NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2013) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

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What I have leraned in this course

The most important thing I learned about using online communities and networks in innovative design is that one can really find an answer to every question. If there is no existing match in Google try another searching engine, ask in a forum, ask anywhere, ask your fellow students, teachers, mentors, clients someone will have an answer for you. The only thing you have to guess is who might help you best, because that will save loads of time.

For online communities and networks I would suggest the following design principles which are partly developed from our research and teamwork-experience and partly adapted or copied from already existing design principles, like the ten principles for good design of Dieter Rams.

Simplicity
-avoid too much information on the first sight, but who wants to know more should be able to get easy access to the needed information (an example of  the work in our group: we will make an additional report to  the video in order to provide our client Sheila with information on how to apply our                 strategies)

Usefulness
- the developed strategy should not only sound good but actually work, that  affords enough research and if every team member rethinks what somebody has thought of it is more likely to be a strategy that is useful to the organization  than a strategy that only one person has come uo with without doing any research

Honesty
 -The Graphics of the website should represent the aim of the organization
 - Donors have access to information about where the money is used for


Acessability/Understandability
– connecting all existing and new pages and ways of  communication of the community, to make it easy accessible for all kinds of different target groups, people should be able to find information fast and understand it   without more effort than reading, this I why a translation   of the website of Gogorobí Fundation is necessary to  make the information accessible for more people (who do not speak Dutch)


Permanence
- there should be a constant long lasting relationship between investors and the fundation

Innovation
 - the strategies should be different from the way other   people would solve the problem, originality is demanded for getting attention and becoming more popular, this will help the organization to become more popular

Diversity
- never try only one way, always develop different ways  to solve a problem, give people the chance to choose what they think is the way to solve a problem suiting their wishes

Identification                                    
- people can identify themselves with the service or manner how they are adressed, every kind of media deals with different target groups, big companies can be addressed by mail, single persons can be approached more casual, but the approach should always stay serious

 I would tell next year’s class that the course can teach you a lot on how to use internet communities and get to know more ways how to communicate online like on meetingwords, how to improve your teamwork skills, meeting the needs of a real client, work on a project, divide tasks, deal with problems learn to find alternatives and rethink your ideas, discuss ideas and focus. The content of the design you do depends on your project and your creativity. It will be a strategy for a NGO either, branding, fundraising or something similar.

In order to get the most out of the course you have to do your tasks, always be aware why you are supposed to do something and if you have no clue, think of a possible reason. You have to engage yourself and try new things. If you don’t involve yourself you won’t learn anything. Nobody will spoon-feed you the content of the course, you have to make your own experiences but you get support with it and can ask anything you want to.

This course is valuable because we improved our teamwork skills and we learned how o deal with a client. We practiced research and made our first steps in innovation. I experienced how a creative process in a group may look like and how ideas can still be improved by other team members, because everyone always finds something that does not work in  someone else’s idea. This course taught me again that teamwork can be fun and really creative. 

Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

The Toolbox

This week’s assignment is to choose the most important topic of the project community classes we had so far. It is quite hard to pick only one theme of the class that helps our NGO, because Gogorobí Fundation has two unmet needs. So we have to come up with a Fundraising strategy and a strategy to expand the Network. For each of those assignments we have another target group, and that is why we need different tools to get into contact with them and attract their attention. As I talk about these target groups the first step, learning about the forms of communities and later the sizes, already shows that there is not only one topic which is important. As we learned in class to use a spidergram we recognized that there were a lot of needs in our NGO but there were some needs that were more important than others. By that way we discovered for example that projects and acecss to expertise are very important. So the spidergram is a tool that we got to explore and research the needs of our organization better.


The next class taught us a lot about crowdsourcing and online social structures, we recognized that Gogorobí Fundation needs to improve their online network and got as well some Ideas how to use crowdsourcing for the expansion of the network. So that was the first tool that we were given to find solutions.


Later we learned and discussed about group sizes that made us reflect on our own work and aware how other communities might work, I think that was rather a tool to help us improving our teamwork but was not too much related with the goal of helping our NGO with the strategies.


