Maker Workshop with Fryshuset on May 12, 2015
Fryshuset in Stockholm agreed to become our first guinea pigs. Three members of our group of six got permission to make a pitch during the Masterclass lunch break at Hyper Island. We were looking for leads to try out our new business idea, a maker movement workshop, using new technology like littleBits and tie-in team development tools, which we had learned during our year as students at Hyper Island. Some of those tools had also been used during the Masterclass we were now pitching. We immediately found sixteen businesses who were interested and gave us their contact information. One of them was Fryshuset, who helps young people by offering social projects and educational programs in their activity center, also known to be the largest youth center in the world. We chose to have them as our first customer as they have a pedagogical background and could help us improve our workshop through their feedback.
Hurray! Our first client... Now what? This was great news! Only we had no idea what the workshop would consist of exactly, nor did we have any electronics yet. Our business idea was created only days earlier and no strategic plan was in place. With one customer booked 4 days ahead, and with 15 more leads in our hands, we went to work. A workshop schedule was structured, electronics borrowed from Makers Park in Stockholm who we quickly contacted and had a meeting with, and a small group of students were quickly assembled at school to test drive our workshop on. Their feedback helped us refine the presentation, a process which took us into the late hours.
The D-Day We met up with 10 managers from Fryshuset, all curious of what we had come up with. After setting up the room they were divided into 3 groups with 3 people in each. A short introduction was given of littleBits, IFTTT (if this then that), the Internet of Things, and todays project; build a doorbell which sends you an email when pressed. We observe them as they open up their boxes with the littleBits electronics inside, taking turns figuring them out and how to put them together, some begin searching online if they can find the instructions. In less than 5 minutes all groups had found the “recipe” online. “We have 3 winners!”, we exclaimed as they all laughed. To encourage team work they could only use one hand each while assembling the doorbell. The groups are talking: Should we keep building? What if we’d like to add a lamp to it? Is it wireless? Now we’ve created the recipe, push the button and check the email. Is it working? What was that green part? Laughter alternates with discussions. One group needs help, the lamp wouldn’t light up. Another group tests their creation by beeping the button and laughs when it sounds, then adds a light to it. A long beeping sound is created by another group as they hold down the button continuously. They laugh happily as they receive lots of emails. In another group the button is silent and they try to make it beep.
After everyone have finished their task, we congratulate and applause each other. The groups say it was fun, cool, surprising, and easy peasy. A short video from littleBits is played, which shows examples of what you can build. Someone says it’s an awesome inspiration. Get the creative juices going A new session begins after a short break with alternating storytelling between 2 people for 5 minutes. Make up a story for one minute, then swap and let the other person take their spin on the story for one minute, then present it to the rest of the group. Where did you start and where did you end up? Now it’s time to create anything they like with littleBits, which has value, and present it to the other groups in 30 min. And the good news is they can now use both hands. By now everyone are very relaxed, having fun and clearly enjoys what they’re doing. Some are looking for recipes on IFTTT, others discuss what they’d like to build-maybe something for bicycles? That’s useful for others. Then they go and pick up sensors for sound, which one of them screams loudly into until it beeps causing happy victorious laughters. One group starts building a funnel with a piece of paper. So what did they all create? One group created a loudspeaker for the classroom or staff meetings. Next group built a sensor for bicycles to be attached on the steering using smartphone-when breaking it makes noise and the back light starts blinking. Last group built a star on a stand, all made with straws, that twists sideways when pushing a button. There’s lots of applause and laughter.
Reflection Phase We are getting close to the end. In the feedback and reflection phase, everyone writes down the answer to 3 questions; What happened? How did it make me feel? What did I take with me? As they present it to each other there’s a peaceful, very relaxed mood. Gradually it grows more active and loud. After everyone had their turn we move over to “love bombing”. Tell your team members what you appreciate in them. The groups discusses a little and then starts “bombing”, first slowly, with many smiles and laughs. The sincere feedbacks create a happy mood. After a while it’s quieting down and becomes more serious, appreciative and calmly relaxed. The final exercise is done by moving away tables and sitting in a circle. Everyone is to “share what you feel, learned, and could apply in your work”. Insights are shared in a warm, appreciative atmosphere before we wrap up and part. We feel happy to have witnessed and helped facilitate our knowledge to this wonderful group today. A few samples of their feedback are below. Thank you Fryshuset!
“This was exactly what we at Fryshuset needed. I’m happy that you came. It added a perspective on Fryshuset we already have but don’t apply. Now we’ll start think about how that can be done.” “It was really fun, to share the value that we shouldn’t be afraid of new things. Our group moved fast, got this and that, and found a solution. That’s so Fryshuset!” ”When we started I wondered what’s the purpose of this? Then I let go. I learned to play and use fantasy, which increases insights.” “A lot of fun, sparked a new interest in tech stuff. Just go ahead and try!” “It taught me to get together as a team, see new things, and increase the cooperation between team members.” “At first I was afraid, I don’t like physics, but it was so fun!” We would like to give a shoutout to Gustaf Josefsson at Makers Park. He lend us littleBits for this workshop and you can contact him if you would like to buy your own kits. The kits are recommended from age 8 and for eternity. Building stuff together creates great teams! Make, learn, share!