Emilio Velis, serving as the executive director of the Appropedia Foundation, brings a wealth of expertise in sustainability and international development. His work encompasses various facets of the open movement aiming to create social impact. Emilio initiates a vital conversation that dives into the essence of documenting and highlights its significance in the context of knowledge transfer.

As Emilio describes, documentation is the process by which different motivations try to explain a series of statements that reflect facts about the world as experiences and narratives. Open-source documentation aims to facilitate collaboration and humanize the process by bridging connections between individuals. Thus, creating a chain reaction which begins by: an idea written down, to creation, implementation, utilization, and ultimately finding solutions. Documenting presents an opportunity for others to understand and appreciate the shared knowledge. In addition, the personal value each contribution holds can motivate others to think critically, build upon ideas, and explore alternative possibilities. In essence, this paves the way for the development of digital gardens.

Documentation is not just a method meant for others but also for oneself. As Emilio states, “Documentation is a love story from your past self”. The process of writing and recording cultivates good communication skills when ‘making things that make sense’. The art of documentation allows individuals to capture and preserve knowledge. It serves as a repository of insights, experiences, and lessons learned. Individuals must organize their thoughts, clarify their ideas, and articulate their concepts in a way that makes sense to others. Such practice cultivates good communication skills and enhances the ability to convey complex ideas coherently and understandably.

In addition to communication skills, it promotes reducing organizational gaps as documentation plays a crucial role in collaborative environments. When working with a team, clear and well-documented processes, guidelines, and project documentation ensure everyone is on the same page. It enables seamless knowledge transfer, facilitates collaboration, and reduces dependency on specific individuals. Proper documentation allows team members to be more streamlined, understand each other’s work, build upon existing knowledge, and work together effectively.

Through documentation there is a dialogue between the maker and the community at different stages of processes. Opening up to the idea of distributing one’s wealth of knowledge throughout the stages invites the community to provide input and ask questions sparking a discourse that shapes the project’s direction. The community can then offer valuable insights, identify potential pitfalls, and suggest alternative approaches, influencing the maker’s decisions for the better.

Makerspaces should encourage the dissemination of diverse perspectives and expertise, fostering a collective and collaborative approach to problem-solving. In aiming to democratize access to information it enables individuals to share their insights, methodologies, and practical know-how with others, enhancing the collective intelligence of a community

Please take a moment to watch Emílio’s makerspace mentoring video below.

Looking for more inspiration on Critical Making? Check out more resources HERE.


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