This report was assembled by the co-organizers of the Makers for Global Good Summit, Stephanie Santoso, Kate Gage and Sam Bloch, with help from summit participants. The summit was made possible through the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Engineering for Change and in collaboration with The Tech Museum of Innovation. For more information on Makers for Global Good, visit makersforglobalgood.com.
This report was assembled by the co-organizers of the Makers for Global Good Summit,
Stephanie Santoso, Kate Gage and Sam Bloch, with help from summit participants. The
summit was made possible through the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore
Foundation, Engineering for Change and in collaboration with The Tech Museum of
Innovation. For more information on Makers for Global Good, visit
The first Makers for Global Summit took place at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San
Jose, CA on May 19, 2017. The event brought together Makers working on high impact
projects in areas ranging from environmental conservation and health to education and the
refugee crisis with organizations that could benefit from and support the innovations being
developed by these individuals. These organizations included foundations, companies,
NGOs, universities and community groups. The day after the summit, all participants were
invited to attend Maker Faire Bay Area and participate in a special Missions for Makers
breakfast with Dale Dougherty, Founder of Maker Faire and CEO of Maker Media. A number
of summit participants also gave talks and exhibited their projects during the Faire.
This report provides a summary of the presentations and discussions that took place during the
event. A detailed agenda for the summit and list of participating organizations can be found at
the end of this document.
● 57 participants
● 49 organizations including Field Ready, Tikkun Olam Makers,
World Bank, Institute for Transformative Technologies,
Lemelson Foundation, USAID, Benetech, Intel and Airbnb
● Supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation &
Engineering for Change
Collaboration diagram indicating existing relationships between organizations (solid lines) and desired connections
As the Maker Movement evolves and the Maker community continues to grow, we are
seeing that individuals are developing innovative approaches to solving pressing problems
and challenges in communities around the world. But in order for the promising prototypes
and solutions to reach the people that really need them, Makers need to work together with
organizations that have the capacity, capabilities, and resources to help them test, iterate
and scale what they’re doing. The goal of the summit was to:
● Provide these groups with the opportunity to share their work with one another.
● Discuss existing challenges to progress.
● Identify potential opportunities to work together.
LOOKING AHEAD: ACTIONABLE NEXT STEPS
The event provided a unique opportunity to meet and connect with potential collaborators,
but the impact will be dependant on what comes next. Below are specific ideas around the
way we can continue to build on the ideas discussed at the summit as well as additional
issues that could be covered in future convenings.
● Opportunities to continue conversation. Create a
listserv or online group via social media so that
participants can stay in touch, provide updates on
their work and ask for help. To that end, we’ve
created a Makers for Global Good Facebook
group, which will also be open to others who are
working at the intersection of making and social
● Future convenings. Given that this gathering was
productive, we are considering opportunities to
gather like minded individuals that could dovetail
with other major convenings such as the UN
General Assembly and World Maker Faire in New
York in September 2017. There is also considerable
interest in collaborating with the social entrepreneurship community.
● Research. This convening revealed that there is still much work to be done in
mapping the complex ecosystem of makers and innovators tackling a wide range of
social impact areas, identifying best practices and gaps and how approaches to
measurement and evaluation are being developed. More formal, well-supported
research in these and related areas is needed.
● Future topics. Important issues that we did not have the opportunity to dive into
deeply, but that we agree would be good to focus on moving forward:
○ Making tools, technologies and spaces for design, building and fabrication
more accessible to individuals with disabilities.
○ The intersection between making and social justice- making as an
opportunity for civic engagement.
○ Data protection, governance and risk mitigation when innovating in high
stakes, high risk contexts.
○ Increasing access to Maker technologies and lowering barriers to scale.
SESSION I: IMPACT INVENTING AND OPEN COLLABORATION
This session focused on examining the ways we can think about the impact of the solutions
that are being developed and the role that open source and open sharing can play in the
development, dissemination and distribution of solutions across communities. We heard
from three different organizations on this topic.
Lemelson Foundation has been supporting the
development of invention based enterprises (IBE)
as an approach to solving some of the toughest
challenges facing society in areas such as medical
diagnostics & treatment, energy and agriculture.
