Fabrica

Fábrica: Diseño e Innovación, Villa Martelli, Buenos Aires, Argentine

City public space

Space size 1000 m²

Opened in July 2016

Structure type Public institution

Explored in January 2019


Fábrica is a platform for research, design and development of social innovation projects to improve the quality of life of vulnerable communities throughout the country. Our multidisciplinary teams generate an ecosystem of extensive knowledge, tools and methods to design sustainable solutions focused on three areas: education, health and habitat. Through our design approach, we focus on people to better understand the community and to understand the context and its actors involved.

Main interests

Social initiatives Industry & innovation Health & well-being Furniture & house Education Science & biology

This workshop is great for:

Teachers Kids under 12 General public Schools & universities Public organisations Non-profit organisations

The closest workshops nearby are:

Our workshop

Learn more about our space, members, machines & services!

It’s the story of a meeting between 2 actors committed in the social development of their country. On the one hand, Silvina Papasaragas, a renowned psychologist who has gained a solid experience in the government by accompanying entrepreneurs and craftsmen using design as spearhead, and on the other side, the public institution COFECYT(Consejo Federal de Ciencia y Tecnología), which thanks to its network of representatives, one for each of the 24 provinces, supports the development of scientific, technologic and innovation activities. Two years ago, when Sylvia knocked on the doors of various public directions with the project to use design and digital manufacturing as tools to find concrete solutions for vulnerable communities, COFECYT opened her doors wide and together they built Fabrica.

Nowadays, the space is located in Tecnopolis, the largest science, technology, industry and art exhibition in Argentina. Every year, the park is opened from June to October and offers various free activities to spread scientific knowledge through experience. Fabrica, as a program of COFECYT, belongs to the Science Secretary within the Education Ministry. Therefore, one of its mission is to design and perform workshops for kids, under the program called Fabriquita, based on the STEAM methodology with the support of digital fabrication. Above all, one of its key and original mission is to become a platform of investigation, design, and development of social projects to improve the quality of life of all the vulnerable communities in the country, gathering teams of talented people and offering them the methodology and resources to achieve it.

After 2 years, these missions are about to be a success:

  • they succeeded to develop 5 low-cost and open-source solutions in education, health or housing to answer real and local needs. They are waiting for the last tests in situ to validate and to spread them in the other regions.
  • their STEAM workshops enabled to train hundreds of kids and were reproduced in various regions of Argentina.
  • they even start of changing the mindset of the way public fundings are invested, diverting the resources in more real and efficient solutions.

The recent fusion of the Ministry of Science under the Ministry of Education and the budget restriction, both consequences of the country economic crisis, are reshaping the objectives and the organization. In 2019, the focus will be Education. Fabrica will take advantage of its experience in this field, with Fabriquita and 2 of the social projects developed in 2018, to become an international change-maker for the educational corpus, the parents and the kids and a reference in the design of innovative and pedagogic workshops about science, technology, and innovation.

“Fabrica is an organizational prototype”. Sofia Marré, the right-hand woman of Silvina Papasaragas, joined her a few months after the creation of Fabrica to put her professional experience in this innovative program. At this time, the program experienced some difficulties to achieve the first social projects which relied on a team of students who lack both experience and availabilities.

Her first action was to take the time required in 2017 to analyze the situation, with a core team of talented and multi-disciplinary people she recruited. Among them Manuel Garzarón. Together, they suggested a new organization for Fabrica composed of 3 main areas which were tested in 2018 :

  • The general
  • The production
  • The projects

The general area is composed of people in charge of the communication, the strategy, the budget, the political relationships, and the partnerships. One of their objective, given by the ministry, is to sign as many as possible partnerships with public entities to increase the impact and to optimize the resources of the program.

The production is composed of designers and makers who design and makes workshops for kids, citizens, teachers (…). Their objective is to spread science and technology through digital fabrication training and STEAM courses. The team is punctually strengthened with students between 17 to 20 years old from technical schools who designed during 5 sessions workshops for kids in their specialty (mechanic, optic, …). A real human adventure who enabled them to work on meaningful projects while developing useful workshops for the team.

The last one is composed of a team manager in charge of recruiting, managing and supporting 5 teams of 3 persons, with a mix of last year students from the UBA University and professionals which specialties depend on the project. A consultant agency Insitum, specialized in innovation, was also part of the resources to provide the teams with a proven methodology and to support them in each stage of their projects.

