So, we made it to the last week. For me, the most important thing we learned regarding the use of online communities is the fact that collaboration does not always cross out individual originality. I am pretty sure that I was not the only person who had the idea that outsourcing one’s issues might make the one seam weak or incompetent in his/her area of expertise. This said, I think it’s safe to say that I discovered a whole new world for assisting my design works in the future.
We learned about crowdsourcing, which I now consider a brilliant idea for both getting out of no-go situations and looking at one’s idea from an endless amount of various angles. Thus, it eliminates the limitation of resources, making pretty much everything possible and every problem solvable. The fact that it enables multiple approaches to one thing makes it possible for the designer to take more factors into consideration (for example cultural and age differences). These key features of using the crowd makes the design more elaborate and well-thought-out.
So crowdsourcing could be considered as the core element of Open innovation, as it implies collaboration with people/instances from all over the world by exposing one’s idea or posting a question for random people to answer.
I was also fascinated by the amount and variety of different tools and widgets some of the platforms have to offer and how convenient they can get. For instance, while researching different tools for effective collaboration, I stumbled upon a platform/website called Meetingspere which had a very interesting and convenient discussion tool. The convenience of this tool comes from the fact that one discussion is split up into multiple topics which can be seen in separate speech bubbles to all the participants of the conversation, allowing them to contribute to and to follow each topic separately, thus creating a structure for all messages sent.
And now to my design principles regarding online communities
- Use every chance to get to know more about the community/network - most of the time the details you need are not obvious
- Explore the range of alternative communities (rather than just researching a fixed one) - some might have better tools for the same functions
- Sometimes you have to “kill your darlings” to make room for better ones - originality is always valuable, but in some cases productivity, accessibility or maintenance-related issues matter more
- Always keep the end customer (all of them) in mind - because it’s his/her need you are trying to fulfill; in online communities this is very important since most of the elderly people are not as good with technology as younger users.
- Do not add anything unless it is absolutely necessary
*some of the principles were inspired by this post
To the next year’s students:
- try as hard as you can to keep up with both the teamwork and the additional links from students/tutors
- taking notes really helps
- keep your documentation/notes/ideas in one place
- dare to ask
- keep in mind that all your group members are different people from different backgrounds