Jenny Young and the story of Brooklyn Robot Foundry

Education Maker Faire Robotics
Jenny Young with Brooklyn Robot Foundry

“I’m not selling kits; I’m selling a service.”

Jenny Young is a mechanical engineer who founded Brooklyn Robot Factory thirteen years ago to bring hands-on learning experiences to kids in schools and afterschool programs. Her company has evolved from operating brick-and-mortar locations into a franchise business where they train and equip others to provide hands-on classes in schools and afterschool sites. Brooklyn Robot Foundry provides curriculum and kits in addition to training, and her franchisees go out into the community to find places where they can connect kids and robot kits. Jenny says: “I’m not selling kits; I’m selling a service.”

A child at Brooklyn Robot Foundry. All photos from Brooklyn Robot Foundry.


I’m here with Jenny Young of the Brooklyn Robot Foundry. 

I remember the Brooklyn Robot Foundry at an early Maker Faire in New York City. Welcome Jenny. Glad to have you on the podcast.

Jenny: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited. I feel like I’m talking to a huge celebrity. I’m nervous to be here. 

Dale: Don’t go there. Tell me tell me about your background first before we go into what you do. Where do you come from? And tell us about what your interests are.

Growing Up in a Maker Family

Jenny: Sure. Absolutely. I grew up in Ohio, outside a little tiny town outside of Cleveland. And I grew up in a way that I now recognize is a little bit unique. Both of my parents are makers. My father is a mechanical engineer. I went and got my mechanical engineering degree and my mom is just like really good with her hands and we were always crafting and creating things and so we didn’t watch a lot of television growing up, but my dad has a machine shop. He has a basement. We were always just taking things apart and putting them back together. 

When I went to college, I went to college to be a mechanical engineer. I went to Purdue University in Indiana and I needed to pay for college. So I was working in the student machine shop. So my dad has like big lathes and mills and big heavy machinery.

And so a way to make some money in college was to work in this machine shop. And that was the first time that I realized, I’m working with all these other engineering students, training them how to use these machines. And I realized, Oh. These kids have great grades and they really know what they’re doing and they’re excelling in their calculus and physics class, but they don’t actually know how to put something together.

And so they were designing these things that really were not manufacturable. And so it was the first time where I was realizing, oh, this way that I was raised actually made me into a really great maker and a really great creator because I’m used to using my hands and I’m used to producing things.

And also it made me not afraid to fail. And one of the things that you see a lot in engineering students is this idea of perfection and not wanting to get the wrong answer. And anybody who is a maker knows that anytime you make something, it never works the first time. Part of the making process is failing and laughing at the failure.

Going and finding a new way to put the thing together and then trying again and then knowing it probably will fail again. That was really eye opening for me. Even going back to my childhood, those are discussions that we would have at our dinner table. My whole family makes things. My brother is a toy designer. So when we were sitting at the dining room table at our family dinner, people would talk about what did you make today? And then what failed and we would all laugh at each other and maybe we’d make fun of each other a little bit, but it was always just this very open conversation about failure.

Starting an education business

So I went to school, I got my mechanical engineering degree. I went into the workforce through different trials. I ended up in New York City. And I was working for an education technology startup. Basically what this company did is– remember those Scantron sheets where you fill in the bubble, the right or wrong answer?

That’s what it was doing. It was giving kids these Scantron sheets. And it was where I realized that’s a really unfun way to learn. Nobody wants to fill in a Scantron sheet. I don’t really want to have a right or wrong answer. It’s not inspiring. 

And so that was the reason why I started the business is I wanted to give kids that idea that creating and making is really fun. It’s okay to fail. It’s a really freeing and interesting way to learn. It also just makes learning not so boring. 

That’s what I think is probably the most important thing that we do is we try to inspire kids to be okay to fail and also recognize engineering is like wickedly fun.

So that’s what our goal is in the business.

Dale: I first ran into you at Maker Faire, was it in 2010 or so, or 11 and you’d set up a booth. I remember it was orange. Is that still a part of your color scheme?

Jenny: It is.

Dale: So how did you get to there? told me earlier you debuted at Maker Faire, so you had to get things ready. What were you ready for?

