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week 8

Throughout my research, the most important thing I have learned about using online communities and networks in innovative design is crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, you are collecting money to start up any project imaginable. I found some really surprising causes since I first discovered crowdfunding. There are people even making crowdfunding hoaxes. Since anyone can sign up, you can put up anything on there (unless they’re removed for being inappropriate). The point is, literally anyone can start a project if people are willing to back it up.

There are some examples of those hoaxes in this link: 

My main design principle would be simplicity. Everything these days should be direct and plain. A visual example is how logos are slowly switching back to 2D designs. Microsoft changed their logo into four simple colored squares. Apple has always been going for the simple look but even their logo went down to a 2D image from their previous, simple, 3D version. A break from routine is also great. Thinking outside the box and being simple is what attracts people these days. With just these two, you could already gather a broad community or network. And last but not least of these principles is efficiency. With everything running like a well-oiled machine, people are more likely to be a part of a community or network.

One thing I would tell next year’s class about this course is you need to get used to being outside of your comfort zone in terms of doing research and marketing. There are definitely more efficient ways to execute a marketing strategy than you would think. I was surprised at how fast things are going with technology because of this course. I would say to get most out of it, you need to be open to new ideas. Thinking outside the box and being open to new ideas is very valuable since there are always new surprises throughout the course. 


Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich

week 7

I think one of the most useful themes for Solidaridad is personal branding. Solidaridad needs to have a more personal connection with people who support it as well as a recognized image. For example, Solidaridad is not as known as The Fairtrade Foundation. They do not seem to be active in the market. Once in a while, you will find products with the Fairtrade logo or even see the Fairtrade logo on different advertisements on the streets. Solidaridad seems to be unknown. Just on Facebook, Fairtrade has over 100,000 likes while Solidaridad has a little under 2,000 likes. The logo for Fairtrade is also very recognizable, simple, and has the letter “F” visible in it. 

Another theme is crowdfunding. Solidaridad could need to get donations through advertisements. They could also do what WWF does, have people gather donations on foot. This gives people one on one interaction with someone who knows about WWF and they could also get their questions answered on the spot if they have anything to ask about WWF. They could also ask what is their money going to specifically. This really gives WWF a good image because it shows people are motivated and interactive, as well as helpful. The WWF jackets they wear also show the company’s logo. A white background with black shapes that form a panda. This is a simple and minimalistic logo, yet people immediately recognize it and this relates to the topic of personal branding.

WWF and Fairtrade have an image, Solidaridad seems unknown and they do not have a “hip” image. Most of the images of people working in Solidaridad look like they are in their mid 40s and up. If they had a group of people in those images who are in their 20s, it would appeal to younger people who would like to contribute to their cause. 

Crowdsourcing could also play a big role. Solidaridad could gather people who are willing to help them and put in their ideas too. People who have experiencing in farming could even work for Solidaridad. They could teach others how to farm and they could even travel to the countries that need support. There are also those who could have experience in advertising. A whole group of people who have intelligent, witty, or brilliant ideas in terms of advertising could go a long way. 

In conclusion to this blog, the main thing our NGO needs to work on is personal branding. They have the financial means to support their cause. However, having a recognized image could bring their game up to a whole new level. 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich

crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

The pros of crowdsourcing is that with a targeted audience, you have a group of potential buyers for your product too. A group of people who are gathered because of a product are more likely to buy it. This is also because they put in some effort or ideas too. This is one of the biggest advantages for a company. Essentially, they can build something created by the customer.
The company could then take out whichever idea they like to make their product. Phonebloks is a good example of their use of crowdsourcing. A group of people who are interested in this concept put in their ideas which is coming to life. The concept of Phonebloks is that they are smartphones which have different components like an audio output, microphone, flash, camera, etc. The only difference is, these things can be arranged behind the phone in which ever way is more comfortable to the user, like Lego blocks. 
These ideas are now coming to life because of their use of crowdfunding too. They gather money from those who are interested, and those who’s ideas it was in the first place. Those who are interested are probably grouped together because of crowdsourcing. This could be due to blogs or any website in general which shows new potential products for the future. Their products will also spread to people who weren’t interested before. Or those who had no idea such a thing could ever exist such as myself. I had no idea this existed but once I found out about it, I realized that it was all created by people who are interested in designing such an amazing thing. I now also became a potential buyer. 
Because of this, there is no crowdfunding without crowdsourcing. Both go hand in hand. 

There are of course cons in crowdsourcing. I would think the hardest thing is to find the right people who are interested in these products. Especially products which might not relate to anything at all since they are all new to this century/generation. However, for products which are relatively famous, this is not really a problem. Almost everything that exists has some sort of facebook group or website dedicated to those things. There is also the possibility of “junk” ideas which is hard to filter out in a large group. For better ideas to come together, the crowdsourced group should be a lot smaller and a lot more dedicated with their ideas and opinions.

In general, crowdsourcing is a good thing. The ideas you can get from other people is always good. Companies can really benefit from such a low budget thing. If they are willing to pay to find a source, such as in the form of advertisement, then they can do that too. But with the internet, crowdsourcing is really doable since people there are a lot of people out there who most likely share the same interests.


Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich


One of the things working well in our team is how we split into different, smaller groups. This gives us a chance to work one on one with another person based on our task. With this approach on an assignment, it’s much easier to get work done. With a group bigger than 2, there’s a chance that someone will stop working and let the other people do all the work. Once all our little teams finish their tasks, we can all come together and show the rest what we’ve done. 

One of the biggest challenges is actually figuring out the assignment in a small group. Once we figure it out, it’s easy to work on the task and keep that momentum going. Figuring out the approach in groups of twos is what’s hard at first if nobody gets it. 

Culture plays a big role too. From work ethics to understanding the assignment due to difficulties with a language. However, having different cultures within a group offers a diverse approach towards a task and this could help any group stand out. It’s all about understanding the task and how to execute them properly. 

One of the things I would do differently is to stop the constant meeting with the whole group. I think meeting with your partner for your task should be done more regularly than meeting with the whole group since meeting with everyone causes chaos and confusion. If we could work with our partners constantly, then occasionally meeting with our whole group and telling them what we’ve all come up with, we could work more efficiently since being with a large group is sort of a waste of time. To back that statement up, I realized I could do more in an hour with my partner than 3 hours with the whole group. Being in a large group gives us the chance to sit back and do nothing while the rest works. Being in a small group means you build a relationship with your partner to to point you can tell him/her what he/she is doing wrong and how they could improve it. The communication is much better with a small group. 

With this being said, I think that every small group should simply show the rest what they’ve done, then get on with their work and meet occasionally. the more frequently the whole group comes together, the longer it takes to get anything done. 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich

my network

I use online spaces primarily even though I don’t interact with people that much online. Occasionally, I chat with people on Facebook, however I don’t really do it so often.

I do share my music on Facebook and this is a huge part of my network in my “scene”. Those who are a fan of the music genre/ scene I am in use these online tools for events or for keeping contact. Many of the people in the “goa” scene travel a lot since this is one of the biggest parts of goa culture and one way to keep in contact is online (even though you do find those hippies who don’t believe in the internet). There are also websites like Couchsurfing where people keep in contact with their guests. This is a website in which your profile could be synced up to Facebook too. It shows how Facebook has sort of become our ID in the online world. 

I also interact with a wider network. After living in different countries and experiencing different cultures and having different hobbies, I tend to adapt along the way with anything I do. This gave me a chance to have a broad network with people around the world from people who I went to school with in international schools. Now I really enjoy meeting new people and getting to know more about where they are from and what they are interested in. I could take up a new interest in what they do or maybe share my own interests. 

However, with this being said, I’m still more comfortable with the people of the goa scene and that network and I also value this very much. I could easily connect and communicate with these people and share different ideas as well as learning from them. Everyone in this scene seems to be forward thinking people. 

As for tools, the main form of communication is through the internet. This helps with music promotion and event promotion. Some events also have a cause which could relate to saving the environment or even have lectures about anything from theoretical physics to lectures about our consciousness and religion. 

In conclusion, the networks I am involved with mainly use the internet as a form of communication and keeping the communication going. This is also a way to promote any event they have too. Everyone seems to be “registered” in the internet. 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich

Technology and me

When it comes to using any software, I think I am most comfortable around Ableton Live. It is a music production software. I use this to perform live music sets or to produce music at home. I kind of know how to use Photoshop but I still have a lot to learn. I would also like to know how to use video editing softwares. 
In terms of online tools, I think I am pretty comfortable with working online. However, I was pretty impressed with Google Hangout, so I guess I still have a lot to learn about online tools. 
What I do know could probably help the other group, however it might only be useful in the end. For now, I can continue doing research about Solaridad. 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich

My first blog

How do you understand our class goals?

We can understand our class goals by sharing our thoughts to one another. This can create different points of views which we can all think about. With different perspectives on our class goals, we can see which one is the most reasonable and work from there. 

What do you need and want to learn as you/we explore the different themes from application of online communities and networks to open innovation design?

I would like to learn about other ways to communicate with one another. Facebook is clearly the easiest way to get messages across and keeping up to date with what people are up to, but Google Hangout was definitely an eye opener for me. It looked like there was a bit of a struggle with connecting with one another but otherwise, it seemed fast and simple, which is really handy. 

What would you like the outcome of your team’s project to look like?

I would like the outcome of our project to be as professional as possible. Everyone should know their role and put in as much effort as they could possible without overdoing it and making a mess. A nice clean project would also give a good impression on what our team is like. So far communication is there and so is motivation, I hope we can keep this up until the very end. 

What “specialty quality” will you bring and contribute?

One special quality I can bring and contribute is producing music. The music I produce could be put in videos and I could even make the sound fit the theme of the video. Another quality I have is drawing. I am very aware of different light sources in sketches or drawings as well as vanishing points. With these skills, I can draw many things to scale and even make it pop up with shading and light sources. 

I am looking forward to working with such a motivated team!

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Zakk Ulbrich