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Spark: A space for social innovators to combine ideas with networks

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Spark Workshop on e-NABLE

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Workshop will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early. 
Reception to follow at 8:00 p.m.

Warren Hall, Room 208
1125 Amsterdam Avenue
(between 115th and 116
th Street)

e-NABLE fulfills recipients’ need for affordable and easy to access devices. It is a diverse network of volunteers who use 3D printing to provide upper-limb prosthetics to differently-abled children and adults around the world. e-NABLE has developing relationships with prosthetists and other health care providers as well as academic and research institutions, including Rochester Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins and Creighton universities. In addition, international initiatives with NGOS and other groups are underway to provide greater delivery of prosthetics to underserved populations in developing lands as well as in areas experiencing conflict and the effects of natural disaster.

e-NABLE's volunteers members do the majority of the work, donate their time, supplies and expertise to make a child's life better. Those involved in the organization are offered potential for growth and fulfillment through creative, meaningful philanthropic activity. They also develop rewarding relationships with beneficiaries and their families and are able to directly see the practical results of efforts.

Please see below:

Because the organization relies on donated labor, machinery costs and supplies, the costs in the current model are minimal. 
In order to take advantages of opportunities and interest in expanding e-NABLE's services and distribution of devices, they would need to consider costs related to:

  • Staffing for oversight, administration, training and advanced technology to database our movements
Locations, either several central or other as-needed in hubs or co-spaces
In-house printing capacity, including printers, plastics and other supplies, to be made-available on walk-in and other bases.
  • Export of printing capacity to international sites, including those that may not be able to easily implement 3D printing both due to expense, remoteness and political instability
Training and training personnel to instruct volunteers who seek to make devices under their own auspices or those who become self-serve customers

Finally, the unique nature of the community allows members open exchange of ideas leading to growth of offshoots and initiatives building on shared goals as well as personal growth.

Part of the mission of the organization is to increase knowledge among potential recipients on how to produce prosthetics using purchased or community-based printers. They also hope to use the example of their enterprise culture to inspire others to come together for meaningful social innovation.

Areas of discussion:

  1. What revenue strategies should e-NABLE follow to become financially self-sustaining?
  2. How best can the organization move away from individually funded/donated resources?
  3. What types of operational processes does e-NABLE need to consider as it moves from a digital community to a physical community?
  4. Will aspects of their value-proposition suffer – if so, which ones and why?
  5. How can e-NABLE better measure and market its impact?

About e-NABLE

e-NABLE identifies itself with the Maker Movement and was inspired by two strangers (a prop maker from the USA and a carpenter from South Africa) who came together from 10,000 miles apart – first, to create a device for the injured carpenter himself, and then to create one for a small child in South Africa. They then gave the plans away – for free, so that those in need of the device could make them for themselves or have someone make it for them.

What originally started out as a couple of guys who created something to help one child in need has grown into a World-wide movement of tinkerers, engineers, 3D print enthusiasts, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students, teachers and people who just want to make a difference.

Links to e-NABLE's YouTube can be found here:


Spark provides Social Innovators with an opportunity to explore resources, connections and potential solutions to help their social ventures, by tapping the collective knowledge within Columbia University, and the larger entrepreneurial and social impact community in the New York area and beyond.

This workshop is open to all who are willing to bring their ideas, experience, and connections to help solve social and environmental challenges that these social innovators aim to address.



If you are unable to attend the above events but would like more information on Spark, please register for our mailing list.

For more information, or if you would like to suggest a future Spark workshop, please contact:
Diana Rambeau:

This event is supported by the Social Enterprise Program, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center and the Social Enterprise Club at Columbia Business School.

November 18th, 2014 from  6:30 PM to  8:30 PM
Phone: (212) 854-1649