Jenny: We didn’t know. Yeah, so we actually launched the business at Maker Faire, the very first Maker Faire in New York City at the Hall of Science. And so we went there, we had never had a class for any kids before. We just had this concept of, you know what, let’s build things with kids and allow them to learn that way.

We had a booth. Somebody was kind and upgraded our booth. So we actually had this really cool, like dome. We were right in the you would see us right when you walked in. So it was the first thing that people would see. And we had this wind tunnel and we had these little robots and we said, you know what, let’s have a sign up that people can sign up for classes after Maker Faire and come to our space. 

We were operating out of the front of a machine shop that I was a member of, and they had a gallery space in the front. And they said, sure, Jenny, you can throw some kid classes in there if you want.

I don’t remember exactly, but we probably had 12 classes over maybe a month period. And we, we made a registration system and a website and we said, okay, let’s see if anybody signs up. And it was incredible because by the end of Maker Faire. All of those classes were completely filled and there was a waitlist. We were grabbing people’s information and adding names to a contact list and we got just pages and pages of people who are interested.

So I just want to say thanks so much, Dale, because that was the time where we realized, oh, there are other people that think this is cool and want their kids to try this and want their kids to play with their hands and create things. And it really gave us the confidence to recognize that this is a good business model and something that people want.

So I just want to say thank you.

Dale: I’m very satisfied to hear that, of course. And I think one of the things Maker Faire did was give people a chance to try out an idea.

Offering Hands-on Classes for Kids

Dale: Initially you focused on classes, you were advertising classes or workshops, I don’t know how you call it there. And these are after school or on weekends, right? And you said you filled them up at Maker Faire. So you had people that wanted to do this in Brooklyn.

Jenny: Exactly. The very first thing we did was classes on the weekend because we didn’t know what we were doing. And so everyone signed up and then the weekends were filled and then people said, hey, do a birthday party for me. I want my kids to build it, do it, do a robot party.

So then we introduced birthday parties. Then school said, hey, we want you to come in and be part of our afterschool program. We do that. We also do corporate team building events. Adults came and said, Hey, this is really fun, I want to do it. And we offer team building events.

Dale: So you eventually you moved to your own space, right?

Jenny: That’s right. We were always running within other people’s organizations, what we call our mobile model. But then we also got a brick and mortar location in Brooklyn. And then over the years we got additional brick and mortar locations where kids would come to us to build robots. 

Dale: Was there any secret to picking a location? You live in a high rent area. First of all, space is not widely available. And then accessible space for kids and parents to feel comfortable coming in. I guess all those are issues.

Jenny: Yeah, and I would have to say we have pivoted away from having a brick and mortar location for that precise reason, which is commercial real estate in New York City is so expensive that it really isn’t accessible to small business owners. It makes it really hard.

Leases are set up in a way where it’s not really advantageous for small business owners. But the way we got this space was so funny, and it actually is all related to the maker movement. I was in the process of getting married, and for our wedding invitations, we made these little tiny hand-bound books.

And I broke my sewing machine. It’s a little paper book, and you sew up the spine, and that that’s what you do with a sewing machine. And my sewing machine broke. And I needed to get these things out because it was time. And so I found a place that rented sewing machines by the hour.

My friend Patty was running this. I went in and I sewed up all my wedding invitations. I said, Hey, this is a really cool space. What is this? And she said, Oh, we actually want to sublet a portion of it to somebody. Do you want it? It was this really beautiful thing where we split the space. She sewed in the back and I did robot building in the front. And then I don’t quite know how long it was, but maybe about a year it ended up, she was like, okay, I’m done. I’m going to go somewhere else with my sewing machines. Do you want to take over the whole space? So it was this really nice, like piecemeal where we didn’t have to worry about a 10 year lease and all of these good guy guarantees and personal guarantees, and we could just chunk it into small digestible bits before having to really commit to something more long 

Dale: And what’s the space look like inside? 

Jenny: Oh, it was so crazy. It was so beautiful. It was like probably 12 foot ceilings. It was in a part of Brooklyn that now is like more than up and coming, but at that point it was like on the border of up and coming.

So it was a little more industrial feel. You walked in, huge like 12 foot ceilings, big cinder block walls; we had gray, very industrial linoleum floors so that we could mop it up if the kids did something messy, which of course we made them do messy things. And so it was just one big open room. 

Dale: Table, long tables? 

