Inspiring the Startup Mindset
It’s long been the standard wisdom that to learn or achieve something new – a math problem, a recipe – you need to follow a series of pre-defined steps. Traditional education methods have sufficiently adhered to this for centuries. At MakerBot we believe something different, and from the curiosity and courage I’ve been seeing on my 11-week, 22-state Listening Tour across the United States, so do our customers. A new paradigm has become the dominant marker of success and innovation: the startup mindset. Think about Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and MakerBot’s own founder Bre Pettis. Successful entrepreneurs focus on possibilities instead of current realities, disrupting standard processes to achieve their goals with rapid iteration instead. The hands-on learning that our customers employ with Desktop 3D printing in their schools and their maker spaces encourages an enthusiasm to real-time prototype, test, fail, and repeat, until a successful approach is found. These last few weeks, I’ve covered 9 states and met over 20 customers, and I’ve been inspired to see a growing population for the maker spaces and centers in Boston University, Learning Labs in Georgia, and Florida Polytechnic’s RAD Maker Space. SUNY New Paltz’s MakerBot Innovation Center empowers students and community entrepreneurs alike. This approach to learning and developing ideas gives people an interdisciplinary space to be proactive, where they may have been stalled before. With the MakerBot tools at Whitby School and Brooklyn Technical High School, I see unparallelled imagination and engagement in middle and high school students. I’ve been so impressed with their involvement, their feelings of ownership, responsibility, and creativity. In short, their startup mindset. In the course of daily life at MakerBot, we see this spirit up close. At our recent Hack-a-Thon, GE FirstBuild and MakerBot Thingiverse paired up to host interdisciplinary teams to develop ideas in two days. Each team brainstormed, created, iterated, and tried again, and each presented a finished concept. The winning team, headed by Bryan Berger of NY Hackathons, was Food Share, a way to display and share food from your refrigerator with neighbors. This is a solution that could potentially lead to less food waste and more community interaction. We believe it is important to constantly iterate in order to achieve success. I’ve been humbled to see this curious and undaunted attitude at all levels and all disciplines in my Listening Tour.