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50+ Maker Spaces

Shared resource spaces for elders to learn or use existing maker skills and generate supplemental income from selling what they make.

Photo of Kim Upright
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?

The idea is designed for people thinking of pursuing craftsman type hobbies when they near retirement, such as woodworking, and who will be downsizing their living space and need access to a workshop. They need to be able to share tools and other resources to make their hobby a viable interest. This would give them the opportunity to sell their products or art to supplement their savings long into their retirement. There is also a huge opportunity for social engagement with the community.

People near retirement age often think about what they want to be involved with in the future as their focus shifts from the “work” they have been doing for decades to the dreams they have of pursuing more creative endeavors. Some have had the opportunity to experience hobbies such as woodworking or other craftsman type arts and some may even had a garage workshop for this purpose.  Many still just dream of this and as they downsize their living space they could use access to a shared facility with all the tools and training. Maker Spaces are popping up in cities all over the world as the DIY tenet continues to gain traction. The Spaces are becoming education centers and social gathering places and project collaboration is common. There are financial rewards for those who follow through with selling the goods and art they produce. Maker Spaces are usually non-profit and run by the members. This allows the overhead, assets and other resources to be shared and make the operation viable for the membership. Another huge benefit is when the members engage and share their experience with the rest of the community.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Start a local meetup to see how many people would like to become members. Strategize on the viability of creating a Membership group.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I would like some feedback on if anyone see a need for this type of Space in their community.

Tell us about your work experience:

I have a design background and have worked with web technology for the past 20 years. I currently run an agency that is involved in Digital Transformation for small business. We are experimenting with integrating more Design Thinking methodology into our practice.

Please check all that apply:

  • I'm currently a member of a credit union

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

It is a shared workshop space geared to older people, with access to a wide range of tools. It allows them to make things that they might not otherwise be easily able to on their own. Teaching and learning fabrication skills in collaboration with experts and novices is a key benefit as is an opportunity to create supplemental income from selling what is created.

How might your idea be transferable to a large number of people?

Makerspaces are not a new idea however if the benefits of membership were geared toward older people there is obviously a growing cohort. Regarding scale -as the membership increased, workshop space and opportunity could also scale. Once the model was proven successful it could be adopted in other locations.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

The first step is to fully articulated the "idea" so that members of the community could be polled to see if this was a concept that they were prepared to "sign-up for" and be committed to support.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

The first step would be to align all resources to open a prototype space and build support for its growth.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Huw morgan

Hello Kim, Honestly, great idea, I study wouldnt know what I would do without a work shop, thankfully I have access to one at my uni, I think it's a great idea to make a group for it. Would you make it so that anyone can come in and do anything or would you run classes aswell, letting people teach other people, sharing information and knowledge?

Photo of Kim Upright

Hi Huw -sorry for the late response

Making it inclusive makes all kinds of sense but the idea would be to have "Elders" running the place. People with experience and those that could act as mentors to both other "left-the-workforce" types as well as the younger generations

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