Jenny: A good question. You can really build these things anywhere you want. It doesn’t have to be anything special, but we did six foot long tables and then, three to four kids on these little stools on the side. Trying to find a chair that a child will want to sit in while they’re building is actually fun.

The Perfect Chair

Dale: I actually think that’s one of the basic elements of a school makerspace is, one is that it’s a shared table, that you’re not on your own space, and then, a kind of seating that gets them more upright than slouching back. You want to be forward, you want to be leaning into your project and even be able to maybe, I always thought stools work pretty interestingly, because you were up a little higher and, but you could never relax back and just sit.

Jenny: Oh my goodness, I’ve never talked to another human about this before. I have such strong feelings about the chair. I don’t have one here I thought I was going to show it to you. 

The stools are in the background, and it’s usually a good sign that kids aren’t sitting in them.

The most perfect chair is a little tiny metal stool with no back so that you can’t lean back, but also so that when you’re talking to other kids you can spin your body all around and be able to interact with your environment. Also, as you’re building a robot on your table, sometimes it moves on the ground and you want to spin around and quickly put it on the ground, so and our chairs are a little bit slippery, but not too slippery because you don’t want the kids falling off, but you want it to slide your butt around enough that you can freely move. Also needs to be heavy enough that a kid can’t tip it over, but not too heavy that you can’t move it, so I’ll show you my stool. 

Dale: It’s subtle, but it’s a really nice and important point.

Hiring people to lead classes

Dale: Who taught the classes?

Jenny: We hired teachers. I taught the classes. I don’t teach the classes anymore because it’s now too big. But how do I find my teachers? You want to know that?

Dale: Maybe that, but that was a problem to solve anyway. You’ve got a bunch of kids coming in, and you may or may not be able to find teachers that can build robots with kids or have done that before. So did you find experienced people or did you find inexperienced people and have to train them?

Jenny: I love that. Yeah, this is such a good question. And we’ve been in business for 13 years. So we think a lot about, like, how do you find the best teacher? And most of our teachers have never done anything with robotics before, but they really like children. And they are really good at improvising, which is really important.

And they’re good with their hands, but they might be bakers. They might be musicians. They might be actors, but somebody who is used to like the physicality of using your fingers to build stuff. We actually have this very unique and maybe slightly strange interview process that we do, where we make them build, we interrupt them as they’re building, we make them quickly do things on the fly and see how they interact with the challenges that we’re giving.

We ask them really strange and goofy questions to see if they’re going to laugh. We have a really nice way of vetting the person and by the time we’re done with the interview, it’s like about an hour and a half, two hour interview. We have a pretty good idea if they’re going to excel in the space.

What’s the Buzz?

Like a typical classroom teacher may or may not do well at our location because we intentionally want the room to have like a buzz to it. It should be louder than a classroom. Children should be free to move when they want to move. People are going to get real excited when something happens and they might make a little woohoo noise, and we want them all to be like, whooping, whatever. 

Dale: When I’ve been in a school makerspace where kids are like, that buzz is, it tells you everything, that the kids are engaged, and for some reason I’ve found traditional teachers and principals and others they don’t hear that buzz too often in school.

So it they think what’s going to happen in makerspace is chaos, that it’s all going to spiral out of control. But when you get kids engaged in stuff and they’re just talking across the table to each other and this and that, you get that buzz and it really is a remarkable thing that, almost as a leader, you could sit back and say, do I hear that thing? Things are going well. 

Jenny: Oh, I agree. I totally agree. It also means they’re talking to each other. If you give them the space. We get a lot of kids that are neurodiverse kids with ADHD who move their bodies. They have a lot of ideas. They might be a little bit louder. Not, not obviously everybody, but when you give that type of personality, the space to be free and creative, it is going to be noisier.

But they’re also going to be talking to each other and giving each other ideas and doing critiques of each other’s projects and saying, hey, this thing isn’t working for me. How can I do it better? Yeah, I agree. That buzz is really important. It means it’s working.

Turning into a franchise business

Dale: So tell me, what was the next evolution of your business from there?

Jenny: Okay. So we were in multiple locations throughout New York city. We’re in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. And then I started to realize really back to the, your point of getting a commercial space is that it’s really expensive. It’s a lot of like personal liability cause you have to basically guarantee these long tenure leases.