Now we are at the point that we talk about marketing and making a storyboard, the marketing is important for our NGO but the storyboard just for our assignment. The Gogorobí Fundation needs the video, and the storyboard is a tool for our team to make it easier to plan and discuss how we make our video. But marketing is a very important tool for our NGO because they have to find investors and expand theit network, if the would have a bad image no one would like to support them in any way. So our group needs to improve the way the organization is seen by people who don’t know about it and make it more popular. So marketing is a tool that helps us to build up a relationship and attract the people that we found by using crowdsourcing and online social media.

For me it seems impossible to say that one of these tools is the most important to make our goal become true because it is impossible just to work e.g. with the information about group sizes or only the spidergram. Each tool has its own purpose but in the end none of them would be as valuable used separately as they are when they are used as one. One may say that there are tools that help us to find the solutions and that there are tools that help the organization in the end but we may not help the organization if we may not improve the manner of working in our team. This is why I say that it is impossible to chose only one topic that helps the organization.
I see that finally each of the steps we were supposed to take made a sense although it sometimes did not seem to fit our plan. I am until now quite happy with the work of our team, because I do not see, that there is  the typical panic at the end because everything went into the wrong direction and I really hope that it will stay this way and we make our video as we planned it. 

Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

How to make the customer satisfied

There may be lots of reasons why designers refuse to use crowdsourcing, either because it takes a lot of time to research needs, it could stop their own creativity or they don’t see a possibility to use it in their project at all. 

To use crowdsourcing might limit one’s creativity, because there is too much input of ideas and influence from others and you don’t have a “free mind” that can develop absolute new solutions. Or there might be the possibility that others claim your ideas as theirs because you consulted people to give their opinion on your project before you started selling it. But that is a common problem in the creative business that every designer has to handle. Working alone could make you more independent, nobody tells you what to do, and nobody gives you deconstructive criticism. But is that really worth it? I think you have to learn to ignore deconstructive comments, and see the advantage of positive and constructive criticism. Some may say, that it is not your own work, if you had people commenting on your work while you were developing something, but your name may still be connected to your product if you worked alone on a project, or even in a team, or you had a team of designers working for you. Yes, the creative business is not really fair if it comes to the point where people claim names and ideas.


That is why you have to take the right steps, and use other people for your cause. That sounds in a way cruel but that’s what everybody does and it does not mean that you have to steal other people’s ideas. Crowdsourcing may be researching on the internet, as well as just asking your friends and colleagues for advice or their opinion on what you are doing. That is why it is in my opinion not really possible to make a design project without crowdsourcing if you are not working on a very secret project, that not ven your family or friends know about. If you would do that you would have nobody to talk about what you are doing, nobody to share your interests with and that could make you very unhappy. Ideas of other people may not only destroy your imagination but make you even more creative and innovative. Social interaction is fun I think most people would agree that discussing a topic with others is much more fun than sitting alone in your room and think about something alone. However everybody needs time to gather ideas on his own, but that does not mean that brainstorming and developing has to be a process that does not include crowdsourcing. If you are not sure if something works, you consult the internet, Wikipedia on the internet or any other website, that is already crowdsourcing, even if you just open your science book from school. You always use the knowledge and expertise of others. You have to understand that there is no way to succeed alone.


There is a customer that should buy your product, and you are supposed to find out what he needs, that is why you have to consult him. Maybe you have never realized that when you enter a shop and a salesman askes you what you would like to buy, he makes you talk, and you tell him exactly what you want and then he makes you a suggestion and not the other way around. So asking the customer is always the better way to success than telling the customer what he should buy and then he tells you that he does not need your product at all. 

Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

Teamwork and reflection!

In todays blog post I will reflect on how we are working together as a team.What works well is that we communicate regularly who is doing what, people do their tasks and inform the others if they cannot come to a meeting. Everybody has a chance to say what he or she thinks and their opinion is respected.

The challenge of working in a team is that we have to make sure that everybody is doing a similar amout of work, and everybody is satisfied with the decisions we make. But I think this is already working out quite good, though we would maybe sometimes need more input of ideas to discuss. Because the more ideas the bigger the chance that we can pick a great one. Sometimes we have problems to communicate in a group of eight people, because everybody wants to contribute something, so it would be better to divide the group into subgroups. If we come to an agreement in these small groups it will be easier to make a decision in our small community.


