Labmobile: Connecting Communities

The BigBlue Labmobile is driving from South Africa to Uganda, visiting community hubs, coworking spaces, (digital) cooperatives and other places of community innovation in 10 countries over 7 months.

This is not a development project, not a holiday, and not a business trip, but a journey to learn, connect and share!

Right now, the Labmobile is here.

Oh #Harare with your #Mercedes workshop and hardware stores.. it’s really good to see you 😍 #dieselfilter #oil #wheelalignment #breakcheck #vanlife

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This has been such an awesome week of learning and networking! The #labmobile has been connecting designers, makers, youth activists and university lecturers as we demystify the world of electronics and making

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Today we visit schools with @techvillagezw @briglabszw for hands-on science class with @Dext_Tech Kits! Lots of blinking, beeping and high fives at Pumula High this morning! #labmobile #youngmakers #makermagic

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Yesterday we built an #afroduino with @Thamsanqa_Mpofu of @briglabszw @techvillage - the Kit is designed by @go2uj https://t.co/lRGqe4xtrM and #mantech and we will continue adding to it as we travel! #labmobile #makersgonnamake #nomanual

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Are you based along the planned route and want the #BigBlue to come visit? Do you think the Labmobile should take a detour? Do you want to use a mobile lab to take your community‘s ideas out of your space and share them with others near you? The labmobile is equipped to run several workshops – would you like to host one, or co-create a new one? Please get in touch!

Getting started in Jbay

Connecting Communities

Open Source Software and Hardware Development, (Digital) Cooperatives, Innovation Spaces, and Socio-Political Movements all share a similar approach: They grow strong and shape the future through sharing and connection. The motto of GIG is We are what we create together! and the idea for Labmobiles was born out of this spirit.

Connections made through co-creation are deep, impactful and lasting. I first learned this through the AfricaHackTrip in 2013 and ever since then, I keep learning it through GIG the Global Innovation Gathering. With the Labmobile, I want to support connecting communities, tell stories of beautiful minds, and share the spirit of co-creation.

The idea of taking the spirit of our global community of innovators and changemakers on the road has been discussed at various GIG meetings, with the Egyptian Maker Express being the first example we could follow from ideation to documentation. Since late 2016, an old big blue truck got transformed into a mobile home and workshop – complete with bedroom, kitchen, desk, workbench, and of course a Kanban Board.

First Trip in 2017: Berlin-Thessaloniki with Communitere

The Labmobile in Prague (c) Doc North

After re:publica 2017, the Labmobile and Communitere together with a team of filmmakers hit the road in June, crossing through the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, all the way to Thessaloniki in Greece. During its deployment in Thessaloniki and together with a trailer turned into a workshop on wheels, the Labmobile was the prototype of a Mobile Resource Center, which Communitere provided to local partner organizations working with refugees and the local population. During the trip the team made stops at Makerspaces like the MakersLab in Prague, HappyLab and MetaLab in Vienna, Makerspace in Budapest – and also at organizations that pursue innovative approaches to support refugees, such as the OPENmarx Project of the Future Lab of the Vienna University of Technology and the Council of Refugee Women in Sofia.

Learn more at the blogpost Big Blue on tour!