And so I said, you know what? I wonder if there is a different way to expand this business that isn’t so reliant on me as a person. I don’t actually even know how I found out about it, but I started to investigate this idea of franchising the business. So I’m a mechanical engineer and I really like processes. I really like systems. It’s just like my jam. It’s like what I really enjoy. And when I learned about franchising, I learned, oh, the thing that works well in franchising is a person who likes to write operations manuals and likes to write down all their systems and their processes for stuff.

And I’m like, oh, raise my hand, that’s me. We were about to franchise a business and we had lawyers and doing all the paperwork and that was February of 2020. And so then obviously we didn’t franchise right then. Which is a bummer. And so then, we had to make our way through the pandemic.

We use the PPP money during the pandemic to really do a lot more research and development and really develop our curriculum and develop our designs and develop our robots. That was actually really helpful when we came out of it and decided to really be able to start franchising the business.

The way that the business grows is we award to individuals who want to own their own small business the rights to use our intellectual property. They get to purchase the curriculum for us. They purchase the materials and the parts from us. They purchase all of the pedagogy. We train them on how to have their own robot building company in their own town, in their own territory, in their own city. And it’s been really exciting because we now have five franchise owners, really throughout the Northeast with more coming down the pipeline.

Dale: These are people that have physical space like you used to have?

Jenny: It’s totally a mobile model. The way it works, you’ll have a physical space where you’re keeping your inventory and where you’re training your employees and where you’re sitting down and doing your office work. But the model is that you go into other people’s organizations and you push robotics into their programs.

So a principal from a school might bring us in during the school day and we would augment the science class. Afterschool program would bring us in and we would do robotics afterschool programs at a school. We push into daycare centers. The franchise owners will be running their own week-long summer programs where they’ll be renting a space for just the summer and the kids will come to them for a week.

And then you also push into other camps, summer camps that want to have robotics for a day or whatnot. And you do birthday parties at people’s houses. It’s a lower cost of entry into a business and you don’t have so much fixed overhead that you have to deal with.

Dale: Yeah, so no storefront. What are the people like that are franchisees so far? How would you describe them? Are they former teachers? 

Jenny: That’s so interesting. They’re so different. Every single one of them is completely different. Let me see. Are there any teachers? One person who just signed has had, I don’t know if she actually has a teaching background, but she used to run like a daycare center, a family center. Everyone else is coming from very different backgrounds.

So we have two people are coming from a finance background, marketing. We do have a process engineer. I didn’t think we would get engineers, but she was our first franchise. And we have another person who was in software. All over the place. Another person who worked for IBM as a data analyst.

The one thing that everybody has in common is that they’re very much about creating a community. And what we call like high societals. So people that really care about making connections and creating a community space for their community. So that’s really what everybody is similar at.

The other thing is they all seem to like to camp. So I think there’s something about camping and robots that actually go together. I think it’s actually maybe the physicality of pitching a tent and then also using your hands to have a screwdriver and build a robot. But I don’t know if that trend will last forever, but that’s the trend we see so far.

Empowering Kids

Dale: So the more you’re doing R&D and trying to in a sense, crack the code for what do these leaders need, what do the kids need, and that’s what I’m primarily interested in, is what turns a kid on, what gets them to do this. And I think one of the challenges of after school programming in general, is that kids get turned on for a little time and then there’s no continuity.

Like they can’t progress in the way that, they progress in sports, and they, they go to the next level and blah, blah, blah. And they get lots of time to do it. I think sometimes the way that parents think about it is, I’m dropping my kid off for 90 minutes or whatever.

And, next week they’re doing track and field. It’s something completely different. So how do you deal with that? How do you get, in a sense, how do you hook them?

Jenny: How do you hook them? I think you hook them through empowerment. I think you hook them through them feeling like they can solve problems and that they are capable of creating the thing that is in their mind and in the physical world. So the minute that you give somebody the skills to make their imagination become real, it doesn’t hook everybody, but it hooks a lot of them, right?

Dale: That to me is what making is to take something from your imagination and make it real. And people ask me then, what do you define? Is this the maker? Is this maker? It doesn’t matter. Does it involve your imagination? And do you have to make something real physical at the, or even digital, out of that thought that you had and that process of turning it into that final thing is what making really is.

