The Fab Island Challenge in Bali

The Fab Island Challenge in Bali

10 international teams. 10 challenges by local innovation initiatives. 10 days during the Bali Fab Fest. One goal: Accelerate the Transition to a Regenerative Economy in Bali.

Fab Island Challenge Bali: Transition to a Regenerative Economy-Header
Fab Island Challenge Bali: Transition to a Regenerative Economy

The Fab Island Challenge will rally experts, enthusiasts, global leaders, and other practitioners of design, making, digital fabrication, organizing, and activism from 21 countries into 10 teams that will ideate, design, prototype, and test to collaboratively work on some of Bali’s most pressing issues around sustainability and life systems. The ideas and prototypes from the 10 teams have the chance to be supported with seed funding, for the local partnering initiative to facilitate the implementation of the innovation beyond the event. This is a sustainable approach to address local problems with local resources coupled with global knowledge in the host Island, Bali.

About the Challenge

The Fab Island Challenge is happening physically at the Jimbaran Hub — the main location for the event and other locations connected with green innovation initiatives across the island — during the Bali Fab Fest from October 12 to 22, 2022. The Bali Fab Fest is a unique event that will start new conversations and connections under the theme ‘Designing Emergent Realities’. For ten days, global networks and the local Bali Ecosystem will converge to propose and prototype design outputs that address local problems identified by local initiatives in the Fab Island Challenge.

Jimbaran Hub Bali 2022
Photo by Jimbaran Hub. Photo credit here

Who is Hosting the Challenge?

Fab City Foundation is organizing the challenge, while Meaningful Design Group is supporting its implementation.

  • Fab City Foundation supports the Fab City Global Initiative by developing projects, designing distributed educational programs, promoting knowledge transfer opportunities, and network building. These experiences are focused on building the capacity of localities and their communities.
  • Meaningful Design Group is a novel initiative that aims to develop a holistic approach to innovation, education, and research by integrating multiple disciplines in an experimental approach to design situated interventions through technology.
Fab Island Challenge Bali 2022 Organisers-Logos
Fab Island Challenge 2022 Organisers

Similarly, the challenge gathers support from international and local collaborators and builds on previous #techforgood and #socialinnovation challenges. Challenge partners include Bamboo U  Nu-Cycle  Plastic Exchange  Kopernik — MIT Center for Bits and Atoms  Fab Foundation  Fab City Foundation — Meaningful Design Group  Fab Lab Barcelona — Distributed Design Platform co-funded by Creative Europe  Precious Plastic  Prakash Lab  CAST Foundation  Helium Foundation.

How is the Challenge Organized?

The Challenge takes on a distributed design and innovative approach that is needs-based, project-driven, context-aware, and hands-on. The Fab Island Challenge put out an open call for participation, explaining the urgency of community-driven interventions supporting local ecosystems and local cultures that can be shared amongst a global network. As a result, over 200 individuals, teams, and organizations from more than 30 countries applied to be part of this challenge. Amongst many other professions, we received entries from fashion designers, digital makers, design researchers, biologists, and eco-activists coming from the ASEAN region and around the world; from cities like Semarang, Indonesia, and Barcelona, Spain all the way to Kumasi, Ghana.

Through an extensive selection process, participants were shortlisted and curated into teams that fit their interests, profile, and preferred themes while ensuring the diversity of creative minds within each team. The curated teams will work on challenges related to the following themes: Water Management and Conservation, New Education Models, Preserving Natural Ecosystems, Food Security, Fair Digital Transformation, Alternative Materials, and Sustainable Mobility.

Additionally, challenge organizers are supporting participants to be able to attend the Fab Island Challenge. Selected participants are eligible to receive a microgrant as an individual or in a team to support their travel to Bali. This support comes as a Skills Grant for individuals, a Project Grant for teams of 2–3 people, or an Organization Grant for teams of 4–5 people ranging from EUR 400 to 4000.

Fab Foundation-Team Meeting
Photo by Fab Foundation

Dedicated teams of participants will work on the challenges along with the local initiatives. These are the ten initiatives/organizations from the Bali ecosystem that have identified problems under one or more of the challenge themes:

What will happen in Bali?

After the teams have arrived, registered, and settled in Bali, each team goes on a one or two-day field trip on October 13 and 14, visiting sites in the North and Central parts of Bali that are important to gain more insight into the context of the challenges. Following the field trips, the teams will now have approximately five days to design, build, and test their ideas. During this time they have full access to two labs at the Jimbaran Hub. These labs will provide machinery including a computer numerical control (CNC) machine and laser cutter, 3D printers, soldering stations, and workbenches with all the usual hand and power tools. Besides tools, the teams get access to the material library containing materials, hardware, electronics, and specific components for their specific challenge.

Fab Foundation-Bali Fab Fest_Worshop
Photo by Fab Foundation

To boost creativity and make use of the vast network of people attending the Bali Fab Fest event, the participants will take part in workshops, talks, and panels, and brainstorm their ideas with other expert makers during the social events. On the 20th of October, the teams will present their concepts and prototypes during the Makerverse exhibition. This event is open to the public, which means they will not only present their solutions to the experts but through dialogues, the community will get to evaluate and validate their prototypes. Some ideas by the challenge teams will win funding to support the continuation of their implementation in Bali.

What are the Benefits of the Challenge?

The bottom line is that for the participants who will contribute to this hands-on multi-stakeholder challenge, it is an opportunity to engage with a global network and experts in diverse fields, from construction to eco-activism, and the beginning of new collaborations that will lead to the creation of meaningful and long-term knowledge, products or projects replicable in other regions and cities. For the local initiatives that will host challenge participants, the challenge will promote the identification of the stakeholders whose contributions will be contextual and transformative in addressing Bali’s urgent issues.

Consequently, networks and creative communities in Bali will be strengthened now more than ever to create the solutions they need with the support of the Fab City Global Initiative through connections with Fab Labs and Fab Cities. At the end of the challenge, partnering local initiatives will have access to the methodologies and technologies used to develop the prototypes by the participants.

Apart from these outputs from the challenge, Fab City Foundation will capture the Fab Island Challenge experiences in a documentary that will complement the two precious challenges that we have previously been involved in: Plastic for Good Challenge and Made Again Challenge. Essentially, Fab City Foundation is ensuring the documentation of the methodology to inform similar challenges in the future.

MakerFaire-Plastic for Good Challenge-Made Again Challenge 2022
Photo from MakerFaire

What are the Next Steps?

Before the Fab Island Challenge participants make their way to Bali in October, two virtual introductory sessions will be held for them on the 28th and 29th of September 2022 for onboarding to the challenge and introduction to their teams. The second session will connect the teams with their challenge leaders to brainstorm based on first impressions. If you are in Bali this October, support the Fab Island Challenge participants by attending the open day session on October 20th, 2022 to engage with them and share ideas.

For more information related to the Fab Island Challenge please refer to the Challenge website.

About the author

Freda Yamorti Gbande


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