(image from San Jose Mercury News coverage of San Mateo Maker Faire, May 18, 2013 LiPo Ching)

According to CNET’s Daniel Terdiman, the White house is to host a Maker Faire!!!

Following the most sacred of US national holidays, the Super Bowl, that celebrates… um, advertising and some sort of sport (sorry, no football fan here), it seems only appropriate to do my part to promote the celebration of innovation that is Maker Faire.  Whimsical and fun, educational and just plain awesome… engineering and art… I don’t know how much more of a celebration of both left and right brain application there can be!

While I have taught critical thinking to undergraduate students, it is not just abstract reasoning skills that are lacking in college students (and the population at large), but also the curiosity that goes hand in hand with skepticism.  As Americans we tend to over-obsess with testing and quantitative measurements that seem to miss that the objective measure of cognitive development does not necessarily yield understanding.  The current generation of students are good at regurgitating information, but demonstrate very little wisdom to apply knowledge in a meaningful way… so good at doing what they are told, but seriously lacking in the ability to analyze and take action.

However, Maker Faire encourages curiosity, rewards understanding, and celebrates creativity.

Organizations aiming to maintain competitive advantages should encourage a culture that embraces the ‘hacks’ that are Maker Faire.  The organization may find its next innovation or product idea develops as a result of something unique and unexpected from tinkering… be it a cupcake car, an electric giraffe (see above), or a marshmallow gun that impressed president Obama… as Joey Hudy says, “Don’t Be Bored, Make Something.”

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