Jenny: You and I are really on the same page on that. That’s what I think it is as well. And when people say, is your goal to get all these kids to be engineers? And it’s no. My goal is to let them feel empowered in their own intelligence and then be able to do something with it. My goal is that I don’t want kids to just be consumers of objects.

I want them to be able to understand how it works. I want it to be demystified. And I want them to, if they decide, I don’t like that, I want it to make it something else. I want them to know that they have those skills. So for me, I think that is the hook. It’s not going to be the hook for every kid.

Some kids are not going to like it and that’s okay. If the world was filled with the same types of people, what a boring world this would be. But we definitely have children. We have this one student that joined at the start of the program at age seven and he is now in college. Right before he went to college he was at one of our teachers and helped develop the curriculum for what we call our inventors program, which is where the kids really make up their own projects.

I wrote his letter of recommendation for college and his letter that for his college application was all about what Brooklyn Robot Foundry had done for him and how it had shaped his thought process and made him who he was. So I would say that’s my biggest success story, like this child who was definitely like a very free thinker and didn’t really follow the rules that anybody was giving him, then really created his own path and now he’s going to college for computer science.

Jenny: And that’s it.

Dale: One last thing on your designing curriculum and robots. How do you deal with different skill levels and age levels and interest levels? 

Jenny: You need some like Venn diagram of here’s where it is. And here’s where it all crosses over. I wish I could show your viewers what one of our projects looks like? Maybe I can send you a picture and you could link to it. But our projects are very open ended. So if you were to look at, like a Lego robotics when you’re done, that thing is always going to pretty much look like the project that they told you that you’re going to make.

Okay. We very much intentionally create projects that are very open ended and have the ability to be made more challenging. The teacher gets trained on how to do this, how to make the projects more challenging, and how to make them easier, and we have tricks. If the child doesn’t have as good fine motor skills, or maybe doesn’t have the attention span. We train our teachers on how to deal with that, but the white space on our projects is vast, and the way in which you can put these projects together is also vast, so that the child can really morph it and change it and make it into the thing that they want it to look like. So if we would have a project where maybe our example would look like, I don’t know, a frog if you were to come to our class and look at what all the projects look like at the end, like there probably will be no frogs there and they will all look completely different.

It’ll look like exactly whatever it is in that kid’s imagination. And some of them might even physically look not just from a decoration standpoint look different, but they might actually be put together slightly different which is amazing. And so that allows you this free form thinking.

It gives you that additional empowerment because now the kid is that’s my robot. I made it to look like that. And now feeling connected to it. But it also gives you a larger span of kids. And we also think about, how can you diversify the STEM field? I’m a female and there aren’t a ton of females, especially as mechanical engineers.

But not just females, neurodiverse individuals, people that maybe don’t do particularly well in a standard classroom. For me, having these more open ended projects is the thing that really levels that playing field where it allows everybody to create the thing that they want and then be able to be connected to it.

Dale: This is really different than EdTech and what it’s become, which is often like an un- intermediated experience. It’s just staring at an iPad. and clicking on buttons. And to me, it’s worsened what was a textbook experience, not improved on it. And I think that just some different components, obviously the hands on thing is not just their fingers hitting buttons, but there’s a real, real different sense of using their hands and bodies.

But the role of an adult in actually being present and being with them, I think is really important. I think some of the theorists thought of computers as stuff that would just teach kids without any adults around them, right? It would just, happen magically that they could explore everything they wanted to. And people don’t work that way.

Like for you as your father giving you encouragement to try things and then your whole family doing that and creating a culture within a family to do that, all that stuff, you’d like to believe, that’s the magic. You don’t want to remove that. You want to figure out how to create that.

Jenny: If you like, imagine in your brain, the teacher that was the one that is still there and really had the biggest influence on you. It’s not the teacher that just made you read the book. I know, I remember my high school social studies teacher, and we would just walk, we’ll go around the room and do a round robin on the textbook.

That’s not learning. It’s like the teacher that still sticks with you is the one that allowed you to have your imagination. It’s the one where you could ask that person a question. And also, it’s the one that wasn’t afraid to say, I don’t know, let’s see if we can figure this out together, right?

And you can’t get that from a computer. 

Dale: And it was also sometimes the librarian who didn’t answer your question but said how would we answer that question? What sources are available to us to answer that question?

