Open Source Thinking In Action for Syttende Mai 2024

Erin Horswill
Principal of Atreyu+Bastion

Innovation Center Stoughton is a relatively new entity in Stoughton. As it is with many new entities, people are still wondering what Innovation Center Stoughton (ICS) is all about.

That’s normal for anything truly new. It takes time to understand how you might benefit or engage with something that never existed before. I can’t imagine my life without my smart phone, but I lived many years without one. When they first came to the market, I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around how it might enhance my daily activities. I wasn’t an early adopter to smart phone utilization. When I did enter the market, my first smart phone purchase was more about the ‘it’ factor than the functionality. Now, my phone is a necessary tool in my personal life, my business, and my volunteering. My knowledge and understanding has grown exponentially over time.

One of the fundamental principles of ICS is called Open Source Thinking. A broad definition of Open Source Thinking can be described as: an intention to share knowledge, a commitment to sharing resources, a dedication to looking for reasons to say, ‘yes’ to opportunities, a spirit of collaboration.

All of that sounds very fancy. It should. I run an Advertising Agency. Fancy words and phrases are in the business DNA. Fancy words without meaningful experiences aren’t worth anything. Open Source Thinking has to be experienced. People who stop by a “Pop-Up Exhibit” located at 183 W. Main Street during the Syttende Mai Festival will see Open Source Thinking in action.

183 W. Main Street isn’t the new location for Innovation Center Stoughton. It’s the new offices of Becker Professional Services, a local and regional planning and economic development services firm. Innovation Center Stoughton is one of Becker’s clients. In thinking about ways this Main Street space could be leveraged during the festival, they made the space available to ICS.

Becker Professional Services intends to make the front of their new location available for Pop-Up Retail, Events, and Exhibits. It made sense to showcase its use by making it available to ICS. In turn, ICS is sharing the resource with two other partners: The Virtual Foundry and Pint Sized Parties.

Pint Sized Parties is part of the Innovation Center Stoughton’s entrePEERneur program. Owned and operated by Amanda Thomas, Pint Sized Parties offers balloons, decor, activities, and onsite management for any festive occasion. ICS chose to partner with Pint Sized Parties to create a photo op opportunity with a Syttende Mai themed balloon sculpture. This fun idea adds something free and memorable to the many families attending the Syttende Mai Festival while illustrating the value Pint Sized Parties and Innovation Center Stoughton bring to the area.

The front area of Becker Professional Service’s new location is big enough for more, so ICS reached out to The Virtual Foundry with a fun idea. It makes sense to partner with them when it comes to highlighting innovation. The Virtual Foundry is part of Stoughton’s History of Innovation.

Inventor and Founder, Brad Woods created Filamet™, a sinterable, high metal-content 3D printing filament that can be used in any Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer. The Virtual Foundry’s metal, glass, and ceramic filaments have the potential to revolutionize additive manufacturing – for just one example, NASA is one of their customers! Innovation Center Stoughton asked them if they would print Metal Gnomes for the Syttende Mai Festival. They said, yes.

It’s more than printing a few metal Gnomes. I’ve seen the designs and they are very cool. I wouldn’t mind winning one in the drawing. The Virtual Foundry is setting up one of their 3D Printers in the Pop-Up Exhibit. People can stop in and see the Gnomes being printed live while they enter to win one of them.

This is Open Source Thinking in action. There are four separate entities that came together to see how they could help one another. Four organizations sharing their resources and their knowledge, in a spirit of collaboration and they said ‘yes’. All of them are working together towards a common end result which is to enhance the Syttende Mai Festival.

It’s a simple execution of Open Source Thinking. This single Pop Up Exhibit won’t change the world. Getting the reps in matters. You can’t run a marathon without first running a mile. It is in the practice on these low stakes opportunities where we learn the benefits Open Source Thinking. The innovation will grow from there.

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