The foundation works in a variety of ways to spur
invention including supporting organizations who
provide inventors with the support and guidance
needed to ensure products go to market and have
a societal impact.
The Lemelson Foundation believes the most important products invented in the next 20
years will be those that address critical social and environmental issues, and reach and
serve communities with the greatest needs. For this reason, the foundation focuses on
what it calls the impact inventing framework:
1) Environmental Responsibility: Thinking about the end-of-life of a new technology to
better understand its life cycle and potential environmental impact.
2) Financial Self Sustainability: Free products are good, but lasting impact can be
achieved if there is a market need for it that can help sustain growth.
3) Positive social impact: Positive pro-social orientation to address the pressing issues
of our day.
Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM)
“How can we leave the world a better place then we found it? “ The goal of TOM is to bring
together makers and people with disabilities in order to create solutions to different
challenges and ultimately impact the lives of 250 million people over the next 10 years.
How? By facilitating partnerships between
need-knowers (people who live with disabilities
themselves or who have a close personal or
professional knowledge of a disability) with
Makers to address real life challenges using
exponential technologies and online
collaboration. Assistive technology is struggling
to gain market traction. 1 in 7 people live with
some form of disability but the industry is not
investing in them. TOM wants to address
underserved market challenges.
They open source all of their projects so that anyone around the world can find the files and
information for solutions that are developed. Building out the network and serving this
community is key. So far, since its establishment in 2014, TOM has hosted 25 makeathons in
22 communities, with 9,512 Makers, 658 challenges and 184 projects.
Biosand filters are water filtration systems that don’t require electricity, very little
replacement parts, and minimal maintenance. OHorizons developed a wood mold which
enables local organizations to manufacture concrete biosand filters for a fraction of the cost
of traditional methods, meaning more people can get clean water faster. OHorizons drove
down the costs of a the mold from $500-$200 to $50-$80 dollars. They also open sourced
all of their technical resources in order to empower anyone in any community to make
these. Since April 2015, 700+ people and organizations from 80+ countries have downloaded
their wood mold construction manual.. You can download their technical resources on their
Understanding the benefits and trade-offs to open source
Open sourcing solutions that are developed within the Maker community creates
opportunities for more individuals to have access to them. In the case of TOM, individuals
are developing assistive technologies that are not currently being met by the market, so the
goal is to make these solutions more widely available and openly sharing them is a method
of doing this. In the case of OHorizons, the information about how to build the wood mold
for the biosand filters was not originally open sourced, but the organization began to see
the benefits of making these details widely available. Before OHorizons went open source, a
group of students from Mali had requested this information from the organization.
OHorizons realized that their current licensing structure was very complicated for users to
navigate and ultimately, making the plans for the mold open source significantly lowered
the barriers for individuals to build the molds around the world.
Building an ecosystem that accommodates makers with different
backgrounds and different models for growth
Developing strong in-country networks can help build a robust ecosystem where inventors
can focus on collaboration, regardless of their model for growth and distribution. This
approach also includes inspiring the next generation of inventors through educational
SESSION II: CO-DESIGN
This session examined the importance of engaging and empowering users in the
development of solutions, every step of the way. We heard from three different
organizations on this topic.
Field Ready focuses on on-demand manufacturing in crisis & disaster zones. There are
major challenges related to logistics that need to be addressed in order to get critical tools
and services into crisis zones. Field Ready’s work first began in Haiti in the aftermath of the
2010 earthquake. Most recently, Dara Dotz, Co-founder of Field Ready and her team have
developed an airbag that can be used to lift collapsed structures, to assist rescuers in
pulling people out of the rubble after bombings. The team’s approach has been to
collaborate with individuals in Syria to design a
device that includes materials that could be sourced
locally in Syria and produced on-site. Leveraging
social media like WhatsApp, they’ve been able to
work with their Syrian teammates remotely to identify
the ideal local materials that can be used. This ended
up including tire treads that encase the airbag and
protect it from puncturing. This device has already
saved the lives of a baby and mother in Syria. Field
Ready is also currently developing a catalog which
details the tools and devices that the organization has
developed and how they can be created.