The 3 areas are linked together with many synergies: the production area support the achievement of the prototypes for the social projects, social educational projects are reused by the production area in their workshops, the general area promotes the workshops and organizes their replication in the provinces, etc.

In 2019, due to the merge of the Science Ministry under the Education Ministry, the organization will be changed during a new iteration and the team will be trained to tackle their new challenges.

12300 visitors, 3500 kids workshops, 170 people trained in digital fabrication, 12 social projects developed…in 2018. Yes, Fabrica does have an impact on Argentine people.

Their activities and organization enable the team to spread the word about science and technology through digital fabrication and they start changing people mindset by training people and showing concrete results.

The users of Fabrica can be divided into 3 main categories :

  • The kids, who are many to attend the STEAM workshops in Fabriquita and all around the country, during the national roaming performed by the team and COFECYT. In 2018, they realized 24 workshops in 12 provinces.
  • The citizens of Buenos Aires, who took the opportunity to discover new techniques and acquires knowledge during the free courses
  • The students from 18 - 20 years old from technical school who participated in 5 sessions of kids workshops creation with the team to apply their knowledge in a real case study.
  • The 15 members of the social projects team, divided into 5 teams which gathered last year students from UBO university, professionals such as gerontologist or architect. For 5 months, they worked every day together in order to tackle social issues and make a relevant, low-cost and replicable solutions.

The makerspace also organizes events which gather people and often go beyond their expectations :

  • during the investigation stage of the social projects, they interviewed dozens of people, organized debates and succeeded to free tongues about important but taboo subjects.
  • in October 2018, the International Design Forum to discuss strategic design as a key factor of innovation to develop competitiveness and sustainable practices. They gathered 23 experts and attracted more than 200 participants. One of the experts even asked them to help him reproduce the Fabrica model in his country, Brazil.
  • during all the processes of designing and prototyping the social solutions, meetings were organized with all people interviewed during the investigation stage in order to validate their hypothesis and propositions. One of these events gathered the stakeholders of the 5 projects, clustered in a table by topic (education, health, habitat). The exchanges among experts of the same field, who met for the first time, were very strong and went beyond the meeting.

However, they don’t have on a community in the true sense: the participation of users is occasional, as visitors to enjoy the space and events or as participants by attending courses. No link is created nor nurtured among them or with the team due to the objectives of 2018 (training, science divulgation, social projects). However, the tone of 2019 is different, focus on Education, where the community may play a major role.

As a public organization, each year Fabrica must present a strategic plan to its Secretary or Ministry in order to validate its budget for the following year. This budget covers the space rental, the human resources and the punctual resources (material, transport, machine, consultancy) linked to the projects included in the strategic plan.

This yearly fixed income endows freedom with the team regarding the operational decisions and organization within the frame of the year. Their only objective is to sign as many as partnerships as possible to play its full role as public and transversal change-maker. In 2018, they succeeded to sign 18 partnerships and 7 new ones are about to be concluded for the beginning of 2019.

This ecosystem is key for their sustainability: the red of partners justify the budget required to perform their activities but also provides them with intrinsic resources and reinforces their position. For instance, with INTI, a public institution which supports PME and Industries, they exchange knowledge and they perform collaborative activities with their complementary expertise. Gradually, they become a key partner in the strategic organization, thus ensuring their future.

However, the 2018 Argentina financial crisis resulted in budget cuts for 2019 for all public organizations. Fabrica, which used to design low-cost and open-source projects, will carry on looking for optimizing the rate value-cost of its projects and will rely on its network and the open-source community to gather all the energy requires to achieve its mission.

It’s the story of a meeting between 2 actors committed in the social development of their country. On the one hand, Silvina Papasaragas, a renowned psychologist who has gained a solid experience in the government by accompanying entrepreneurs and craftsmen using design as spearhead, and on the other side, the public institution COFECYT(Consejo Federal de Ciencia y Tecnología), which thanks to its network of representatives, one for each of the 24 provinces, supports the development of scientific, technologic and innovation activities. Two years ago, when Sylvia knocked on the doors of various public directions with the project to use design and digital manufacturing as tools to find concrete solutions for vulnerable communities, COFECYT opened her doors wide and together they built Fabrica.

