The new NYU Tandon School of Engineering MakerSpace is a collaborative workspace and lab that provides even greater opportunities for students and faculty to engage in innovative and entrepreneurial activities. As a Graduate Researcher I work closely with Professor Anne-Laure Fayard of the Department of Technology, Management and Innovation to investigate the sociotechnical systems in the space and present research insights and recommendations to NYU stakeholders.
In addition to offering students access to modern hardware and software tools, the MakerSpace aims to foster an environment for innovation with some of the less tangible components such as interdisciplinary teamwork and iterative experimentation. By conducting interviews with NYU administrative staff, faculty, and students, I was able to gather insights into the desired outcomes and metrics for success for the MakerSpace.
Ethnographic research methods uncover the stories in the space and lend perspective to our quantitative sources such as attendance records and survey data. Observations and in-situ interviews reveal the patterns of interaction and factors influencing student involvement.
Turning insights into action, we work with the MakerSpace management to design, test and iterate on spatial and organizational processes that may foster a collaborative and inclusive environment. The card swipe machine was placed away from the concierge desk and on a stand to increase compliance with card swipe policy and eliminate the need for the rolling whiteboard to be in the entrance blocking the flow of traffic. Moving the orange lounge chairs from the middle of the space toward the entrance created a welcoming area suitable for waiting to meet others and discouraged sleeping in the chairs.