Conservation X Labs
In its 30 years as a discipline, conservation science has tended to be in the past backwards
looking, technophobic, depressing and has failed to harness the power of the market, or
address the underlying drivers of extinction. We need new solutions, disciplines, and
solvers engaged in conservation. Our focus should be on the revolutionary over
evolutionary in our solutions. While traditional conservation science can help define the
problems, it alone does not possess the solutions. The maker movement coupled with the
democratization of innovation suggests permits opportunities to broad the number of
How can we accelerate innovation in order to meet the major challenges that lie ahead?
We may harness the power of exponential
technologies, open innovation, and
entrepreneurship to transform the efficacy
and scale of conservation efforts.
Technology has gained exponentially in
processing power, memory capacity, artificial
intelligence, machine vision. New principles
of open innovation, design thinking, rapid
iteration, and mass collaboration seek to
transform the model for how we source,
develop, and scale new technologies.
Entrepreneurship can help us think about
how we my bring such innovations to scale
and make sure we meet demand.
In typical models for supporting innovation such as grants or Grand Challenges, there are
only a few “winners” and many “losers.” But ideas or prototypes that don’t eventually receive
funding through these mechanisms could also potentially be high impact. One opportunity
is to leverage the model of open source drug discovery by helping facilitate a network
based approach to scientific and technical discovery. To that end, Conservation X is creating
a digital makerspace for conservation-focused solutions. As individuals continue to develop
these solutions, there are still major challenges to consider including: stickiness, value
proposition, intellectual property, scaling and sustainability.
As Intel continues to support and work with the Maker community, they are increasingly
focused on how to connect makers to problems that they care about, in their communities.
For example, in some parts of Indonesia, women are responsible for washing the clothes in
their households. Because clothes are typically left to dry outside and there is frequent
rainfall, many women have to stay close to home in order to tend to the laundry. To address
this challenge, two high school girls decided to build a retractable clothing line, using
Arduino and a variety of sensors. When the device detects water, it automatically pulls the
clothing on the line into the home and returns the clothing back outside when the
environment is dry. Intel is supporting the development of Makershare, a platform which
aims to connect makers to one another and connect them to challenges that they could
help to solve.
Overcoming barriers that exist when deploying new solutions and
technologies in communities
One key way to overcome such barriers is to encourage people to play, tinker and break
technologies to help them develop the confidence to use, fix, maintain and build upon the
technologies moving forward. For Intel, there were cases in which access to equipment and
technology provided to classrooms was limited to only very specific projects by specific
people rather than making these tools easily accessible. For Field Ready, when the team
works in a particular community, they make sure that local individuals are trained and have
the skills to use and fix the technologies. These technologies then remain in the community,
even after Field Ready’s work is completed.
Researching, testing and iterating designs
The importance of having people on the ground, in the communities that will be using the
solution is critical. For Conservation X Labs, you need to gather feedback from users who
are in the field. Asking the right questions is critical to gaining the additional insights
required to improve the innovation and ensure it meets the needs of its users.
SESSION III: LOCAL INNOVATION
This session examined the importance of local, place-based innovation related to workforce
development, education and manufacturing. We heard from three different organizations
on this topic.
Gearbox strives to support innovative,
hardware based solutions to local problems
in Nairobi, Kenya. Built by leaders of the
Nairobi FabLab and the iHub, Gearbox is
Kenya’s first hardware accelerator and
mid-sized makerspace, dedicated to solving
the challenges facing Kenya’s hardware
entrepreneurs. Makers from Gearbox are
developing a variety of new solutions and
products from a Hybrid CNC machine for plasma cutting & routing and solar panels
embedded in roof tiles to a new approach for significantly reducing the cost of home
production locally. Dr. Kamau Gachigi, the Executive Director of Gearbox, has built Gearbox
into a resource for Kenyan entrepreneurs that has supported the development of a variety
of commercial prototypes designed and developed in East Africa. In coming years, they
plan to expand, bring on additional businesses to work out of Gearbox and develop their
prototypes there, continue Gearbox Contracting which provides design and engineering
support to start-ups and NGOs, and work more closely with other makerspaces in emerging
markets to replicate Gearbox's model.