Nowadays, the space is located in Tecnopolis, the largest science, technology, industry and art exhibition in Argentina. Every year, the park is opened from June to October and offers various free activities to spread scientific knowledge through experience. Fabrica, as a program of COFECYT, belongs to the Science Secretary within the Education Ministry. Therefore, one of its mission is to design and perform workshops for kids, under the program called Fabriquita, based on the STEAM methodology with the support of digital fabrication. Above all, one of its key and original mission is to become a platform of investigation, design, and development of social projects to improve the quality of life of all the vulnerable communities in the country, gathering teams of talented people and offering them the methodology and resources to achieve it.

After 2 years, these missions are about to be a success:

  • they succeeded to develop 5 low-cost and open-source solutions in education, health or housing to answer real and local needs. They are waiting for the last tests in situ to validate and to spread them in the other regions.
  • their STEAM workshops enabled to train hundreds of kids and were reproduced in various regions of Argentina.
  • they even start of changing the mindset of the way public fundings are invested, diverting the resources in more real and efficient solutions.

The recent fusion of the Ministry of Science under the Ministry of Education and the budget restriction, both consequences of the country economic crisis, are reshaping the objectives and the organization. In 2019, the focus will be Education. Fabrica will take advantage of its experience in this field, with Fabriquita and 2 of the social projects developed in 2018, to become an international change-maker for the educational corpus, the parents and the kids and a reference in the design of innovative and pedagogic workshops about science, technology, and innovation.

“Fabrica is an organizational prototype”. Sofia Marré, the right-hand woman of Silvina Papasaragas, joined her a few months after the creation of Fabrica to put her professional experience in this innovative program. At this time, the program experienced some difficulties to achieve the first social projects which relied on a team of students who lack both experience and availabilities.

Her first action was to take the time required in 2017 to analyze the situation, with a core team of talented and multi-disciplinary people she recruited. Among them Manuel Garzarón. Together, they suggested a new organization for Fabrica composed of 3 main areas which were tested in 2018 :

  • The general
  • The production
  • The projects

The general area is composed of people in charge of the communication, the strategy, the budget, the political relationships, and the partnerships. One of their objective, given by the ministry, is to sign as many as possible partnerships with public entities to increase the impact and to optimize the resources of the program.

The production is composed of designers and makers who design and makes workshops for kids, citizens, teachers (…). Their objective is to spread science and technology through digital fabrication training and STEAM courses. The team is punctually strengthened with students between 17 to 20 years old from technical schools who designed during 5 sessions workshops for kids in their specialty (mechanic, optic, …). A real human adventure who enabled them to work on meaningful projects while developing useful workshops for the team.

The last one is composed of a team manager in charge of recruiting, managing and supporting 5 teams of 3 persons, with a mix of last year students from the UBA University and professionals which specialties depend on the project. A consultant agency Insitum, specialized in innovation, was also part of the resources to provide the teams with a proven methodology and to support them in each stage of their projects.

The 3 areas are linked together with many synergies: the production area support the achievement of the prototypes for the social projects, social educational projects are reused by the production area in their workshops, the general area promotes the workshops and organizes their replication in the provinces, etc.

In 2019, due to the merge of the Science Ministry under the Education Ministry, the organization will be changed during a new iteration and the team will be trained to tackle their new challenges.

12300 visitors, 3500 kids workshops, 170 people trained in digital fabrication, 12 social projects developed…in 2018. Yes, Fabrica does have an impact on Argentine people.

Their activities and organization enable the team to spread the word about science and technology through digital fabrication and they start changing people mindset by training people and showing concrete results.

The users of Fabrica can be divided into 3 main categories :

  • The kids, who are many to attend the STEAM workshops in Fabriquita and all around the country, during the national roaming performed by the team and COFECYT. In 2018, they realized 24 workshops in 12 provinces.
  • The citizens of Buenos Aires, who took the opportunity to discover new techniques and acquires knowledge during the free courses
  • The students from 18 - 20 years old from technical school who participated in 5 sessions of kids workshops creation with the team to apply their knowledge in a real case study.
  • The 15 members of the social projects team, divided into 5 teams which gathered last year students from UBO university, professionals such as gerontologist or architect. For 5 months, they worked every day together in order to tackle social issues and make a relevant, low-cost and replicable solutions.

