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WEEK 8

Looking back at all themes that we have discussed and discovered, I can tell, that when it goes to online communities and using them in innovative designing, I have learnt a lot.

First of all, I got to know how they work and how useful it is to be a part of an online community. When you ‘belong’ to one, your life and work as a designer, can be easier and more efficient. You can get many information, help and support. People, who are interested in the same subject that you are, are part of the community you belong to, are willing to help, share their knowledge and experience, which may help you in creating very innovative designs.

I was really surprised by the fact, that so many people use online communities and networks to improve their work. Even simple research or asking a few question to right people can give you many insights and ameliorate your design. They also help you to start with the project, to know what are your ‘ideal clients’ expectations and needs. I think that if you want your design to be succesful, it is really important to be aware of existing online communities, how important they are in innovative design and how can you use those making your designs.

When it goes to design principles and adapting them to online communities, I think that the most important is to make the design simple, easy in use and nice for the eye. If the design itself has to many ‘options’ and ‘possibilities’ it may become too complicated to use, which may couse people’s aversion and they may not be willing to use those. That is why, I think that combining simple but effective project with elegant appearance is the most important.

To the next year students:

The course itself may teach you a lot. You will probably feel confused for first 4 weeks, but do not worry, it has happened before. During project community classes, you will learn how to work for a real client, how to create and design the solutions that he/she needs, but first of all you will learn how to start all that procces. What is also very important, you will be forced to work in teams, which is something, that shows how important is that you have people around you, who have the same goals but may have different ideas.It teaches you how to work not by your own, but with others, how to share ideas, agree or disagree with them, argument your rights, divide your work into every members of team, do assignments on time, be responsible for all team, not only for yourself. And that is what I will ‘take with me’ as the course ends. I am really happy that I have learnt so much and I am proud of my team and my teammates as we are getting our project done.

Advices:

Do not waste your time on doing nothing, trust me, start doing things, as early as possible and do not wait for answers from your client (assuming you have some) because it may never come and the project has to be done anyway. I will also focus more on the teamwork itself, at the beginning of the  project, not at the end, as we have done this year.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Karolina's Project Community Thoughts

WEEK 7

Looking into themes which we were discovering, getting to know and discussing, I think that the one, which could help us (our NGO) the most, would be crowdsourcing.

As the challenge is to improve the platform which they are using to exchange information, experiences and knowledge, between those ten centres all over the world, I think that crowdsourcing could be very helpful to us.

First reason, why I chose crowdsourcing is that it allows to collect information, ideas from others and may be used via internet. If we want our project to target some specific group, or if we have to solve some of problems that community has, crowdsourcing can be used. It gives us opportunity to get to know what the problem is, how it should be solved and what are people’s expectations and actual needs.

Second one, is that, by crowdsourcing we can get needed services. In our case, the platform which NGO is using, has been already stated and created. But if we had to decide on our own and actually create one, I think that we could always turn to (for example) some online community, which would like to helps us in creating one.In that way, we could get a service done by people who care about the project and have needen knowledge and experience.

Third one, may be fact that crowdsourcing also helps to ‘start’ companies or charities, in that case NGO. You can get information about what is needed, what and how  should be done. Let’s say that somewhere in the world, there is a problem with (again, for example) supply chains, people do not have money, knowledge and resources to produce those in the sustainable way, but have good conditions to do so. By crowdsourcing, you can get to know, that the problem exists, find people who the problem concerns and also those, who want to change the situation. In that way a large community can be established and even  an organization willing to ‘fight’ with the problem.

Starting the project, the most important thing for us was to get answers to our questions, which we had to the NGO itself. We wanted to know, how the system of communication works now, what are their main problems, what works well, what should be improved etc. We needed information to know exactly how the result of the project should look like, what we are expected to do. We did not have enough time to ‘crowdsource’ all the information on our own, so we decided to ask Maarten, but we still have not recived the answers, so we simply based our work on assumptions that we have done.

Our solution to the problems they have will be a project of the platform, proposition of how it should look like, what options it should have, what type of information would it give, how could people find what they need or want to find, also how, where they can add things that they have done (experiences and knowledge). We decided that this is the best way to have the assignment done. As we had to face with problems like lack of communication, user’s friendliness and user’s experience, we think that giving them a design of platform which is esay to use, simple but professional will be the best option. We will also do a report (essay) giving the information why and how we decided to do things in that particular way, and what influenced our decisions.

