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Kate Armstrong: When Communities of Practice go from Local to Global

In her talk at the Community Leadership Summit 3, Fab Lab's Kate Armstrong shares some key insights into how a local community goes global with open, collaborative tools and distributed communities of practice.

Kate Armstrong is a Communication Lead from Fab Lab Barcelona, which is a leading laboratory part of Fab Academy, a distributed platform of research and education in digital manufacturing technology.




Key Learnings:

— Locally productive, globally connected

At Fab Lab, people and technology are brought together in the form of digital fabrication. The aim is to have a lab connected to the global network of 1800+ labs but also a global network of people beyond the walls of any labs.

— People with digital tools

They believe the current production paradigms are wrong, and want the way people consume and produce to reflect this new data-driven system. Instead of moving things, they would prefer to move information.


— Fab City


It’s a growing network of 34 cities across the world and a collective of core people who form a community of practice to shift this paradigm.This is practiced through a full stack model, so they work from top-down and bottom-up simultaneously, with constant infiltration


— Being a maker


In the way they work, it’s all about taking your tools and prototyping to make sense of the world, in a spiral iteration. They also document and share open-source all their prototypes to ensure the nature of a distributed community of practice.

— Insights

Handbooks and toolkits are greatly used as a form of governance and recipe for best practices, but a community also needs tools to talk, as seen with PreciousPlastic, SmartCitizen and GitHub.

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