Challenges and Opportunities at the Protospace Makerspace
(8 pages of text)
In early 2017, the directors at Protospace, a makerspace in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, faced some challenges. The nine-year-old member-run organization operated as a “do-ocracy,” with a minimum of official oversight. However, the directors and some of the membership wondered whether Protospace could and should scale its growth by recruiting and accepting new members. Would a larger membership help or hinder the membership-driven makerspace? Should the organization hire a staff member so that members would have more time to work on their projects? What would be the implications of a having larger membership and a paid staff member?
This case is suitable for undergraduate, MBA, and executive classes in entrepreneurship, small business management, and non-profit management. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Explain the alternative approach to innovation and product development represented by makerspaces.
- Describe the unique opportunity to become involved in creating that is represented by makerspaces.
- Identify the challenges faced by non-traditional organizations such as Protospace, and explain how a small member-run organization that operates as a “do-ocracy” can manage growth and culture in parallel.
Canada, Medium, 2017
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