Project H & Girls Garage
In 2008, Emily created Project H, a non-profit focused on creating opportunities for youth to
engage in designing and building in ways that inspire them to make a positive impact in
their communities. In Bertie County, NC, Project H had one year to re-engage students at
the local high school. Emily’s idea was to create an
opportunity for the students to work together to
design and build a public structure that would
benefit the community. Despite the challenges,
which included requiring every piece of the
farmers market to be hand cut and put into place
without the use of any power tools (prohibited
because students were under 18), the students
successfully built and designed a 2,000 sq ft
farmers market where local families could sell
their produce. More recently, Project H moved to
the Bay Area to continue school-based design/build work, and also opened Girls Garage in
Berkeley, a space specifically designed for girls ages 9-17. Through workshops, classes and
camps, the girls learn how to weld, work with wood and engage in digital design and
fabrication, working on projects to benefit their community, from tiny homes for the
homeless to furniture for the local women’s shelter.
Next Thing Co.
Next Thing Co. wants to get more people to build more diverse things. To do this, the
company built a $9 portable computer that is completely open source- CHIP. CHIP has
been used by more the 70K makers for nearly 200K different projects/products. One
example of this is Outernet, a project which enables individuals in remote parts of the world
to access critical content from the Internet such as educational resources and public health
information. CHIP is currently manufactured in Shenzhen, but Next Thing Co. founder, Dave
Rauchwerk believes production for this hardware could take place locally in Oakland, where
the company is based. The major challenge for Next Thing moving forward will be how to
scale to 1M units at $6 per unit. This would radically democratize the ability of any tinkerer
or maker to access a low cost computer.
Physical space matters
Having physical space is important when it comes to local innovation. This space needs to
be a place where makers have genuine ownership of the space in order for it to truly thrive.
Making it possible for users to say “these are OUR walls,” creates a sense of agency that is
necessary in order for a real community to form within the space.
Importance of providing the right tools at the right cost
A central point for many of the presenters was what products will be built when the barriers
to construction and design are lowered. Gearbox is seeing innovative and cost-efficient
products being developed by Kenyans for the Kenyan market now that prototyping and
early-stage manufacturing resource are available, and Next Thing Co. presented on a
number of products that use the C.H.I.P platform and are possible because of the low cost
A need to focus on scale
These approaches are innovative, low-cost, and effective, but many are not reaching global
markets beyond initial prototype testing. Additional investment, access to advanced
manufacturing resources, and better collaboration with larger-scale NGOs and the private
sector would be instrumental in expanding the reach of this community.
At the beginning of summit, we asked participants to suggest topics for 45-minute
unconference sessions that they would like to host in the afternoon. Participants voted for
their favorite three topics and six topics were selected. Below is a summary of ideas
discussed in each session.
What can a technologist do about climate change?
Hosted by Tito Jankowski, Impossible Labs (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Empower youth to see climate change as an opportunity for their own success
2. Technology innovation as an opportunity for climate change mitigation
3. Climate change as an educational and civic engagement opportunity
How Might We?
● How might we put climate change right in front of you? Local > Global
● How might we turn the Fremont Library into a EPA-grade air quality testing lab?
Fremont Library also has a seed lab.
● How might we get citizen scientists to check out air quality sensors at the Oakland
Tool Lending Library?
● Possible social innovation workshop at the Tech Museum of Innovation
● How might we use that experience in a pop-up fashion and take it to the streets?
● Think small, 3 week project
○ What is the smallest thing we could do to test a potential partnership?
○ How can we use data that The Tech already has to share it and ask people if
they want to be involved?
○ Connect with Galvanize or other learning groups in SF?
○ Schedule a site visit up to Manylabs for The Tech team
○ Interested in discussing further? Email Tito email@example.com
How can we help K-12 youth become a new generation of problem
solvers to address critical local and global issues?
Hosted by Trey Lathe & Jakki Spicer, Maker Ed and David Coronado, Lemelson Foundation
● Open-ended problem solving can be chaotic. One question is how we reconcile that
with more structured teaching approaches.
● On the other hand, open-ended problem solving may not be as unstructured as one
might think, particularly when you talk about the ways in which engineering and
design thinking have distinctive processes.
● Engaging teachers in pivoting their teaching styles and mindsets to embrace more
open-ended problem solving can take several years and is a more gradual process.