That already refers to the size of the group. Our group is quite large for a project, it is not that easy to make a decision that eight people agree with than a decision in which only three people have to agree in one point. Small groups may be leaderless, but the larger a group is the more organization is needed that is the reason why large groups have to have a leader and small groups can be leaderless and the result of the work may be satisfying for every member.Large groups have the advantage of a greater pool of ideas and samller groups can make decisions faster. I found a quite interesting article on this from Oxford Brookes University (http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsld/resources/small-group/sgt103.html).


As we are a group of international students one might think that there might occur problems because we think in a different way. We have indeed different cultural backgrounds, but I do not really recognize that when we are working together. There are the different types of people that usually always appear in groups, we have people that take a more leading role, than others that prefer to wait until someone tells them what to do. But that would be the same in a group with students of just ne nationality. Sometimes communication is difficult, but that is rather a language than a cultural problem. We are all open minded and can thus work well together. Maybe the different ways of thinking make us even more creative.


Sometimes we get off track with fulfilling our tasks, we have difficulties with connecting the main goal with our concept and the goal of the class, this showed up in the “spidergramm-confusiasm”. But we try to manage that, we divide tasks, so that everybody may do something he or she is good at or is interested in. This keeps us being motivated. The different class goals make us change our concept often, but taking a step back must not be a bad thing, as we already learned this often just improves our approach. Today we had a meeting and talked a lot about the introduction of our video, but then realized suddenly that we maybe first should think more about our suggestions how to raise the funds.


In order to improve our work we should maybe first make a statement in every meeting where we are now, then think about what has to be the next step, and at the end of each meeting think about what when well and what did not. We might as well divide tasks in a way that we can work together in pairs. We already tested that today, so did Warisra and me work on the introduction of the video, made a storyboard and chose some photos.
I think it is really important to keep on reflecting our group work further on so that we can constantly improve it !

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Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

What do I use the Internet for?

That is anyhow a question I have never asked myself.
I think I use social media as much as everybody else in my age does. But the platforms for social media change and so did I change them as a user. First just using ICQ for a chat with my friends which is now replaced by the facebook chat. It takes more and more time to care for our social contacts on the internet, because people post a lot of things that are not really important, change their profile picture three times a day and we have to keep on filtering faster and faster what is important and what is not. If you are not able to do that or are easily distracted social media may become a real problem. I often have to tell myself that I don’t have to look that often on what people wrote me on facebook. Facebook as a mostly private network, compared to services like linkedIn has the tendency to really make people become internet-addicted, because you always think, that you miss something important. When I use facebook I usually write with one person, but for teamwork  for example this project communities project it can be very useful to have a group chat for discussing when to have the next meeting. But when using it for discussions about specific questions using a group is more suitable.
Facebook is not only a platform to interact with your “true” friends but as well with your “facebook-friends” for example fellow students or colleagues. At least I think it is better to keep facebook rather private, and interact officially via e-mail.
I don’t think I am interacting with a bigger network than people I know from somewhere, so I never asked anything on public pages or forums, neither did I answer any questions there, but I have to admit that when googeling some questions these forums often have some helpful tips although it sometimes is a lot to read. There are so many different forums at so many pages, for example my highschools homepage, pages with recipes, about cheating in video games at least there are forums about everything. That means I don’t interact with the wider network directly. I am just using information provided by these networks.
All in all I would say that staying in contact and researching are the main things I use the internet for. But I don’t think that researching really causes an interaction in this way because it is very one-sided.
For communication I usually use chats in facebook or WhatsApp. But since I live here in Holland I really started to like Skype. I never was somebody who was hanging on the phone for hours, but actually I am very happy now that technology makes it possible to stay in contact with my family, that I can see and talk to them. 

Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

Spidergram-confusion and social media

The second week working on the project communities project turned out to being very confusing. In the first week we had already figured out how to approach our project, what we needed to research and who would be responsible for which part. We talked over what we had found out shared our documents on our facebook group, already had some answered questions from our contact person in the Gogorobí Foundation. But then there was this assignment to make a spidergram about the needs of the Foundation.  This really confused me, because we had had our plans and now were asked again to make a new kind of diagram showing what would be important to know about the Foundation. It seemed like going one step backwards again to have a look whether we had done everything in the right way and really had thought about which aspects were important and which were not.
Looking at the work of the other groups group two seems t have figured out a quite similar spidergram for the Gogorobí Fundation as our group did, so I think we have done in the right way after discussing the meaning of the assignment for about one and a half hours.
As I have not seen the answers of the questions that the other group asked Sheila Payne (our contact person in the foundation) I cannot say how we could help them or how we can support them with our knowledge and/or skills.