There is some time left. so we are still working on it and improving, to make it the best :).

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WEEK 6 GROUP WORK

This is our group work, that we have done during classes on Monday.

http://www.crowdfunder.com/

The Crowdfunding site is one of the biggest crowdfunding spaces available for companies. This traffic allows for a higher probability that a given project will get funded. However, the success of the campaign is not dependent solely on the size of the platform, but how you utilize the community that already supports your cause. Tackling the issues of intranet implementation is one of our key goals (refer to the spider diagram for the importance and relevance of the aspects of this challenge). Another factor with crowdfunder, is the system of failure and success. Failed projects return the money and this could be seen as a waste of time attemped vs the eventual offset return of just investing in the project internally. The intranet system is for the company and although it will help the company communicate and improve the efficiency, we don’t foresee this being a good motivator for people to invest in soildaridad.

http://www.indiegogo.com/

The site has categories for different project you can fund, including food, environment and health. This targeting will help Solidaridad attract specific donors who are simply passionate about the cause. Indiegogo also has a great reputation and a number of success stories that make it a trustworthy site.

Indiegogo does a better job with ecological and sustainable projects. Sections under food - for example - raise money towards a peanut butter brand which with every pot purchased, a permanent amount goes towards aid packets in developing countries. This sort of system could work very well for Soildaridad in more regional based projects, however, after reviewing these sites, our group has decided that these sites are fairly irrelevant to the challenge define, as not many will be willing to donate towards making a companies inner working more efficient. However, they could be used by Solidaridad to aid their future goals of sustainability and proper business practice by 2050.
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Crowdsourcing&Crowdfunding

It is not the first time, that I heard terms ‘crowdsourcing’ and ‘crowdfunding’, but I must say that this is the first time, when I actually took some time to get to know and explore what they exactly mean. We have done that during our group work and I have also looked for some information about it on my own. That research helped me in making conclusions.

I think that crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are important, not only if it goes to designs, but it can also be very helpuf in getting any kind of information or dividing work (by finding people who really want to do this).

The main pros of crowdsuorcing is fact, that you can get a lot of help and feedback from people. Of course, the process doesn’t have to occur online, but it is very easy and fast way to find the information, that we are looking for. For example if you have an idea, you want to design something, but you have some hesitations, you can always turn to other people, who are interested in that, particular subject, have knowledge or experience in that field, or are people who you are aiming your project to. Crowdsourcing gives opportunity to obtain needed services, ideas or content. You can get to know what is needed (in what form your design may be used), what are the demands.

Crowdfunding also is helpful in bringing your design to life. It is an often situation, that somebody has an idea, but doesn’t have money to realize it. Crowdfunding lets us find a large group of people, who are interested in supporting our idea. You don’t have to go to bank and ask for a loan or a credit. You can find financial support, searching for people who are interested in that specific field and consider your idea and design as worth investing. It works for no only for individuals, but also for companies and NGOs.

I think that if you want to be a successful innovator, you should not do everything on your own. It is impossible to have and know all the things that are needed to invent something and put it into our life (come up with an idea, design, money and everything else). Even if you do have all of those, looking for a feedback is also important. It can show that there’s an audience and market for the project and it also engages audience into your design, even into every stage of it.

Cons of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding may be facts that somebody may steal your idea while presenting it to people. Or you can fail while meeting campaign goals, people may get to know about it and be affraid to trust you. You may also feel overwhelmed if you realise, that there is so many things that you still have to find out, information to collect, research to do, financial support to find etc.

However, I think that it is worth trying. If you believe in yourself, you’ll become very successful and crowdfunding and crowdsourcing surely will help you in that.

:)

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WORK TEAMS-week 5 assignment

Working in teams, from definition, should be better and easier than working as an individual.

