Articles by Ric Herrero

  • Article

    Unlocking urban resiliency by building a collaborative commons

    December 12, 2017 by Ric Herrero

    Unlocking urban resiliency by building a collaborative commons

    Maker Faire Miami 2017.

    Ric Herrero is co-founder and president of MANO, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a sustainable maker culture in the Greater Miami area. Knight Foundation has supported the evolution of MANO’s work in Miami and recently made an additional funding commitment to the organization.

  • Article

    Miami joins the #NationofMakers

    June 30, 2014 by Ric Herrero

    Miami joins the #NationofMakers

    Knight Foundation supports the Miami Makers Initiative to connect talented people and foster creative environments that stimulate new ideas. Below, organizer Ric Herrero, co-founder of MIAMade, writes about the maker movement here in South Florida. Photo credit: Michael Bolden. 

    “Is the Maker Movement real or just a really cool fad?” Several people asked me this after the huge success of our first Miami Mini Maker Faire, sponsored by Knight Foundation, last November. There, regional inventors and entrepreneurs both young and old showcased over 60 innovative projects, products and services they conjured up using technology such as 3-D printers, desktop tools, design software and good old-fashioned craftsmanship.

    Seeing the creativity of our local makers was energizing, and the Miami Mini Maker Faire proved it had the potential to be a hugely popular community event for years to come. Despite the undeniable gee-whiz factor of these gatherings, some have asked, could the ideas on display actually spawn effective solutions to real-world problems?

    I wish those people could have joined me at the San Francisco Bay Area and White House Maker Faires earlier this year. Either event would have made a believer out of the most hardened skeptic.

  • Article

    Maker Saturdays build bridges from DIY innovators to wider community

    March 14, 2014 by Ric Herrero

    Miami Mini Maker Faire, a Flickr set by Michael Bolden

    Knight Foundation supports the Miami Mini Maker Faire and Maker Saturdays to connect talented people in a creative environment that stimulates new ideas. Below, organizer Ric Herrero, co-founder of MIAMade, writes about the maker movement here in South Florida.

    Miami is a DIY town. It’s long tradition of do-it-yourself ingenuity and tinkering is part of the reason why Kauffman Foundation ranks the city No.1 in the country in per capita entrepreneurial activity.

    A growing number of local entrepreneurs young and old are starting businesses making things, either embracing classic craftsmanship or using technology to hack traditionally “non-tech” goods into something new. 3-D printing has become more present; former hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers now call themselves makers; and schools around the county are seeking creative ways to integrate experiential STEAM learning into their curriculums.

    Yet it remains difficult for makers and innovators to build their ideas here. It is harder than it should be for them to connect with their peers and find valuable mentorship opportunities and support services.   

    We at MIAMade seek to bring this community of makers together and introduce their wonderful creations to consumers and the wider community. Through the Miami Mini Maker Faire supported by Knight Foundation, we provided makers with a highly visible, annual platform that they can coalesce around, eagerly anticipate together, and begin to build community. But that’s just the beginning.

  • Article

    Creativity at Maker Faires gives us a glimpse at the future

    October 24, 2013 by Ric Herrero

    Creativity at Maker Faires gives us a glimpse at the future


    Knight Foundation supports Miami Mini Maker Faire to connect talented people in a creative environment that stimulates new ideas. Below, organizer Ric Herrero writes about the maker movement and the Faire planned for Nov. 16. Above: World Maker Faire 2013, photo by Andrew Kelly.

    A version of this post originally appeared on the Miami Herald’s Starting Gate blog.

    Miami has a long tradition of do-it-yourself ingenuity and tinkering. 

    Many who have arrived here came with some technical or artisanal skill, yet for decades found little opportunity to put their skills to professional use. Recently, as jobs have become scarcer, makers young and old have started their own businesses making things or using technology to hack traditionally “non-tech” goods into something new. Others practice their skills as a hobby. However, these talented individuals have yet to coalesce around a “maker movement” as many others have in major cities around the world.


    "South Florida maker movement grows with events, spaces, fair" in the Miami Herald

    The Miami Mini Maker Faire, which will be held at The LAB Miami in Wynwood on Nov. 16, with additional exhibits at The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse and O Cinema, will provide these makers with a unique opportunity to show what they have made and to share what they have learned. Thanks to Knight Foundation’s support, it will help foster a sustainable maker culture in our region and will serve as a bellwether for how far we’ve come as a creative community—and how far we have to go.

    Our Mini Maker Faire, the first for South Florida, is part of a growing global entrepreneurial movement. The original Maker Faire was first held in San Mateo, Calif. This year it celebrated its eighth annual show with some 900 makers and 120,000 people in attendance. Earlier this month, more than 70,000 people attended the fourth annual World Maker Faire in New York. They met some 700 makers whose projects ranged from quadcopter drones and 3-D printed toys, to solar-powered robots and sensor-based gadgets that can wire your home and garden to the Internet.

    Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Newcastle (United Kingdom), Rome and Tokyo are home to the “featured” 2013 Maker Faires. Elsewhere, communities are organizing independent Mini Maker Faires—including right here in Miami.

    Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration of creativity and invention, with the kind of “gee-whiz” energy you likely haven’t felt since you first visited Tomorrowland as a kid.

  • Article

    Maker mindset empowers us to create more value with less resources

    February 1, 2016 by Ric Herrero

    Maker mindset empowers us to create more value with less resources

    Above: Miami Mini Maker Faire 2013 by Michael D. Bolden on Flickr.

    Ric Herrero is co-founder of MIAMade, organizer of the Miami Mini Maker Faire. A previous supporter of MIAMade, Knight Foundation is expanding its support with $250,000 in new funding.

    The resourcefulness, creativity and emphasis on learning that has come to define the maker movement are being increasingly applied to tackle social, economic and environmental challenges facing communities around the world.

    Makers take a hands-on approach to deliver social and economic value using fewer natural resources and doing so in increasingly affordable ways. Whether harnessing modern-day tools such as open source collaboration, digital fabrication, financial tech, and microcontrollers or combining them with traditional craftsmanship and tried-and-true design and engineering practices, these do-it-yourself innovators see technology as a means to an end—and that end is to create a more inclusive and sustainable world.

    MIAMade seeks to drive deeper engagement by South Floridians into the maker movement and related fields by providing a platform to learn and co-create in socially impactful and sustainable ways. Our programming for 2016 takes a normative approach to reaching individuals of all ages and interests through a series of interconnected events and educational programs.

    Thanks to the support of Knight Foundation, it all begins with the third Miami Mini Maker Faire, which expands into a two-day festival and concert on Feb. 20-21 at the National YoungArts Foundation campus. The 2016 Faire will take the first step in positioning the Miami Mini Maker Faire as a showcase for makers and do-it-yourself innovators from around the Americas, by inviting exhibitors from Cuba and other parts of Latin America to share their creations with local audiences. It will also feature a free concert by two music makers who embody the maker spirit, Cuban singer and multi-instrumentalist X Alfonso and Miami’s own Afrobeta. Alfonso is the founder of the Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana, a mixed arts and performance space that is a world-class model of collective ingenuity. Several of the artisans currently exhibiting in it are scheduled to share their creations at our Maker Faire.