FailFast: Come and Play with Ideas on Makers’ Day, part of Belfast Design Week

Twitter FailWhale Artistic Painting
Artistic interpretation of the classic FailWhale, celebrating the inevitability of failure in the fast-moving tech world. Source: ka-92

Fail fast, fail cheap.

Or is it “fail fast, fail often”?

On Saturday, 7 Nov we’re uniting with some of our friends, including The Design Salon and The Potting Shed, for an all-day event, as part of the first ever Belfast Design Week. You’re invited to join us in a creative, hands-on, welcoming environment, as we all take the journey from idea to soup.

Event Summary: Sat 7 Nov 2015 // 10:00 until late (12:30 – 16:00 at Farset) // Register here: FailFast: Makers’ Day Field Trip to Farset Labs // It’s all FREE OF CHARGE.

Yes, soup. We will begin the day at The Hive, venture over to Farset in the afternoon, then end up back at The Hive for a pitching session, while we enjoy some hot refreshment with Belfast Soup. Mmm, soup.

Then we’ll all go to the pub. Mmm, beer.

That Saturday of Design Week is designated as Makers’ Day so roll up your sleeves and come f*@k things up with us. You don’t need to consider yourself a designer or maker to get value out of the day. It’s a good chance to make some smart, creative friends and take part in the fascinating process of developing ideas.

Here’s the planned Itinerary:

  • 10:00 – 12:00: The Potting Shed @The Hive : Bring your new or existing idea to the Potting Shed team and get their multidisciplinary input on how to make it happen or bring it to its full potential.
  • 12.30: Walk from The Hive to Farset Labs.
  • 13:00 – 16:00: FailFast @ Farset Labs: taking the ideas and designing prototypes to see how they might function in reality.
  • 16:00: Walk back from Farset Labs to The Hive.
  • 17:00 – 19:00: Belfast Soup @ The Hive: Buy some soup and pitch your ideas for the chance to win some startup money to make it happen!
  • 19:00 – Collapse: Drinks at The Sunflower.

And here is the official page and links to register for other parts of the day.

For our part, we’re going to focus on that challenging step in the creative process where you have to get your idea out of your head and into the world so it can be given a chance to fail. During the workshop we’ll talk about what prototyping involves, and look at the recent revolution in rapid prototyping, assisted by technologies like 3D printers and the internet. Then we’ll stop talking and play – making simple prototypes with paper and pen and whatever we have to hand.

You can come to all or just part of the day’s events. Or just meet us in the pub in the evening. Mmm beer. There’s no charge but please register if you’re coming so we know the numbers. And we’re seeking techie, creative and communicative people to be in the room to help facilitate progress – please contact me if you can help.

We’re calling it FailFast to resurrect an old project that never got much momentum. I guess you could say it failed, rather fast. But that’s the whole point. There’s a popular sentiment in the entrepreneurial world that failure is a big part of innovation and creativity. So much so that it has become trendy. Most ideas don’t grow into anything substantial. Most startups collapse. The important thing is to try – develop your idea, get your prototype out into the world, see if it works and iterate on its development, and do so as quickly and cheaply as possible. It will probably fail so if you want something to succeed, fail fast, fail cheap and fail often. So yeh, we’re calling it FailFast.

Oh, and it rhymes with Belfast. Sort of.

24-Hour Comics Day: Tell Your Own Story

Farset Labs will be hosting 24 Hour Comics Day in Belfast – a world-wide event to create comics in 24 hours.

Scott McCloud presents at Geraphic Storytelling Festival in 2011
Scott McCloud presents at Graphic Storytelling Festival in 2011

Have you ever wanted to create your own comic?

Take the 24-hour comics challenge, bring some pens/pencils and paper, and complete a full comic in a single day – add to the rich seam of graphical 24-hour story-telling founded by comics legend Scott McCloud and continued as an annual global phenomenon every year in October:

Other comics artists and writers will be there throughout the day. Some scanning/photography equipment will be available for final submission to the 24-Hour Comics Day web-site. Free Wi-Fi will be available to all participants, plus you can chill out in our games lounge!

Snacks and drinks will also be on offer, so please consider making a small donation to the venue in return. Doors will open at 10am on Saturday 4th October, and participants are free to come and go throughout.

Register now via Eventbrite

Come along and create a wordless graphical narrative, or write a text-piece with a visual flow. Even if you don’t think you can create plot, find someone who can. Most importantly: create something 🙂


Forbidden Planet Belfast are kindly donating a raffle prize for the event, and we will have some art supply spot prizes for some of the cool ideas expected to manifest themselves


There is a great (if very long) guide to surviving a 24-Hour comics event available at the following link:

Many thanks to Patrick Brown of and Ann Harrison of for their help!

Creativity Month, and the Need for Cross-Pollination

Design is often neglected: Kyle Gawley from GetInvited
Design is often neglected: Kyle Gawley from GetInvited

This past month, we’ve been involved in DCAL’s Creativity Month, in association with Creativity NI.

This allowed us to experiment with ways to bring the general maker and creative community together, through our Makers Meetup programme (which we’ll be continuing as a basic social event), the Bring and Buy sale (that was decimated by unprecedented weather), and our upcoming DIY Guitar Pedal Workshop (which still have spaces available if you order quickly! We have to close sales tomorrow!).

We’ve also been getting involved in other Creativity Month events; I went to Blick Studios Creative Camp. There was a fantastic array of speakers and activities (And Munchies!), and while I had to dart off soon after lunch (Due to our Club Mate arrival…), I was honoured to be speaking about our little lab.

As with most speaking events, the Q&A is often more interesting than the speaking; one of the thrusts of my discussion was the siloed nature of Northern Ireland’s Creative and Technical Industries; Web Developers talk to Web Designers, Typographers talk to Graphic Artists, and Electronics-heads talk to Radio-heads, but rarely do these silos of talent and experience actually get pierced and mixed.

I suppose if there was an ‘aim’ for Farset, from my perspective, it is to provide an even ground for these silos to interact on. Between our Gathering of Lightning member-driven speaker series to our varied range of hackathons, we are trying to make people mix, because that’s where the best ideas come from; the intersection of two (or more) experience spaces.

Andrew Bolster, waxing lyrical
Andrew Bolster, waxing lyrical

That’s why I would implore you to get involved in what we’re trying to do. This isn’t about software or electronics or computers or gaming or whatever. This isn’t about making money; we’re all running on passion (and Caffeine!). This isn’t about stealing people’s ideas or scooping up equity. This isn’t about chasing funding at the expense of your ethics.

At its core it’s about sharing knowledge, experience, and inspiration across the full range of STEAM* areas for not just the ‘next generation’ with our CoderDojo and Outreach programmes, but also the current and past generations of industry leaders in the creative and technical arts.

Creativity Month was a risk for us to take on; we’re not an art house, we are a collective of the “Creative-Technically Minded”, which doesn’t exactly make it easy to tick bureaucratic boxes and stay honest…

The act of creation and ideation is universal across art and science and engineering and business. Aspects from one area can complement and enhance others.

Only through mixing the melting pot of talent we have in this wee country do we have a hope of a prosperous, and happy, shared future. So please, get involved. Join the labs, Come to an Event or Workshop, or even just share this page to someone you think needs a bit of inspiration.

Thank you.


*Science, Technology, Engineering/Entrepreneurship, Art and Mathematics