Our Winning Line-Up at Houston Mini Maker Faire

dsc_2731We believe the future belongs to those who learn, create and innovate. The amazing thing is they’ll have incredible fun in the process! The Innovation Spark team has spent the last 12 months putting together the best possible examples of information and inspiration to help BuyTicksHouston build that future we all aspire to — click on the links below see what’s in store for you at Maker Faire (the event happens Sat & Sun, 11/12-13 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall A):

The Power of Innovation at Maker Faire

mmh-i-make-rgbWhen’s a good time to start innovating? Now! Who can be an innovator? You! Where’s a good place to get started innovating? A local makerspace! You’ve probably noticed that technology has become both very powerful and highly empowering. Using your creativity and this powerful technology, YOU can become one of the world’s leading innovators! And a great place to get started is a local makerspace, with experience, resources, tools and — especially — community to help you take those first steps into uncharted territory. Check out this blog now, then come learn about the amazing vibrant growing makerspace scene around Houston at Houston Mini Maker Faire (@ GRB 11/12-13) — then start planning how to realize your most creative ideas….

Exhibitor Info Meeting: Wed, Oct 26

2014052520209We invite all exhibitors who have already registered to participate in Houston Mini Maker Faire 2016, or are thinking about doing so, to attend the planning and information session from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Children’s Museum of Houston (1500 Binz St, Houston). People planning to help as Maker Faire volunteers are invited too. Click here to get more information about this meeting.

Creativity Is Fun!

20161003_133517One of the reasons we all enjoy creativity is it can be so much fun! And no one knows that better than makers who use creativity to express themselves through artistry, Cosplay, Scifi and Fantasy. Some of these projects are simple, but some are very complex and use a lot of advanced technology. This BuyTicksyear Houston Mini Maker Faire (Sat & Sun, 11/12-13 @ GRB Hall A) will have more cosplay exhibits than ever before, and several learning 20141005_134405 (small)sessions where you can gain knowledge about how to do projects yourself. Click here for more information about the planned exhibits on the theme of Cosplay, Scifi and Fantasy.

Discount tickets are available online (click on the “Buy Tickets” button) but are ending soon — enter discount code Max2 at the “Enter promotional code” link for half-off on the ticketing web page.

Building The Future Of STEM Education

20150523_101006We can all imagine a world in the future full of technical marvels and improvements to quality of life. But who will design and build that future? Preparing our youth to be the creators of that amazing future is the focus of many education strategies, including STEM, STEAM, computational thinking / technical literacy, and makerspace education. Clearly there’s a lot going on in education today! That’s why we focus on important elements of STEM and STEAM education each year, and offer Houston Mini Maker Faire as the best showcase of makerspace education available in Texas. Read the full blog on this topic here to gain deeper insight into our plans for Maker Faire.

dsc_2907Think of Maker Faire as a smorgasbord or buffet, full of interesting options and choices. The information and experiences at Houston Mini Maker Faire can give you better insight into what to invest your valuable time and money into, to achieve your objectives for education. This is useful both for parents who are confronted with so many options for kits, after-school classes, camps and so on — and for teachers, librarians and administrators trying to make informed decisions about how to best set up a makerspace or similar at their facility, and what programs and experiences to use to increase the impact of STEM education.

dsc_2779And what’s really impressive about Houston Mini Maker Faire is the scale and variety of exhibits (read the full blog to get insights into the many new topic areas planned for this year’s event!) In many cases you can try the examples out, right at Maker Faire! Another thing that’s very unique about Maker Faire is that it’s more about showing and sharing than selling. You don’t have to worry about being pursued by vendors; instead, in most cases, you can talk directly with the expert — the person who actually did the work — right there at the event! And of course, Houston Mini Maker Faire is about much more than STEM education — you could easily find great highly-useful ideas built by an artist or innovator who wasn’t even thinking about education impact at the time! So put your “explorer hat” on and come out and see how all these bright minds have put together examples of creativity, education and inspiration!

Buzz!

mmh-i-make-rgbSo many exciting and new things are in the works for Houston Mini Maker Faire 2016! We’ve begun our coverage of exhibit content on the Event Info tab — check it out and check back often to see the storyline unfold. This is a truly “buzz-worthy” event about creativity and innovation in Houston — the kind you’ll say “oh wow — I wish I’d been there” if you miss it. So plan now to attend on 11/12-13 at the GRB in downtown Houston, and get advance purchase discounts on your tickets while they’re still available — we’re smiley-facedoing everything we can to avoid an epidemic of forehead-slapping the day after Maker Faire in Houston!

