Want to discover a possible evolution for the makerspaces model in the future? Welcome in Olabi. Created in 2014, this organization tried different models and relied on a strong international network to become a Brazilian change maker.
It all started with the vision of an hyper-connected and multi-tasks woman, Gabriela Agustini. This charismatic leader traveled all around the world to develop and study the access of internet for Brazilian on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and was part of the creation of the first co-working space in Sao Paulo, the Casa digital culture, which gathered digital innovative teams and hosted the first hackerspace, the Garoa makerspace. These experiences shaped her idea that collaboration and digital can reduce the gap of inequalities but she had to wait for a trip in Boston, where she visited the Techshop, to discover the piece that was missing to shape a project of her own : the diversity of people making together. In fact, during her visit, she assisted to an event that gathered people from different background, experiences and skills and she saw what they succeeded to achieve together with a maker spirit and resources. Back in Rio, one year later, she opened the first makerspace in the garage of a new co-working space, Templo, with Isabelle Goldfarb, to empower an eclectic communities with technology and innovation.
To achieve their mission, the two founders tried different models (workshops for kids, digital courses, hackathon, business services, …) while measuring their impact and staying tuned to new trends and opportunities through their networks and researches. As a result, they succeeded to adapt their model to the Brazilian context. Today, the Olabi makerspace is no longer a private company but a resource of a social organization, Olabi, with their own building, which aims to gather “thinkers” and “doers” to discuss and work together about grand challenges and societal issues. Thus, the organization has been designed with 3 levels :
- A makerspace: an open place for people to gather, have ideas, start to experiment
- A toolbox: knowledge and methodologies used during events (pop-up makerspace) and for social innovation consulting missions
- A hub: a network of people connected around a project or a mission (Pretalab, Computacao sem cao )
Even if the team could have enjoyed its sustainability to focus on their current social projects, the new political context in Brazil changed their plans. They aim to develop new projects to counterbalance the lack of public policies supporting gender and social diversity. Reducing the inequalities is and will always be at the heart of Olabi, shaped by the values of the maker spirit: try, learn and collaborate.