Work, that has to be done, can be divided into  members of group, so  everybody is responsible for some part of the challenge. If somebody has problems with fulfilling the assignment, can always get help and support from colleagues. Also, if everybody focuses on one part of assignment (of course having in mind the group outcome of a project), can go deeper into specific field, research it better, get more information and gain knowledge, which can be shared with others. Working in group gives us more possibilities, more ideas, more conclusions and makes the work easier, as one person doesn’t have to do everything on his/her own. Moreover, if you face the challenge in group, you can always get a feedback, you learn a lot by cooperation and you are responsible as a group, not as an individual.

I don’t have much experience in beeing a part of group and making projects together, but I am very glad, that I will have a chance to learn the procces and to get to know how it works, as becoming successful desinger and innovator goes together with working in teams, not as an individual.

We didn’t choose our teammates on our own, so I was a bit anxious, if we are going to get along with each other. But, I must say, that this is one of things that works for me the best as for now. I like people, who I am working with. I know, what they do best, what are their good sides and what they may have problems with.

The assignment itself is challenging me. We have a lot to do, we are running out of time, as the deadline is in 4 weeks, or even 3 now, and we had some problems to face as a team. The main one, is our problem with communication. When we have meetings, there is never whole team present, also, nobody knows, what they are supposed to do and what others are doing. Our group consists of 7 people, so I don’t think it’s because there is too many of us, I don’t also blame anybody, as I said, it is just a luck of communication. Of course if we were working in 2, the communication would be better for sure, but the more people in the group, the more ideas.

But this Monday, we decided to divide into 3 groups of 2 people and each of those is responsibile for some part of assignment (after fulfilling one part of work, we will share it with team mates, and add it to our project-try to put it as a part of final outcome), of course the roles will change depending on what we will have to do particular week. There is also a leader, who is supposed to ‘control’ our work, help us in case of any problems and contact with Maarten (NGO). The roles are still being discussed, as the problem with communication is. We have meeting tommorow, we hope that everybody will show up, so we can set tho rules, roles and solve our problems.

I think we have to face some problems, because we do not have much experience in working in teams. We all are still a bit confused, we don’t know what we should actually do (besides the every week assignments).
But as i said, during Monday’s meeting, we made a progress, we talked about our problems, set the roles and decided who does what. And I hope, that starting from there, our team work will improve and the problems will disappear.

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Online spaces

I use online spaces everyday, as internet is very good source of information and the cheapest way of communicating with others. It is hard for me to decide whether I use it more often as an individual or simply to interact with others.

 

Everyday, there are lots of things which I look for/check using online sources. For example if I don’t know how should I write correctly some words in english, as it is not my native language, I check it out (almost always using Google Translator). Another example is when I want to buy something (now it’s laptop). I look for one that is going to fulfil all of my criteria, I mean I can choose what I want, get every information I need about the product, read what others think and what experiences they already have with the product, so I can make up my mind. Also buying via internet is very simple, comfortable, safe and I often do that. If I like something, but I can’t find it anywhere naerby I just ‘Google’ it and look for it. You can buy things from all over the world, not leaving home and I find it very helpful and as I said comfortable.

 

I also use online sources to simply find information which I need, or just to check out things that I don’t know, doing so I also use ‘Google”. It is huge advantage of the internet that it gives you so many information, on every subject or problem (even those most abstract ones), if you want to do something and you have absolutely now idea even how to start, you can find everything in the internet, it just depends on you, what kind of online source you pick.

 

What I also very often use internet for as an individual is watching videos, movies and listetning to the music. To do so, I use Youtube and many other websites which allow us watch movies and series online.

Facebook is a social platform, which I use everyday to contact my friends, as most of them live in Poland. This is very easy and cheap way to stay in touch with the people I miss. Also, Facebook helps me to be up to date when it is about studies. We have our group’s account and lots of important and interesting information always appear there. That is an example of me, using online spaces to interact with others. Another is writing e-mails. I keep in touch with my mother in that way. This is main tool of communication that she uses at work and as I check my inbox very often, it is good way to stay in touch with her. I also use skype to contact my friends and family, but that doesn’t happen that often. Another online tool, which helps me interact with others is tumblr. I write my blog once a week to (do my homework :D) share my thoughts with classmates and also I read theirs to get more information about them. The last one of online tools, that I use is Drupal. I have created one, to get to know better with what struggles our NGO. And right now, I try to discover the advantages and disadvantages. Of course, I’m not doing that alone, all my group, as well as group 6 has access to it, so we can explore it together.