Our “Power Play”: Building For Houston’s Future At Maker Faire

BuyTicksWe’re so pleased with how the Houston Mini Maker Faire (11/12-13 @ GRB) is shaping up — it’s going to be so — GOOD! This event is dedicated to the concept that (1) learning is a basic human need and is good for people of all ages; (2) being creative with our imagination, gifts and skills is one of the most fulfilling things humans can do; and (3) and “making” (building) our creations helps both ourselves and the community.

hacking-eduThis is our 4th annual event, and we’re using the theme “Power Up Houston!” to take a big step forward in awareness and impact throughout the Greater Houston Area. The Houston Mini Maker Faire will be full of interesting and important things to learn and do, covering such a wide range of topics that we simply can’t describe them all here (but check back regularly here, in the Event Info and About sections, and on Facebook for updates about our exhibits). We’re gearing up for 10,000 attendees with over 200 exhibits over 2 days! And our strategic goal is to attract more than 25,000 annually to Houston Maker Faire by 2020 — come be part of this growth story! There are things here for everyone — ranging from kids to seniors, and artists to engineers.

hcc-sharesThis is the Maker Movement’s exhibition for Houston. The Maker Movement is positive and constructive, and it’s already had significant impact (learn more about that here).  It’s changing education, corporate waterafrica1innovation and development methodologies, entertainment, startup businesses, medicine and many more fields. And at this year’s Houston Mini Maker Faire, we have large exhibits dedicated to innovation, reducing the barriers to tech and business startups to foster more entrepreneurs, getting inventions and products to market, and showing how creative mindsets can be leveraged now to solve real-world community challenges!

But it can be just for fun too — one of the best things about making is it’s what you want it to be, as long as you’re active, creative and constructive! Perhaps the most important point is — making, and therefore Maker Faire — is for everyone. And yes, it’s GOOD for you! Come join us at the GRB on 11/12-13.

Students — Get Into The IDEAS Pitch Competition!

ideas-mainWe’re growing Houston Mini Maker Faire into important new areas this year — including a pitch competition to demonstrate how ideas can be developed from inspiration to reality! As a collaboration between Houston Community College (HCC) and Innovation Spark (the local Maker Faire organizer), the IDEAS Pitch Competition invites all students of high school age or older to explore and propose innovative approaches to answering pressing sustainability and societal needs.

Do you have ideas to make Houston and the world a better place that you’ve been wanting to act on? Perhaps as a business, a charitable activity, or a product or service? But you’d like some help to make them happen, perhaps mentoring, coaching, or a reality-check with the marketplace? Then this is the event for you! You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve with this kind of support — and there are some great prizes too! So we invite you to get involved — the first session happens on 10/22.

hcc_tech_fairesEach of the 3 build-up events will be informative and inspirational, including Tech Faires with plenty to learn. They’re also a great way to visit HCC campuses around Houston to see how this local college is building for the future. We recommend attendance and participation in all of them — and they’re all free to attend! Get involved and show the “Power of Houston”!

Power Up! Houston

dsc_2981Houston is the city of “Can Do”, full of inventors, engineers and ideas! But getting an idea from the drawing board to the market can be a daunting task. To break through these challenges and help the Houston community build the future, we’re introducing a new exhibit to Maker Faire: the “Power Up! Houston” Pavilion! This centralized exhibit will bring together suppliers and manufacturers with entrepreneurs and inventors. Representing a cross section of Houston small-batch manufacturers, parts and materials suppliers, the Pavilion participants aims to educate attendees on the services they provide, what is required to submit jobs, and the best way to leverage their services.

There is a strong growing need for local prototyping and manufacturing services coming from makers, inventors and startups. The point of this Pavilion is to include you as manufacturers and suppliers in development of this community (which will lead to more business) and to give you the opportunity to develop a clear understanding of this emerging local market. So, if you’re a “supply-side” provider of project manufacturing and services, register to exhibit in the Pavilion and get connected with the future of Houston. If you’re a do-er with big ideas, whether crafter, artist, inventor, maker or entrepreneur, attend Houston Mini Maker Faire for this empowering access to people who can help you achieve your ambitions.

Click here for more info about the Power Up! Houston Pavilion.

The Joy Of Learning at Maker Faire

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hcc-sharesThe words “joy” and “learning” are not placed together very often these days, but at Maker Faire we practice and show joyful learning — with passion! Any new parent can tell you “joy” and “learning” definitely belong together as they proudly describe how their young child is learning so many new things — for indeed, humans start as avid learners — and how that learning results in important actions — first steps, first words, first drawings, and so on. Some experience the joy of learning through “Eureka moments” — those jolts of great satisfaction when you figure out something important after investigating, thinking and focusing intensely on a problem or challenge.

But somehow it seems too many of us lose this natural joy in learning as we go through the experiences of life. For many, learning in the structured systems common today is at best described as work and perhaps even drudgery. When was your last Eureka moment?…

dsc_2779That loss of the joy in learning is a problem. In a world so full of change, those who learn the best and most quickly are the ones most prepared to turn challenges into opportunities. And it’s clear that technology has become one the greatest and most rapid forces for change, such that it is now being described as “exponential technology” to more completely describe its power and pace. Coping with this speed of change has become one of the biggest challenges to communities and businesses: how can they most effectively capture the opportunities presented by the rapid pace of change and technology to improve the future of their constituencies?

dsc_2958Makers have a powerful answer to this challenge: re-ignite your natural love for learning and practice it often. Discover things you are passionate about and dive into learning about them. Accelerate and strengthen your learning through experimentation and testing, to discover your boundaries and learn faster from failures. Share your learning to help the community. Indeed, the “Maker Movement” is now recognized worldwide as a compelling model for effective learning that is put into action. And it’s really good at harnessing the rapid progress in technology to create value for communities and businesses (and has an abundance of examples to prove this, many of which we will exhibit at our event). Our “secret formula” is: learning + creativity + action = success, and we put it on display, in abundance, for all to learn from at our local annual event — the Houston Mini Maker Faire! Come join us at the GRB Convention Center on 11/12-13 to experience some new Eureka moments of your own!

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