baltimore's makerspace for hackers, makers, diy and crafters

Hackerspace Design Pattern: Workshop Barn Raising

File this under hackerspace design patterns.

As a disclaimer, I’m not a leader or an organizer of people. I prefer to pick a direction and go with it and if people want to help out/come along, that’s cool.

Since I took over as President of the Baltimore Node I’ve tried to not be pushy about getting things done but I’ve noticed that there’s a mismatch between the desire to make workshops happen and actual workshops happening and possibly as President it might be my duty to help actualize that desire. (I’m not sure about that)

There’s probably any number of reasons for things being this way but I think a large part of it is that putting together a workshop by yourself is time consuming.

As a way around that we’ll be trying a workshop barn raising tomorrow night. The idea is for those willing to get together and accomplish a large portion of producing a workshop.

What does that involve? Here’s a general list:

  • Find consensus on a schedule and put it on the calendar
  • Create the eventbrite listing
  • Pick workshop topics and write course materials/sample code
  • Find people willing to run the workshop
  • Order parts (if we can get a vote for funds approved)
  • Put together marketing materials
  • Drink beers. (ok maybe not required)

Previously this planning has happened on our mailing list over the course of a couple of days and to me it felt tedious. I hope that by getting together we can get 90% of the legwork done and finish the rest through our mailing list. Moreover, I hope that this makes it easier for people to participate as this is a process that requires multiple skill sets.

One last caveat, this isn’t meant to be a meeting, meetings are slow and inefficient. I hope that as we come to conclusions we can spin off people to get certain items done and executed, sort of like a weekend hack-a-thon model.

Anyhow, we’ll see how this goes. Baltimore Node continually surprises me with what a consensus based organization can accomplish when folks put their mind to it.