The AR Innovation Hub in North Little Rock played host to an extraordinary competition as Make48's seventh season wrapped up. Emcee Jay Flores kicked things off, as eight phenomenal teams took center stage, returning to partake in the challenge of crafting an original idea within a tight 48-hour timeframe. The result? An incredible success that showcased not only innovation but also a shared commitment to addressing social challenges.
In a vibrant display of regional talent, teams from various parts of the Midwest converged upon North Little Rock, Arkansas. Among them were DNAwesome and Nuts & Bolts, proud representatives of Kansas City, Kansas, as well as the KS School for the Blind. The Lincoln Academy in Beloit, Wisconsin played host to another exciting regional event, featuring the formidable presence of The Purple Knights and It’s Classified.
Venturing from Anderson, Indiana, Not Fast, Just Furious, and Randy’s Rascals showcased their skills at Purdue University-Anderson, adding to the diverse array of competitors. The culmination of these spirited regional contests occurred at the NW Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas, where The Golden Eagles and the Delta School contributed to the rich tapestry of this dynamic and geographically diverse innovation competition.
The Challenge: Tiny Homes: Tackling Homelessness with Innovation
The challenge posed to these creative minds was no ordinary one. Errin Stanger and The Pulaski County community, sought solutions to address homelessness. Their vision encompassed the creation of a Tiny Village, similar to the successful Community First! Village located in Austin, Texas; providing permanent, affordable, and sustainable housing within a supportive community environment. The emphasis was not only on shelter but also on fostering dignity through work opportunities, access to medical and mental health services, and a sense of belonging.
Teams faced the task of creating a physical prototype for the Tiny Village, incorporating innovative solutions to specific challenges, such as storage, cleanliness, combatting loneliness, and caring for pets. The weekend unfolded with mentors guiding the teams, helping transform their ideas into tangible prototypes.
*Teams celebrating the end of the competition (slider)
Innovating For A Better Future With A Supportive Ecosystem
The judging panel, featuring Kevin Mako (Mako Design + Invent), Clare Graham (Malvern-Hot Spring Co. Library), and Dr. Rick Barker (UA-PTC), faced the challenging task of selecting the grand winners. Before the final pitches, teams had the invaluable opportunity to consult with mentors.
One standout mentor, Hanna Wirt, who had transitioned from homelessness, left an indelible impact on the teams. David Carpenter (UA-PTC) competed last year and returned to support this year’s participants with valuable feedback. Brandon Ruhl and Jacob Seither (Taggart Architects) are the architects behind the Tiny Village and provided significant insight and advice. Adam Smith (Wet & Forget) provided priceless sales advice along with Salil Joshi and Gauravi Patil helping teams with their pitches.
The event wouldn't have been possible without a supportive ecosystem. Volunteers, friends, family, and community members played pivotal roles in setting up, organizing, and managing day-to-day tasks.
And of course, there’s the secret sauce. Tool Techs from around the country provided technical expertise, while the AR Innovation Hub team, led by Errin Stanger, Adam Kitrell, and Zoë Eagan, ensured a seamless and welcoming experience for all involved.
A heartfelt thank you resonates across the board. From the teams and techs to guests, staff, speakers, supporters, volunteers, and friends, everyone played a crucial role in making #make48NationalsSeason7 a resounding success. We extend our appreciation for the dedication, inspiration, patience, and laughter that filled the event, acknowledging that none of it would have been possible without the collective effort of all involved.
In the end, the success of Lucky Number 7 Nationals wasn't just about prototypes and competition; it was a celebration of creativity, compassion, and the power of collaborative innovation. A sizzle reel will be released in a few weeks, highlighting the competition weekend. The winners from the 7th championship will be shared in 2024 (late spring), when This Old House Maker Channel (Roku) releases the episodes. To keep updated, follow the news at https://www.make48.com/blog