● Traditional learning for indigenous peoples is ‘making’ centered, but the words and
language are often different. Acknowledging that the maker-focused approach to
learning isn’t completely new and that there are older approaches to teaching that
can inform ‘maker education’ today can help to create a broader understanding of
how maker education builds on earlier approaches to learning and education.
How can we effectively include makerspaces and Fab Labs as part of
the broader approach to develop regional workforce skills in Africa?
Hosted by Saori Imaizumi, World Bank
● What is the impact of a makerspace and how can we measure impact in a way that
doesn’t kill the value of making in an educational context by forcing it to be
evaluated by traditional metrics that aren’t a good fit?
● How can we all collaborate, share lessons learned, push each other’s work forward?
● Capacity building on its own doesn’t work if there aren’t needs for those capacities
-the key is to properly identify needs and problems.
● People may not think of themselves as “engineers” but are incredibly technical and
● Local facilitators need to be outliers who have the right mindset.
● In discussing “development,” one should note that you can develop technologically,
but degrade culturally at the same time- this is something important to keep in mind.
● Think about ways to engage subject matter experts in a non-traditional fashion.
● Need for documenting activities and impact of Maker community as well as thinking
about the mechanism to share this knowledge widely for potentially scaling up.
Need for a central repository place.
The factory of the future builds its own workforce.
Hosted by Dave Rauchwerk & Ari Turrentine, Next Thing Co.
● Many people would build and sell products if they could, but they hit roadblocks to
get from prototype to small batch production.
● You now have countless people who want to build & create things, but can’t
because of barriers to entry. That is changing with more open source hardware &
● After someone identifies a key idea, how do we get the first thousand units out so
that they can begin to scale?
● How do we build a factory in Oakland (and not lose money)?
● How do we retool the workforce to work in the factories?
● Right skills now is a U.S. program that partners with local community colleges to
educate/train students for the skills needed by industry (eg. computer science,
robotics maintenance, etc.).
● Consider novel ways of financing the training that looks like equity.
● Need to have a test facility for makers- the goal would be to leverage the test facility
for not only their products, but also the other companies that are building products
off of theirs.
● How do you get, $10M for example, to start scaling such an operation. It would take
about 1 year to get the factory going within the U.S.
● We could approach the people who would benefit from having a local
manufacturing capability. Sell them a voucher that would essentially give them right
to the service. Essentially, you work to crowdfund the opportunity.
● Frame the investment in the Theory of Change - how can you build the case beyond
net present value and make the argument that X number of jobs, businesses, etc will
be created. Emphasize the social impact of the facility beyond just a monetary
● Hybrid value chain needed: Need to find other sources of capital including
In the age of open source and customization, how does
Hosted by Michal Kabatznik, Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM)
● TOMglobal currently has 200 prototypes, but what happens next? How can we bring
these solutions to market? How do we bring the world of making together with
● Consumers desire more niche, customized products.
● Individuals don’t necessarily know that they can go to a local makerspace to have a
● In Shenzhen there are tons of skill sets that are currently underutilized. X.factory is
providing a space where these skills can be utilized and they’re building a technical
community that can be connected with those who have specific needs. X.factory is in
the process of figuring out the economics behind this and plans to hold a conference
on open manufacturing later this year.
● When it comes to an open source solution or device, can one still make a profit? The
answer is probably yes. Not everyone wants to make their own products. Some
would rather pay someone to produce the item for them.
● Open-source and profit are not an either or. People can differentiate and tweak the
open-source product and build a business model around it. The other parts of the
business model (like customer service, service delivery) are also important.
● Copyright (copyleft) protections are very hard to protect across-borders- there are
critical questions around enforceability.
● When it comes to manufacturing, TOM is going to be facing questions around
whether solutions meet industry standards. One major challenge will be how to
address the fact that real functional standards are different across countries or
groups of people.
What goes into the humanitarian fab kit?
Hosted by David Ott, Global Humanitarian Lab
● A FabKit is a minimum resource kit of tools, digital resources, personnel resources
(such as a trainer/manager) that can be shipped as the base for which affected
communities can a) begin rebuilding/fixing after a crisis (or just in general), b) direct it
towards a specific need, and c) start their own makerspaces.
