Help needed: Where do you share your hack?

I’m sure you’re a hacker. Yes, you. I am sure you already hacked something at least once in your life. You don’t believe me?

Remember when you were on a picknick without your pocket knife and used a long toothed key to cut your tomato? Remember when you …..

Sometimes, such hacks are not only moment-savers, but they lead to something new, something improved, something cost-saving. Something that may help other people too.  Or something that is just funny. So why not sharing?

Indeed, you find quiet a bunch of platforms on the internet where people share their hacks. Like Ikea Hacks, Mom (and Dad) Hacks, Lego HacksLawn Mower Hacks, or MacGyverismsBut what about hacks from and for work?

During my PhD I was known as the person who hacks Western Blotting protocols, cutting the running time to half. I taught some other people how to achieve this face-to-face, but as human interactions normally are limited, it did not spread widely. As many other good-to-brilliant ideas by many other creative people did too.

I remembered this when I recently read an article: Cooking, Nursing and Making: Harnessing Tacit Knowledge for Discovery and Innovation. It talks about a platform for nurses sharing their hacks.

Now, as then, nurses are loaded with this kind of tacit knowledge and insight – hard-won observations from the trenches about what is needed and useful. Every day, working outside the limelight of the “professional” innovation discussion, they are quietly fabricating solutions to many challenges on the front lines of patient care.

The question is how to channel and amplify all of that latent creativity to best effect. That’s just what MIT researchers Jose Gomez Marquez and Anna Young, at the Little Devices Lab are attempting to do with MakerNurse – a project that brings together nurses with the right support and tools to unlock their tacit insights and give expression to their creative solutions.

So I got curious: Do other professionals share their hacks too? I am not talking about Best Practices or Standard Procedures or list of resources, I am talking about how to do it, how to improve it, how to hack it. Tacit knowledge.

I started with the field I am familiar with: Bio lab work. That’s what I found:

  • 25 real lab hacks on a biotechnology company website (and they’re good)
  • Some conversation on reddit about hacks but difficult to read
  • A platform claiming to share wisdom on lab issues (some good articles but most of it are basic explanations, not hacks)
  • The Biohacking Laboratory (2013-2014) of the Medical Museum in Copenhagen (check out their self-made centrifuge :-))
  • And a handful of blog posts with some tips.

That’s all? Really? Please tell me that’s not true. Please help me- do you know platforms on the internet enabling people to share their work-related hacks, their experiences, their tacit knowledge? Do YOU share knowledge, and where?

Picture taken from Medical Museum

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