Preview: Expanding Fab Academy educational content: "How to manage a Fab Lab"


Many members of the Fab Lab community have asked for training in setting-up and running a Fab Lab, not just from a technical perspective, but from a management and sustainability perspective. Fab Academy currently features a semester-long, 20-module diploma course packed with technical topics and skill building. This Fall, in response to requests, we plan to pilot a program in ”How to manage a Fab Lab”. A workgroup chaired by Klaas Hernamdt (, supported by the International Fab Lab Association working with staff and members of the Fab Academy is designing a complementary training program to handle the demand for Fab Lab set-up and management skills. This document gives you a preview of the pilot managerial training program and asks for your feedback. Based on your feedback, the workgroup will complete its design efforts including a budget and price range. The workgroup intends to start this pilot program in September 2012.


The workgroup considered the grand design underlying the current Fab Academy as useful for the new training program as well. It implies:

  • The program aims at bachelor level, first year.
  • The program is modular in nature; it consists of 20 weekly modules.
  • The participants are organized in local groups, convening in a Fab Lab.
  • Each module starts with a central lecture via video teleconferencing, followed by de-centralized learning activities guided by a local coach.
  • Progress will be measured through all modules.
  • It is possible to follow separate modules with / without certificate.

There also will be differences:

  • The lecturer may vary by topic. The local coach will be the same person during the whole program.
  • Each weekly module consists of a teleconference lecture, followed by individual learning activities, collaborative learning activities within the local group and/or between local groups.
  • At the end of the program each participant will produce an individual paper/thesis.


The new training program “How to manage a Fab Lab” consists of the following 20 weekly modules:

  • Introduction
    • Getting to know each other
    • Overviewing the Fab Lab community
  • Setting-up a Fab Lab
    • Surveying an existing Fab Lab
    • Identifying target groups
    • Defining products and services
    • Specifying processes and resources
    • Developing scenarios and budgets
    • Completing your master plan
  • Running a Fab Lab
    • Securing organizational health and safety
    • Managing the client perspective
    • Managing the internal processes
    • Improving the sustainability
    • Developing a new service
    • Developing a learning experience
    • Preparing your annual plan and setting-up control mechanisms
  • Changing a Fab Lab
    • Analysing the organization
    • Changing the organization
    • Upgrading a Fab Lab
    • Participating in the Fab Lab community
  • Conclusion
    • Concluding and looking forward


The workgroup sees the proposed training program as a service of high value. Therefore, it considers the program as an income generator for participating Fab Labs and suggests a fee of EUR 5,000 per participant. The workgroup recommends to provide scholarships both at the level of participating Fab Labs and centrally.


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