If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know about the controversy regarding BfB’s attempt to address the younger female market. We pondered this situation: how to get more children (including female) to learn about, experience, desire and grow into 3D makers as they get older?
Discussing this with a friend who has both a 3D printer and young female offspring, we realized that the children don’t care so much about the printer or the hardware. No, instead they are focused on the experience; the result from using the hardware.
At that age they just want to get cool stuff that they like – such as jewelry, buttons, pins, etc. Young girls have such a desire for these things you will find huge chain stores (e.g. Claire’s with 3,000+ worldwide locations) dedicated to addressing that specific need.
That’s what the girls want to make. They don’t care that the printer is pink; they want the experience you get from using one. For the majority of girls, the experience is receiving an object they like, not building a printer.
So we think an answer to attracting young girls to 3D Printing might be to create a repository of things they can print.
Things They Like. Not things that engineers like to print.
Imagine a ten year old girl surfing through today’s version of Thingiverse looking for something she might like. That’s right, she’d have big trouble finding anything of interest, although she would find tons of sophisticated engineering items. Now instead imagine her surfing through a branded site specifically designed for young girls containing hundreds of appropriate items to print – perhaps more items than she would find in her local Claire’s.
This is not unlike the hundreds of websites offering similar visual services for young girls, where girls create different looks by selecting from options presented. It works for these sites; why not for 3D printing? If girls were attracted in this way they would become very familiar with the notion of printing things you need, and this concept would be carried with them forever. They will expect to print things.
Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!
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