Measuring Makerspaces

UPDATED to Version 2: http://feddabonn.com/2015/03/measuring-makerspaces-v2/

In the spirit of makerspacery at Auckland Libraries, we have developed four measures for the evaluation of makerspaces. These measure the resilience of the makerspace idea, the engagement levels of the idea, and the potential for growth. Each measure has three metrics. The first is a bottom line (minimum requirement), the second a top line (aspirational goal), and the third is called a Pinky and the Brain line. This is named after the cartoon mice, whose initial interaction in every episode is:

Pinky: So Brain, what are we going to do tonight?

Brain: What we do every night, Pinky. We’re going to try to take over the world!

While the top line is aspirational, it is achievable. The P&B line is a plan to ‘take over the world’, and a reminder of the transformative potential of these ideas.

The principles behind these measures and metrics come from the development approach in Te Kauroa- Future Directions:

• Customers at the centre, to involve customers in shaping services

• Experiment, innovate, and learn to take a more agile development approach

• Collaborating and partnering for success to strengthen our impact and visibility in the community

• Working smarter to foster continuous business improvement

• Empowering our people to focus on outcomes and accountability

The measures are:

1. Grow-like-weed-itude:

• This measures the resilience and sustainability of the idea from a staff and library system perspective

• Based on the historical experience of guerrilla warfare, that suggests there is very little hope of destroying a revolutionary movement after it has the support of 15 to 25 per cent of the population (Griffith, 1961)

Bottomline: 13 libraries in the Auckland system with permanent makerspaces or semi-permanent maker activities

  Topline: Annual subscriptions to maker events grow by 25%

  P&Bline: Help set up makerspaces in 16 public library systems (of 66) in Aotearoa New Zealand

2. Social-interesting-ness:

• This measures the ability of makerspace ideas and activities to engage the community’s imagination

• Based on a tweet (Bečela, 2014) that had the following formula to measure and compare the engagement scores of Facebook posts:

likes + shares (X2) + comments (X4)

number of fans

Also modifiable to events:

in-house events + outreach events (X2) + partnered events (X4)

total recorded events at Auckland Libraries

Bottomline: Average combined channel monthly score of 1+ (current average is .50)

  Topline: One mainstream media story about the impact of Auckland Libraries’ makerspaces

  P&Bline: Work with local iwi to develop/find measures that are meaningful for tangata whenua

3. Filling-in-form-ability:

• This measures the rigour behind the thinking and the quality of the business model

• Based on V1.04 of the Social Lean Canvas, adapted from The Lean Canvas, which in turn is adapted from The Business Model Canvas

Bottomline: Ability to adequately fill in all information required by the Social Lean Canvas

Topline: Creation of a multi-layered model for library makerspace creation, taking into account various levels of investment/partnership possibilities

P&Bline: Raising $160,000 for the creation of library makerspaces across Aotearoa New Zealand

4. What-would-Andre-say:

• This measures the social and environmental impacts of the makerspace, in story-telling terms

• Based on an outreach event from Birkenhead Library, where we met 8 year old children who were almost illiterate

Bottomline: One anecdote or conversation that demonstrates how the makerspace has helped the most vulnerable in our society

  Topline: One project or workshopped activity that is demonstrably linked to making a positive ecological/environmental impact

  P&Bline: One communication from a person who believes that the makerspace has demonstrably helped them escape a vulnerable situation

All feedback welcome!

 

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