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Homework assignment

  1. Come up with a mission statement for this site/tool
  2. Come up with an ideal set of capabilities that our tool should offer—the underlying requirement for the system
  3. Come up with a brief business/money generation scheme associate with the tool, that is, how do we make money? What is the Revenue aspect of the plan?

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  • Mission statement:
  • Capabilities of tool:
  • Business generation:


to be improved over time

  • Mission statement:
    • Develop, implement and run a system (that includes f2f and online, synchronous and asynchronous elements) in order to
      • exchange experience about achieving sustainability at individual labs
      • add an international distribution mechanism to individual labs business models to make (the individual lab’s) own business international
      • leverage the network's capacities, making the skills and knowledge of individual labs (and eventually individual lab users) available globally as sources of knowledge and production
    • This system relates to the following points:
      • Industrial [r]evolution -- reinventing manufacturing, i.e. creating a "parallel universe" (albeit temporal) of digital (and personal or maybe: low-fi, or nearby) manufacturing complementing the global make industry.
      • Giving back relevance to "making".
      • Enable "people" to be makers again -- as an essential local resource in any community (resilience).
      • Linking up those making communities across the globe. -- Question: is this by self-declaration or by accreditation
  • Capabilities of tool:
    • directory of capabilities, needs to be "certified" in some way (probably fab central style) -- on the level of labs and individuals
    • internal "ask for help" system which includes
      1. asking questions (including reward system, both in terms of money/micropayments and karma),
      2. commenting / clarifying questions,
      3. providing answers/solutions,
      4. discussion of answers/solutions,
      5. rating of answers and questions (which could be accumulated into a community wide "karma" system to supplement the accreditation mechanism)
    • "sub-contracting" or "bidding" or "out-sourcing" or "tendering" system (public?)
  • Business generation:
    • freemium model for directory entry
    • micro payments in "ask for help" system
    • tendering system might want to pay overheads to global network
    • long tail revenue system for local production of "(almost) anything"

--trox [at] fabfolk [.] com 21:38, 10 July 2010 (UTC) --trox [at] fabfolk [.] com 21:05, 18 July 2010 (UTC) --trox [at] fabfolk [.] com 18:37, 26 July 2010 (UTC)


  • Mission statement: To provide a single-point gateway to the global Fab Lab network and access to its wealth of expertise and knowledge.
  • Capabilities of tool:
    • Allow users to post questions which can be easily accessed and answered by the entire network
    • To allow Fab Labs to share best practice - e.g. use of equipment, materials, etc - in a tutorial based format
    • A searchable database of Fab Lab expertise
    • A method for Fab Lab users to contribute towards Fab Lab projects which can be described online - similar to open-source software development
    • A from of E-commerce which enables agreement of fees for assistance and also the payment and receipt of such fees
  • Business generation:
    • Register of Fab Labs avaiable for single product fabrication or low volume production - i.e. Ponoko or 100k Garages
    • Fab Labs and Fab Lab commercial users paying for other Fab Lab expertise by the hour/day
    • Fab Labs collaborating on problems posed on such websites as Innovation Exchange or Brainrack and sharing financial rewards


As a starting point, it is instructive to identify and classify the multiple goals being pursued within the Fab ecosystem, and group them into what are likely independent enterprises that are well suited to pursue the different goals. Such enterprises will share in the ecosystem values (as defined in the Fab Charter), as they pursue independent missions. In addition, the enterprises would be financially linked by a series of licensing and partnership agreements. We see the FabLab goals coalescing into the following groupings:

* Support and grow the network of FabLabs worldwide, relying primarily on local resources and bootstrapping at the local Lab level.
* Organize and disseminate knowledge of personal fabrication and FabLabs.
* Support the creation of tools to advance the interoperability of personal fabrication gear.
* Support the creation of FabLabs in the developing world with an emphasis on securing  government, educational and NGO grant-level funding to form new labs.
* Create revenue sources from services delivered by Labs that help FabLabs to be self-sustaining. 
* Labs and the community need products and services to get started and for maintenance purposes.  More importantly, the FabLab network and community as a whole should work to mature the infrastructure of the technology for the sake of ease of use, interoperability and similar goals that increase the adoption rate and broaden the possibilities.
* Support and accelerate the creation of entrepreneurial enterprises based on ideas and products created in Labs.

The extensive network of FabLabs, the worldwide Fab ecosystem, and the creativity unleashed through individuals at local labs are collectively incredibly fertile ground for launching Fab-centric businesses. We seek business models that leverage and are a natural companion to the worldwide network of FabLabs. Based on the goals above, there are three categories of businesses that meet our requirements for a sustainable businesses:

1) The Enabler business model Opportunities for launching / installing new Labs or providing maintenance, supply chain or similarly positioned services for existing Labs. Products or services that provide information or tools throughout the Lab network also fall under the Enabler heading. These businesses will help propel the growth of the Lab network and increase the level of consistency across sites.

2) The Incubator business model Provide infrastructure for entrepreneurs to turn their FabLab creations into sustainable businesses. The incubator provides back-office infrastructure, promotion & marketing, seed capital, the leverage of the FabLab network and other venture infrastructure to enable the entrepreneur to focus on her areas of expertise.

3) The Replicated / Network business model Provide a product, service or curriculum that operates by utilizing the infrastructure, staff and expertise of a local Fab Lab. Such opportunities can be replicated, sold by and executed at many (or all) local Labs, with sustainable revenue at each location. The leverage of all Labs in the network simultaneously promoting and delivering the business creates strength and reach for the brand.

In examining the Replicated model further, we see the following assets that can be leveraged at the local Lab level and are the basis for our possible businesses:

* People that are educators, engineers, tinkerers, evangelists, early adopters and above all, creators.
* Fabrication gear (bits & atoms), with some degree of uniformity
* Interoperability and digital control of the fabrication gear
* Expertise in using the equipment
* Platform for education
* Prototyping and short run manufacturing capability

We are focused on building a tool or Web site that support the FabLab community and then considering a business plan to monetize the tool or site.

Examples include:

* Providing information, such as regarding the network, equipment, or proceeses.
* Curriculum for instruction
* Software to enable or improve process and interoperability
* Software to simulate machine operations