As Mondays class was not only about the spidergram but as well about our digital identity and technological knowledge i would like to say that I am not really sure whether my computer skills my help our group with the preparation of the presentation, because I can work with drawing and photo editing programmes but never would call myself an expert. So if anybody has a question about that stuff you may ask me and I will try to teach you, but I cannot guarantee you that I will have an answer ;)


Furthermore I rejected all social media like facebook, twitter and a lot of others because I did not feel any need of it and I did not want to give all my data away. I have a Facebook account now since about two years and it changed me a lot. I am not sure if in an positive or negative way. I got that account because I wanted to stay in contact with friends who were abroad or living in other cities, and yes it worked, but staying in contact via facebook is completely different from spending time together. Just some month ago I bought my first smartphone. My peers did not understand how I had been able to survive until then but anyhow it worked. I agree that social media and the Internet have a lot of advantages, like groups in which you can share documents without using mail or e-mail. This makes many processes much faster. But as the Video of Fartkid shows you definitely have to use them in the right way because nobody wants his or her future employer to find embarrassing photos or videos or even just comments and that was another reason why I did not want to be on facebook. I did not want anybody to find my Name on Google. The class yesterday just made me think about that this could be at least not bad at all, but then the result of typing in my name into the bar of a searching engine should look somehow positive. The problem is that it is not only me who can influence that result but as well other people, who maybe just post some bad things about me. What I became aware of is that i can influence my digital identity. There are just some questions I am wondering about : Do I really need this digital identity? And if I need it for example for my future career should I build it up for that certain purpose?
I am not able to answer these questions right now, but I am still not really convinced that I am in need for that identity visible for the public right now as a student. Because I refused using these platforms I don’t have that much experience with them, but I am sure there are some social media experts in our group who can improve our teamwork!

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Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

What is it all about and why are communities that important?

Why do we have a class about communities? Why do we have to find a fundraising strategy for a NGO in the Caribbean? Can we really learn that much from this task? 


Communities are everywhere, small ones and large ones, but if you don’t think about the existance of these communities you’ll probably never realize how massive their effect may be on your life. Your family forms a community as well as your friends, you and your colleagues at work or your fellow students. All these are quite small communities, but also inhabitants of a city or a whole country, members of a certain association are part of a community. As they appear apparently everywhere it is important to know how they work and how to make them function and interact in a better way. This knowledge is particularly important for Open Innovators because they have on one hand to be able to work in a team and on the other hand understand how society works. If we are not able to understand the relations and roles of people we will never be able to change or improve them, we will never know which community needs help in a special point or whom we can sell a product. Different communities have different interests and different ways to communicate. Communication changes with the time, our great-grandparents would never have thought that we would one day share our photos and experiences with a smartphone on the internet. So it is not only important to know about the community it’s members and their roles but as well how they communicate, on which way we can catch their attention to make communication really comfortable.

Our Task is to find a fundraising strategy for an NGO that means we have to explore different types of communities, the community of the NGO the community of the fundraisers, the community of the addressees of the NGO, the customers of the Fundraising Company and at least the community of our group. However exploring is just the first step which we already started when we thought about what we would research. We will learn as well a lot of other things like, how to communicate in the right way with a rather unknown community, in this case the NGO. As there should be a video as the end result of this course we will as well learn how to deal with video-making and editing, how to write this blog and surely a lot more, which I still have not realized.

Looking at how we started our work on Monday, we have already learned, that we need a real structure and clear topic when discussing how to go on with our work, so it should be clear what we are talking about. When we have found a solution we can go on with the next point.
I think what I can contribute to this teamwork is that I have a lot of experience with this kind of collaboration from school and already a little idea of editing videos

I really hope this is going to be a great experience and we will learn a lot! 

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Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition

My very first post

Well, hello there, this is my first time using tumblr and writing a blog, so I’m just figuring out how this works.

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Posted in Community, Group 5
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Freddy and the Preservation of Caribbean Tradition