Jenny: Wow, isn’t that cute that the librarian is the one that you brought up with all of your book background too. I guess that totally makes sense, Dale. Yeah, but I do think too. It’s like we are living in a world where we are getting less people to people interactions, right? And so I think that is a big benefit of a class like what we do, where the kids are sitting next to each other. They’re interacting with each other. They’re talking about the thing that they’re building. They’re giving thoughts and advice to each other. You have this and then there’s this facilitator in the room of the teacher that is there to help the children explore and giving the kids the okay that they can use their own mind to question things and dive into things deeper.

That’s like the magic of teaching. I think that’s the most important thing that, with my ed tech background as well didn’t have that. We were really focusing on right and wrong answers. 

Dale: Always say is so much focused on content. Subject matter. And school continues to be that way. Not so much on process or experimentation, all this and it particularly bothers me around science because it’s sort of saying science is just a mastery of knowledge in an area. You don’t do science, but you should exactly do science,

Jenny: But the problem with that is that you will never do anything cool then, right? The way that we get innovation is by doing sometimes dumb shit that you have, I’m sorry dumb stuff that you, that maybe isn’t going to work. But that is where innovation happens. And if you are just being taught to learn the content, where is the creativity?

Like, where is the outside of the box thinking? Entrepreneurs do not do things the way other people do it.

Dale: No. And I always thought we ought to teach science by starting with things we don’t know and say, why don’t we know this? This is so interesting. Nobody’s figured this out. We may not figure it out either, but that tells you something about science, rather than 400 years ago, someone figured this out, and we’ve been riding on it for a long time. 

So where are you today? So you’ve got about eight franchises. And do you think you’re going to grow that to many more? 

Jenny: I do. That’s the goal. We have this research and development center in Brooklyn where we’re testing out the robots. We do all the production. We do all the assembly of kits. And then we are empowering this next generation of business owners to own their own robot foundry. And the idea is that it will be throughout the United States. 

Dale: Do they call it the Rochester? 

Jenny: it’s still Brooklyn. It’s still Brooklyn because Brooklyn has a thing. You know that you had Maker Faire in New York City, but like Brooklyn has a brand. And so we’re really it’s artisanal, it’s like makers, it’s like hands on. So we’re leveraging the word Brooklyn.

So I just want to give you one little anecdote, and this is what makes me feel like, oh, this is really wonderful. So our Philadelphia franchise owners are hopefully going to work with the Philadelphia public school system to be able to get our programming into kind of lower income school districts in Philly.

And so for me, when you said like, where is it going to go? Wow, wouldn’t it be incredible to be able to have this freeform building these robots that kind of came out of our heads in Brooklyn throughout the United States, especially, into areas where the kids maybe wouldn’t be able to access that you know for economic reasons.

So that’s it. If I can get into all of these inner city schools and these lower income areas, and I can start inspiring kids to feel empowered to be problem solvers. That’s like my goal. That would be like, okay, done it. 

Dale: Just to talk money for a bit. People sometimes say it’s, we don’t have the money to do this. And I think it’s really important to one is that people pay for this and that people that are good at it, charge for it. And, schools have money, they just don’t spend it in the right places, in my opinion, and, and the other side is, especially when we get on the maker thing, is that the biggest failure I see is people buy equipment or kits, and they don’t have anyone with the expertise to work with kids. If you had to make a trade there, take the person over the tools. Like you can find tools. It’s really hard to find the right person to lead and organize and inspire kids. You’ve developed the model of franchisees, which empowers them to be that kind of person. 

Jenny: And because of what you said, schools don’t always have, they don’t always have that person. And so that’s why this business model works really well because we train our franchise owners. They hire their teachers and then they go into the schools and we’re not selling a kit. We’re selling a service.

And the service is the combination of that teacher. And then that robot kits going in and getting those kids to do things. And for the schools, all that they have to do is hire you. They don’t have to worry about managing the materials. They don’t have to worry about managing the intellectual concept of being able to be a maker because that’s all provided. That, that’s like a one- stop maker shop is. 

Dale: Jenny, thank you for talking to me today. It’s been a pleasure to learn about all the progress you’ve made. And I’m really glad that you’re still at it and doing so well.

Jenny: And thank you. Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I’m like super duper honored to be here. Really, again, Maker Faire really launched our entire business. So I’m indebted to you. So thank you so much.

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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