If you want a perfect example of people coming together — as makers — to work on a critical and life-saving project, read the article How a Wedding Dress Maker is Trying to Stop the Spread of Ebola, in the Washington Post. The November 9, 2014 article describes how John Hopkins University biomedical engineers brought together a group of people to generate ideas about how to make a safer and more comfortable protective suit for the medical personnel who care for Ebola patients.
Post writer Jessica Contrera explains how doctors, nurses, infection-control experts, engineers, and designers of medical devices came together in a weekend-long innovation event to brainstorm ways to improve the protective suits. But they also needed someone who knew how to sew and the ins and outs of creating a complicated piece of clothing. So that’s how a wedding dress designer became a part of the team.
For those of us who teach and parent 21st Century digital natives, there is no better and more current “maker movement” example to share with out students. As people worry and share anxiety about Ebola and it’s transmission, it’s pretty cool to learn about a group of people coming together to make Ebola virus transmission less of an issue and Ebola patient caregiving easier. Most of the group members possessed advanced medical, design, and engineering skills, but they also needed a person with artistic skills, advanced sewing ability, and a knowledge of clothing design if they were going to transform their ideas into real clothing.
Problem solving requires not only a range of skills, but a range of perspectives.