all working towards creating physical & digital prototypes for social good? And, could we all play around with Arduino and the 3-D printer while we were at it?
Originally we thought of doing a hackathon. Then we decided to push the concept to its next iteration. How could we bring together multidisciplinary weekend project teams—not just software engineers and digital designers, but also industrial designers, architects, and problem solvers from different backgrounds? Could we create a new kind of design-driven collaborative event? Inspired by IDEO’s own maker culture, the DIY community at Maker Faire, and Silicon Valley hackathons, we decided to experiment with the concept. We called this prototype event a “Make-a-thon.”
The result was a unique London pop-up event that produced some truly original concepts and meaningful digital and physical prototypes. We hosted about 60 makers and hackers in the IDEO London studio—including 1/3 IDEOers and 2/3 UK creative community members. We used EventBrite to keep track of invitations and had a waiting list of about 65 people. Here’s what we made in a 1.5 days—and what we learned.