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Welcome to our community. Now let’s learn and enjoy!😬

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

Thanks to all for joining our “Greater Spaces and Places” community. Some of you joined prior to the official launch of the report on September 11th. However, many of you have joined since. In either case, we are pleased to connect and hope you’ll be a regular participant and contributor to our “learning community.”

The report launch was a great success and the coverage has been fantastic. That’s very satisfying following a year-long research effort that was filled with exhilarating discoveries and all of the expected and unexpected challenges that are normally associated with this kind of endeavor. There’re certainly rewards associated with exploring unique combinations of research methodology and transdisciplinary teams; but, there are also unique challenges. Working with researchers from finance, MIS, computer science, hospitality, management, and other disciplines ensures a diversity of scientific philosophy and barriers of language and perspective. On the other hand, it also brings an opportunity of research innovation when properly facilitated. I applaud this great team for sticking together, participating in weekly stand-up calls, checking egos, and trusting the process.

I’m also grateful for the support of the Open Works family. As a 35 year veteran of higher education, we couldn’t hope for a better partner and welcoming research field. They exemplify a culture implied by their name and are truly committed to their mission of “equitable access to tools” for as many as possible. As a result of their impact, I’m now committed to the study of great places like Open Works for the remainder of my academic career.

PNC Bank can’t be left out when it comes to accolades because they made the whole project possible. They too have been a supportive partner for now a third year which demonstrates their commitment to community-centric economic inclusion and reach. The PNC-Open Works-Coppin Collaborative won the 2017 GBC Bridging the Gap Award for Strategic Partnerships and the “Turning Maker Spaces Into Greater Places” report is the culmination of another successful years. Thank you PNC.

The 2019-2020 project is be no less exciting. The overwhelming theme of “community” identified in the “Greater Spaces and Places” project led us to explore the development of “trust frameworks” witin makerspaces, as well as between makerspaces and external stakeholders. I love the quote by Nurullah Gur that declares “Trust is one of the fundamental factors that affect the wealth of nations” because without trust the relational health required to simply work together is diminished. This is particularly true when considering communities that have demonstrated historic distrust of institutions, sometimes because of historic institutional abuses. This is in addition to the erosion that occurs within makerspaces, and other organizations, as they grow and relationships become more administratively constrained and less personal can jeopardize the opportunities such projects represent. We believe the findings and advances in this area will be groundbreaking and have implications for application in divergent cultural settings such as rural and urban communities. New collaborative approaches to common problems can emerge as trust is developed through transparency and cultural intelligence.

This week I’m in Kalamata, Greece presenting the first paper regarding “Trust Frameworks for Facilitating Socioeconomic Growth and Advancement” at the “European Conference for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” We welcome your feedback and engagement regarding the “Greater Spaces and Places“ report and hope you will stay engaged for the new discoveries regarding trust and real economic impact.

Oh yes! And I promise most of my posts won’t be quite this long and I also promise not to flood your inbox. Let’s “keep this train moving.”


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