We develop accessible and applicable educational technologies to integrate Maker Culture into schools and foster the skills of the 21st century!
Technologies used3D printing Laser cutting Computing & softwares Electronics Recycling Arduino
- What’s the project story?
This project is born out of a perfect match with a perfect timing in the Santiago Makerspace one year ago.
2 years ago, I tried to develop an air purifier with plants for apartments but it appeared that the solution wasn’t suitable because of the space required for such system. I’m an industrial designer, passionate about education and willing to create projects with a social impact so after this experience I was looking for a project dedicated to kids.
Sebastian Higuera, on his side, is also an industrial designer but passionate about technology and machines. Since primary school, he used to disassemble machines and systems to study them in his fathers’ garage applying the so-called “reverse engineering”. With his friend German Herrera they start building and adapting mini 3D printer and digital machines for desks but they didn’t find real-life applications.
So when we met, one year ago in the makerspace, it was an evidence. With my willing to transform education and his experience to build accessible machines for digital fabrication, we decided to create IDEO MAKER to use digital fabrication to empower kids and transform their way of learning and developing themselves.
Our duo was completed by Javiera Ruiz, industrial designer and high-level athlete, who did an investigation on the impact of digital for education and had experience in teaching with sport. German, a mechanical engineer, joined shortly after to complete our team of designers with his complementary technical approach.
- How the workshop was useful?
Fab INACAP offered us the space, the machines and advice to design our services and build the material for our workshops. We like the atmosphere here, the liberty we have and the energy. More than free machines and space, we come here because of the spirit of the place which gives us ideas and motivation to carry on. It also enables us to meet other entrepreneurs and to develop partnerships such as the one with Qactus, a start-up which produces 3D printer filament by recycling plastic.
- What’s the project’s greatest success so far?
In terms of communication and business, the biggest success was the first financial fund we earned with Corfo which allowed us to validate our idea and to accelerate its growth. It was also a great help in terms of communication: we gave us credit and visibility. As a consequence, we were invited to different festivals and events to show our project and share our vision. For instance, the feedback we got during our participation in the Explora RM Norte event was a great support and motivation for carrying on.
In terms of impact, our biggest success was to attract the teachers without looking for them. They spontaneously invited us to collaborate.
- What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?
Among the failures we experiment every day, the ones that made us grow faster were the failure of our first business model and the difficulties to organize our team. We first imagined to sell a one-year program to school but we soon realized that it didn’t fit the financing process of the educational organizations: the budget, too high, required high-level validation and to be included in a 3 years plan of investment. Changing the main assumption of our start-up was difficult but necessary. We learned how to keep our vision while adapting our strategy to our ecosystem. The creation of the team was also a great lesson: we had to select people among our first team to be fully dedicated and paid because we didn’t have the funds to pay everyone. It helped us to define our values and team rules.
- What’s your vision for the project & next steps?
We want to create a start-up based on collaboration and which makes a real impact on education. Therefore, we want to create more partnerships with associations and start-ups and to design our workshops in collaboration with teachers. That’s why we have launched a national contest to identify the needs in schools and technology appetite. The matter of impact is also related to gender diversity: we aim to design workshops and educational programs that empower women in science and technology and give them confidence in their future work.
- How anyone interested can contribute to the project?
We are looking for funds to organize free workshops in all Chile but also free space to organize them and partnerships with people involved in education or technology.