The makerspace also organizes events which gather people and often go beyond their expectations :

  • during the investigation stage of the social projects, they interviewed dozens of people, organized debates and succeeded to free tongues about important but taboo subjects.
  • in October 2018, the International Design Forum to discuss strategic design as a key factor of innovation to develop competitiveness and sustainable practices. They gathered 23 experts and attracted more than 200 participants. One of the experts even asked them to help him reproduce the Fabrica model in his country, Brazil.
  • during all the processes of designing and prototyping the social solutions, meetings were organized with all people interviewed during the investigation stage in order to validate their hypothesis and propositions. One of these events gathered the stakeholders of the 5 projects, clustered in a table by topic (education, health, habitat). The exchanges among experts of the same field, who met for the first time, were very strong and went beyond the meeting.

However, they don’t have on a community in the true sense: the participation of users is occasional, as visitors to enjoy the space and events or as participants by attending courses. No link is created nor nurtured among them or with the team due to the objectives of 2018 (training, science divulgation, social projects). However, the tone of 2019 is different, focus on Education, where the community may play a major role.

As a public organization, each year Fabrica must present a strategic plan to its Secretary or Ministry in order to validate its budget for the following year. This budget covers the space rental, the human resources and the punctual resources (material, transport, machine, consultancy) linked to the projects included in the strategic plan.

This yearly fixed income endows freedom with the team regarding the operational decisions and organization within the frame of the year. Their only objective is to sign as many as partnerships as possible to play its full role as public and transversal change-maker. In 2018, they succeeded to sign 18 partnerships and 7 new ones are about to be concluded for the beginning of 2019.

This ecosystem is key for their sustainability: the red of partners justify the budget required to perform their activities but also provides them with intrinsic resources and reinforces their position. For instance, with INTI, a public institution which supports PME and Industries, they exchange knowledge and they perform collaborative activities with their complementary expertise. Gradually, they become a key partner in the strategic organization, thus ensuring their future.

However, the 2018 Argentina financial crisis resulted in budget cuts for 2019 for all public organizations. Fabrica, which used to design low-cost and open-source projects, will carry on looking for optimizing the rate value-cost of its projects and will rely on its network and the open-source community to gather all the energy requires to achieve its mission.

Services offered

R&D missions Student Internship Classes & workshops Kids classes & holiday training courses Education missions

Our best practices

The inspiring things we do here to run our collaborative space

Deep investigation to ensure the projects deployment

categories
Ecosystem & partnerships Starting projects

What is it?

A project methodology user-centered where the investigation phase is as important as the design process to ensure the relevance of the solution.

In concrete terms?

The team has to find solutions that are desirable for the end user while being feasible (technological and culturally) and viable (resources available). With the experiences gained the past years, they designed a methodology which starts with a deep understanding of the person in his role of the user to define the problem to solve. The team spent 2 months to read articles, to meet key users and counterparties, to organize meetings and debate about the hot topic, to participate in events. Their objectives were to cross the points of view about the topic to address and to create a solid community of counterparties who will support the team along the project (users to test, municipality to prepare the deployment, bank to finance it, …).

Why it’s interesting?

The time spent during the investigation phase is precious:

  • it ensures the relevance of the problem tackle
  • it identifies the main barriers for its deployment
  • it gathers users and key actors who will play a vital role during the conception and deployment of the product

Conception of kids workshops with students

categories
Ecosystem & partnerships Launching new activities

What is it?

A process of design and production of workshops for kids realized by a group of students specialized in technical careers.

In concrete terms?

The Ministry of Education made the professional practices mandatory for students of technical careers, aged between 17 and 20 years old. Fabrica sized the opportunity to invite them, during 5 sessions of 4 hours, to put their knowledge in the design of kids workshops. In teams, they produced the process and tools, with cardboard, to learn to kids the basic knowledge of science and technology such as optic or electronic. The workshops will be then reproduced by the team of Fabrica in Fabriquita sessions or during the pedagogic roaming around the country.

Why it’s interesting?

This collaboration is win-win :

  • the team of the makerspace benefits from the expertise of students and from their new points of view and ideas
  • the students put into practice their knowledge while being trained to design and digital fabrication

In addition, Fabrica testifies of the intense and valuable human experience it was for the team and the students.

Contact : info.fabricamincyt@gmail.com

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