Makers Days

For the last four years, Polymorph has hosted Maker’s Days. Initially named Hack Days, it was a one day event that gathered all of us around developing our individual ideas.

The day started with the idea owner pitching to their collagues and people joining teams to build. In 2017, we rebranded from Hack Days to Maker Days celebrating the global maker movement and underlining the importance, not of hacking, but of building and making that is central to all of us at Polymorph

When Polymorph joined Alphawave, the concept of Makers Days was embraced by all the companies in the group and last year was our first group wide Makers Day. In February, we hosted our second and as always it was interesting to see what people worked on and how each project developed. We extended Makers Days to two days as many projects needed the two days to really get off the ground. Here are a few of the fun and bias shifting ideas that formed 2018’s first Makers Days

With many of us spending hours each day in traffic, we have all been upset by bad driving. To combat the frustration and to communicate with other drivers, Matt created a LCD display for the back window of the car. Hooked up to an Arduidno, the display will flash messages to bad drivers. Matt plans to work on this at the next Maker’s Day and hopefully we can test it then.

In the same vein, Mitch worked on how to make it easier to read notifications while driving by sending notification messages to display on the OLED display. Ensuring that Mitch never misses an important traffic announcement or message from home.

JP is an avid microlight pilot and has been working on an app called Soaring Coach for sometime. Monitoring your flight path, the app will save your flight details for later analysis. Soaring Coach has been quite a journey in the Polymorph halls. Many of us have worked with JP on it and are excited to see how it progresses. This is one of the exciting aspects of Makers Days as we get to watch ideas slowly transform over time

Some of the others used the time to familiarise themselves with tools that they have not extensively used and would like to. Johan worked with Ionic, Herman with Alexa and Dawid with Angular. David created an app to read power usage at home . Seeing the spikes impacted how his household uses electricity and have helped them lower their monthly bill. Makers Days are a good time to build something in a language one is learning or to learn more about hardware. With no pressure to create for a client, one can just enjoy the process of learning through iteration.

An interesting app that came out of Makers Days was one that tackled implicit bias. Diederick noticed that when looking for developers on a local, specialised employment site, he would first look at their faces and names. To minimise the impact of any implicit bias taking place, Diederick created an app that replaces the name with the words ‘a human just like you’ and the image of the face becomes a random cat picture. The app has been picked up by all of Alphawave. For further reading on implicit bias, have a look at the Harvard site and at Project Implicit

One of the positive impacts of Makers Days are the conversations and understandings that come out of each day. Whether it is understanding how tech can solve implicit bias in society, the underlying fear of dangerous drivers or the fun that comes from working together to understand challenges. For me, what is important is that we gain an understanding of what each entrepreneur and company feels when they come to us with an idea. To go from an idea to project requires lean development, flexibility and strategic decision making, Makers Days puts us all in those shoes and for two days we are test our own ways of developing on ourselves and we are a stronger company for it.

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