I am a member of 2 online groups. One is IDE group and second one is a group from studies I have done in Poland. While the first one is very usefull for me now, to know exactly what is happening (homework, events, interesting videos, important information), the second one allows me to stay in touch with people I have studied with. Both of them were created on Facebook which is the most valuable online social platform for me. That is because Facebook is very common online tool, almost everybody I know has an account on Facebook, what lets me communicate with them and know what is going on in their lifes. I find it also very comfortable and easy in use.

I don’t think I have any preferences for types of groups I like or would like to belong to. I just think that keeping them easy and comfortable in use are the most important demands, if they don’t fulfil them I think I wouldn’t be so willing to use them

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Online tools, digital identity

At the beginning, I must say, that I do not consider myself as a ‘technologically competent’ person. I don’t have any particular experience in taht field and I do not think that I could teach somebody new things, as my knowledge is really basic.  But I think that I can learn a lot from others, as for example Ceire has showed me Google doc-yeah really, i didn’t know it exists, (we put in there all information we have collected and things that we have done so far for our NGO) also because of project community classes I have an opportunity to get to know Google Hangout and Meetingwords and see how it works and take part in those online meetings.

As almost everybody I do have an online digital identity, probably because of facebook and similar social networks. These days being a part of online community is as popular as  being a part of offline one.During one of the lectures somebody said that if you spend too much time online, many things from the ”real life” pass you by. But to be honest, I must say that I see it in different way. First of all, nowadays, online communities are part of a ‘real life’, secondly, if you do not have access to those I think that more things pass you by, than when you do. I mean, if you don’t check your facebook 5 times a day, you may not know about the deadline of some exercise, or somebody posts on his/her blog information about an awesome party and you do not know about it, because you don’t read blogs, you don’t have one and the info does not reach you. Before those studies I used social networks to communicate with my friends and family (as we are so far away from each other) also to share with others information about myself and of course pictures, mostly of my dog (I’ll show you one too, this will be my first time with doing this on tumblr, so again something new is happening! :)) but now, they became online tools, which I use to obtain and share information about studies and even to do my homework.

But coming back to the subject, besides online tools menshioned before, I really do not have enough experience to teach somebody and I am not particularly good at using any of them. But as I said, I am ready to learn as much as I can and I’m really excited about that.

What might be worth mentioning is that while I was studying in Poland, I was making a lot of Power Point presentations, so with that, surprisingly, I should not have any problem.


About our project work, we have to find similar platforms to the drupal (also see how exactly drupal works, find all advantages and disadvantages of it), compare them and figure out the best way of using them, facing our challenge. And I think that we can also exchange our ideas or information that we have with group 6. I know that they also have questions to ask about our NGO, so probably we will do that together (Conor already has written about it)
.

and now the picture!



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week2 assingment

After first few minutes of our project community classes, I felt very confused. I didn’t actually know what we are expected to do and how we are  going to fullfil the assingment, it was little bit like magic to me. But when we sat together, with my awesome group (7), and took some time to do research and read about NGO, everything started to be more clear and I realized that together we are going to achieve the goal.

I think that the goal of project community classes is to realize how important is teamwork, how many more opportunities and ways of facing the challenges given it allows us to discover. Also, we will be able to learn many things about communities and network, how to create one, how it works and how helpful it can be in exchanging ideas, experience and communicating with each other. And that is what I would really like to learn as I’m not so good in it (for now I hope).

What I would also like to learn is to express my mind in public and to share my ideas with other, because it’s still a bit stressfull for me and I find it awkward (I guess I’m a bit afraid of other’s critic).But I hope that working in team and the whole idea of project community classes will help me change it.


As it goes to the outcome of our project, I would like it to be the best one (of course :)), also I would like it to show how much work we had to put in that and that we can work as a team. What is more, NGO, that we are going to ‘work’ for should be satisfied with the result of project.

I think, that I am hardworking person and I always try to do my best, so this would be my contribution to the project.

I think that this assingment will really give us a chance to get to know each other and also learn from other’s experience or knowledge.

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Karolina-my very first time with tumblr.

I got a bit confused if I should write my name in the tittle or not-so I did just in case, and yes, that’s me, hi :)

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