FabCafe Monterrey- Two Months In!
Buenos Dias! This is Kelsie, checking in from FabCafe Tokyo. A couple weeks ago, I was asked, “Kelsie, do you want to go to Mexico?”. Naturally and immediately, my answer was, “Yes, of course, when?!”
I was invited to speak about the FabCafe Global Network at the INCMonterrey (INCmty) Conference in Monterrey, Mexico, do a Christmas tree event and espresso training workshops at FabCafe Monterrey. In preparation for the presentation, I researched the conference and the FabCafe story ‘til I was just about blue in the face. While the research proved sufficient for my presentation, no prep could fully prepare me for how awesome and eye-opening the experience would be as a whole.
On its 5th year and going strong, INCmty is the largest entrepreneurship conference in Latin America. INCmty functions as a platform for the largest engineering and science school in Latin America, Tecnológico de Monterrey.
While on this trip, I had the pleasure of touring the University campus and meeting some of the students.
The campus facilities, especially the libraries and outdoor public spaces, were incredibly modern, spacious, and, at times, even breathtaking.
The conference does not stand alone but serves as a main event for Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 13-19). Participants of the conference ran in the thousands. Approximately half were Monterrey Tech University students, many of which were behind the scenes, working as facilitators of the event. The conference presentations focused on emerging technologies in the areas of health, education, art, recreation, energy, business, and new forms of collaboration. FabCafe fit right in the middle of just about all of it.
Following a spectacular dance and balloon drop opening, Singularity University Head of Faculty and Distinguished Fellow for Science, Technology, Innovation and Exploration, Jonathan Knowles delivered our keynote speech. This year’s conference theme was “Going Exponential” and Knowles spoke specifically about the significance of the exponential mindset. An exponential mindset, as opposed to an incremental one, takes into deep consideration how to make something not just better, but different. Different enough to change the game and make whatever came before it obsolete. An expression I am often seeing that describes this mindset is: “Uber yourself before you get Kobak’ed”.
The title of my presentation was, “FabCafe Community for Open Innovation: Asia, Europe and America, the Strength of the Alliance”. The presentation covered the FabCafe's founding story, our mission and values and of lots of examples of the awesome stuff we do around the world. While much of the presentation was spent explaining the key points of FabCafe, the underlying question of “Why do we care about making in the first place?” gave us a empathizable foundation on which to base FabCafe’s significance in the exponential ecosystem. Following the presentation, there was a 30-minute questions/answer section and a chance to speak one-to-one with several local Makers and University students. To be completely honest, before I arrived, it was this question/answer part of the presentation that made me most nervous. What if I didn’t know the answer to their question? In spite of my concerns, there was so much raw energy in the air, about the awesomeness of Making, the opportunities unique to our time-period, about collaboration and the potential for real innovation, that there wasn’t time to be nervous. There was only time to get excited and come up with the answers together. This was, to me, the essence of the exponential mindset that Jonathan Knowles, our keynote speaker, presented on.
Seeing FabCafe’s place among all of it was a wonderful insight. Following the conference, I led a Christmas-Tree-Making Workshop for a group of awesome kids (did I mentioned I love and miss working with kids?). While teaching a 7-year old a little color theory, and trying to make sure everyone had all the pieces they needed for their tree, the energy from the conference laid latent in my mind. How do I transfer this information, this mindset, to this generation? How do I inspire them to Make, to create and re-create the world around them?
“Kelsie Teacher! There’s no light purple!”, “Well, darling child, white and purple makes light purple!”, “THANK YOU KELSIE TEACHER”, (in my head, “Children are the makers of the future..” *tear*)
FabCafe Monterrey is only 2 months in and they’re already holding events for children, like the Christmas Tree Workshop, and adults. Since opening, they have built an upstairs loft-style work area and established several ties in their local community. They are working with a local bakery to provide a lineup of pastries and sweets and offer locally grown and roasted specialty coffee, some of which has been selected as a winner in Mexico’s Cup of Excellence! The FabCafe Monterrey crew and I drank coffee, shared knowledge, and connected several times over my short stay. I can’t wait to see how they grow and continue to connect with their local communities!
The FabCafe Monterrey Team and me!