● A FabKit would be the minimum needed in order to evaluate and then jumpstart.
Each FabKit would grow into an individualized maker space that directly responds to
what that community has identified it needs out of it.
● Needs to be replicable in any community regardless of infrastructure; resources that
become unreliable in a crisis or are unavailable in the first place.
● Shipping containers would be an ideal physical space for these FabKits, but may not
be available physically or are logistically difficult/expensive to transport. Something
light, that can be broken down and built back up (pop-up)
● Want to keep these under $10K for the software, tools, and structure; but transport
and other logistics, maintenance and safety, management personnel, etc. add to
● Each makerspace will be part of a larger eco-system; each eco-system then should
have access to the broader network of maker spaces around the world. The
challenge is solidifying the network itself, and then making the network accessible to
● Measuring impact and evaluation- post-FabKit evaluation of need, evaluation of
impact, and monitoring of sustainability and effectiveness.
● FabKit being the bare minimum, subsequent challenge = acquisition of what the
community needs for it be impactful and scalable. What do they need, how will it be
part of the larger network, how will they use it? Each community will create its own
“custom” FabKit out of the minimum resource center. This is where human-centered
design and social innovation comes in. Contains 3 core elements - virtual, physical
● Volunteer engagement- you can’t focus entirely only on volunteers. They may be
available, but you need to find the right people for the job.
Resources shared during the event
The Tech for Global Good
The Tech for Global Good is a new initiative that builds upon 15 years of The Tech Awards,
which honors those whose innovations solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. The
Tech for Global Good initiative features year-round programming to honor current
innovators and inspire future ones. This will also include a permanent exhibit featuring five
different amazing makers every year that are changing the world.
The Institute for Transformative Technologies (ITT)
ITT developed a report of the 50 breakthroughs of critical scientific and technological
advances needed for sustainable global development. Collaborating with universities,
design and engineering organizations, ITT focuses on developing user-centered solutions.
One example are vermifiltration composting toilets which use worms to efficiently reduce
the amount of solids in a system. These toilets reduce fecal pathogen exposure and the risk
of diarrheal disease, which is a leading cause of childhood mortality in India and other
countries, where access to sewage infrastructure is not readily available.
Makers for Global Good Summit Agenda- May 19, 2017
9:00-9:30 Check-in and networking
9:30-9:35 Overview of the day- Steph Santoso & Kate Gage
9:35-9:40 Welcome- Leslie Zane, Director, The Tech for Global Good
9:40-9:45 Shashi Buluswar, CEO, Institute for Transformative Technologies
Discussion Sessions- 5 minute lightning talks and conversation
9:45-10:15 IMPACT INVENTING & OPEN COLLABORATION
■ David Coronado, Program Officer, Lemelson Foundation
■ Michal Kabatznik, Acting Director, TOM Global
■ Natalie Relich, Executive Director, OHorizons
Moderator: Steph Santoso
■ Dara Dotz, Co-Founder, Field Ready
■ Alex Dehgan, Founder, Conservation X Labs
■ Rajiv Mongia, Director of Experience and Outreach in the Modular
Innovation Group and Director of Maker Outreach in the Corporate
Affairs Group, Intel
Moderator: Sam Bloch
11:00-11:30 LOCAL INNOVATION
■ Kamau Gachigi, Executive Director, Gearbox
■ Dave Rauchwerk, Founder, NextThing
■ Emily Pilloton, Founder, Project H/ Girls’ Garage
Moderator: Kate Gage
12:30-1:30 Unconference sessions
1:30-1:40 Group discussion
1:40-1:45 Missions for Makers
1:45-1:55 Closing remarks
1:55-2:00 Wrap-up and next steps
ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED AT THE SUMMIT
Bullis Charter School
Burners Without Borders
Conservation X Labs
Defenders of the Water School
Defense Innovation Unit Experimental
Engineering for Change
Global Humanitarian Lab
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Institute for Transformative Technologies
International Development Innovation
Nation of Makers
Next Thing Co.
The Far Away Project
The Policy Lab
The Tech Museum of Innovation
Tikkun Olam Makers
University of Washington