Saturday, January 25, 2014

How projects nights are enablers for innovation

Project nights

Do you attend project nights organized by your local maker group, hackerspace, python user group, raspberry pi user group or other similar tech meet?

No? Why not, is it because there are none? Suggest it, then. Or perhaps it is because you do not have anything to present, or do not need help with any projects. Having said that...


Is not inventing something brand new from scratch. It's about standing on the shoulder of giants (a true, if somewhat overused metaphor). Taking many different things and bringing them together into a coherent entity, either a finished good, a software, a consumable or a building block for something else, in a new, innovative way.

It is not easy to achieve that. Are you familiar with all the bleeding and leading edge stuff happening in the tech space, in you area of expertise? Outside your area of expertise?

By attending project nights, and exchanging with people with different backgrounds and fields of expertise, the probability is much higher that you will come up with a solution, or even a new idea. But, more than that, it's at a personal level that you may benefit...

Personal scale innovation

While we all (well, a majority) would like to create the next big thing that will revolutionize the well being of mankind, truth is, what is more likely is to innovate at a personal level, household level or local community level. And your innovation or discussion may trigger another one, that is, if you are involved in some way in your community.

As an example, PYPTUG had a recent project night. One project was exploring the python picamera module. What started as that ended up creating two new projects, one based on Pi NoIR, the Raspberry Pi camera with no IR, as a way to detect heat loss (we'll see how well that works), and the other, as a helper to solder SMD devices.

Each month, there are many such moments of personal scale innovation. Perhaps not iPhone or Pebble (or Raspberry Pi) worldwide game changing innovation, but personal and local scale innovation.


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