2016: the Year of the Maker?

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2016 is the Year of the Monkey.  Apparently monkeys are fast learners and crafty opportunists. Sound familiar?

As we start a new year, it is worth reflecting on what we have collectively achieved and where we are headed.  Two years ago this month, over 200 people came together and said yes, we want a makerspace in the Yukon!  Within nine months, a group banded together to form a society, secure a location, and open our doors.  A little over a year, we started to offer programming.  Today, we have two fabulous staff, a robust CORE team and Board, over a hundred members and reputation of being a positive contribution to our community.

In the spirit of supporting creativity and entrepreneurship, YuKonstruct opened a sister project: the Yukon’s first ‘curated coworking space’: (co)space.  I am writing this blog from (co)space and only a couple months in, I am looking at a new and vibrant community of entrepreneurs starting to emerge.

Talk about crafty and opportunistic!

These are exciting times for both our makerspace and coworking space.  As volunteers and staff, we should all be proud of what we have achieved.  I want to thank all our volunteers and staff – Logan, Adria, Alessia, Vero and Tanya our bookkeeper – who are doing amazing stuff.  We are also very grateful to our supporters who are supporting our dream: Yukon Government Economic Development, Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Cold Climate Innovation, Northwestel, What’s Up Yukon, the City of Whitehorse, Yukon Brewing, Home Hardware, and others.

Looking forward, 2016 will be an exciting and important year for us.  Let’s continue to be crafty and opportunistic.

The organization recognizes a need to transition from a start-up organization to a more professional, efficient, and robust organization.  This is critical for our long-term sustainability.  To help us navigate this transition, the organization is starting a strategic planning process this month and is excited to be working with respected Whitehorse consultants Mark Nelson and Angela Walkley of Cambio Consulting.

What is the benefit of a strategic plan?  According to Business Development Canada, a strategic plan provides an organization a ‘road-map’ and ‘action-plan’ by identifying specific activities, due dates, and responsibilities.  A Strategic Plan also empowers an organization to grow in a coordinated, systematic, and informed fashion. More broadly, the process will also allow us to review the fundamental questions of who we are, what we believe in, where we want to go, and how we will get there.  Lofty, perhaps, but vital for the success of any endeavour.  Consensus and coordination on future direction is precisely what YuKonstruct needs right now.  For example, has or will YuKonstruct outgrow our current location and why?  If yes, what are our projected needs and how are we going to secure a new location in a sustainable way?  These are the types of questions this process will allow us to dig into in a coordinated and systematic way.

I am asking everyone with an interest in YuKonstruct and (co)space to participate in this opportunity.  This is your chance to help determine our future.  Stay tuned.

Together, let’s make 2016, the Year of the Monkey, also the Year of YuKonstruct and (co)space.  I’m getting excited…let’s do this!