Idea and purpose
A Makeathon brings together people from different backgrounds to collaborate on a particular project for a short period of time. By providing a shared space and tools, a Makeathon encourages people to tinker, discuss, explore, and create new ideas and paths. Such a settings seeks to join people, methods and tools in groups that would normally not work together – due to their affiliation with different firms or occupations.
A Makeathon is an event that requires thorough preparation and, ideally, an external expert as a moderator. If private companies seek to invite competitors, it requires a transparent frame and a clear agreement about the subsequent usage of developed ideas and products. Also, it is helpful to hold such an event in a place that encourages people to work creatively and to break with routinized frames of action.
Two variants of Makethons can be distinguished: internal and external. Internal Makeathons happen, for instance, within the boundaries of a company but link different departments or working groups. An external Makeathon brings together people from different organizations.
Temporal and spatial structure
Ideally, a Makeathon runs for at least one or a couple of days and takes place in a separate space that was booked or prepared for the purpose of the event. In this manner, a Makeathon wants to decouple from daily practices for a limited period of time.
A Makeathon requires thorough preparation. Tasks and small projects must be specified in advance. During the Makeathon, small interdisciplinary teams collaborate and can develop ideas and products without a tight framework. It is recommended to take extensive notes about the work of different groups and to put them together in a report.
The Technical University of Munich organized a Makeathon for companies, stakeholders and prospective users in the field of prosthetics around the topic of “3D Printing”. The event joined actors from 3D printing startups, orthopedists, manufacturers, and users to explore possible applications of 3D printing.