do-ocracy“: ” an organizational structure in which individuals choose roles and tasks for themselves and execute them. Responsibilities attach to people who do the work, rather than elected or selected officials.”  Do-ocracy can arguably maximize independent initiative and belonginginess without incurring the administrative burdens of full democracy. This seems to be e-NABLE’s modus operandi. To quote  Meatball wiki,  people are often happy “to let someone make the final decision provided they understand why that decision was made and that it was the best decision for the best reason.”  

Democracy and do-ocracy depends upon trust. Trust, in turn, depends upon personal relationships and interactions. This is one reason why people meet.   

e-NABLE’s “Prosthetists Meet Printers” conference at Johns Hopkins in 2014 was critical event in forging our relationships and community. I suspect that prioritizing these meetings has been a major factor in overcoming community strife.

Offline meetings, that is, real-world meetings, are part of our emerging infrastructure, as well. But there is no substitute for face to face gatherings, especially for a hands-on community that is so  grounded in human connection.

The first conference since the event at Hopkins in 2014 was EnableCon 2017, hosted by APBLS / Enable Alliance at the University of Maryland College Park from December 13 – 17. It marked the 5th anniversary of e-NABLE by gifting the first Open Source prosthetic hand to a small boy in South Africa. The theme was “State of the Science, Technology and Our Community.” Leadership and skills development allowed participants to reflect on the strengths, resources, and needs in the community. The conference began with the opening of a gallery of images from the past, and a map of nearly 700 chapters and volunteers in the community. Attendees experienced demonstrations of Web Central, bionics work at the Marymound University student chapter, and the perspectives from one of the founders of eNABLE Sierra Leone. A full day of presentations and workshops identified bedrock skills and structure for the community. It included a review of the 12/17 release of FDA guidelines for 3D printing medical devices by FDA representatives, a review of IP and printing prosthetics by Shapeways, discussion of field opportunities and partnerships, and the introduction of five new devices to the community. Planning on 12/17 identified key dates for 2018 goals and launched several working groups, including Recipient and Family Advocacy, Youth Volunteer Advocacy, and Devices R & D.

EnableCon 2018 will be held at the University of Maryland College Park, October 6-8. Citizen scientists and presenters are encouraged to share the stage to present the state of their activities and research. Attendees should experience hands-on training and outline best practices in working groups and as a community before working on a 3-year plan.

Everton Lins is planning a regional conference in Brazil in April, and is working with Ghislain Gauthier of e-NABLE France to explore the possibility of a European e-NABLE meeting in July in Toulouse. The Construct 3D Conference will be held October 5-8 in Atlanta, featuring many e-NABLE speaker and participants. Additionally, there will be an e-NABLE sponsored conference this October [more info to come].

e-NABLE’s online venues deserve an article of their own. Suffice it to say that in addition the e-NABLE GooglePlus community and EnablingTheFuture, there are around a hundred facebook groups and other websites in the e-NABLE ecosystem. Approximately 10,000 messages have been posted in these e-NABLE venues, and I think they are the invisible thread that has held us together. I’m working to aggregate all of the publicly readable content in the Social Stream the Media Map, and at I need a python programming/ system administration person to help me ensure that the scripts I’ve written run regularly and reliably on the web.


Founder, e-NABLE.

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