Plan C: Chicago Shield – Introduction

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Plan C: Chicago Shield – Introduction


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This series of articles, Chicago Shield, is about the COVID-19 response organized by a group of makers who knew each other through Chicago’s network of makerspace. They created a “mesh network” to organize the production and distribution of face shields, starting in Chicago and the suburbs. They called it the Illinois PPE Network. Within several weeks, they have achieved production of 6500 face shields per day and began serving 50 medical facilities throughout the state, and they are ramping up to produce many more. This rapid civic response by individuals acting together in a self-organizing group is emblematic of what I’ve called Plan C. This volunteer effort is itself a shield, helping protect health care workers and others in the community from exposure to COVID-19.


  1. Introduction
  2. A Mesh Network for Making Face Shields
  3. The Solin Flatpack Face Shield
  4. Who’s Not in the Network
  5. Binge-making with Dan Meyer

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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.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty