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The last but not the least

Checking out "7 Design Principles, Inspired By Zen Wisdom" by Suzanne LaBarre today I got extremely inspired by one of them:

fukinsei or Imperfection as an invitation for co-creation 

This principle puts together all the different pieces I came across in the last two weeks into one beautiful puzzle.

Firstly, it echoes the discussion we had on vulnerability a couple of weeks ago. Revealing yourself as an imperfect human being (asking for help or support, for example) activates empathy followed by active actions to help or support. And thus becomes the basis for interaction.    

This idea was also a red thread for "Self Unself" exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven curated by Thomas Widdershoven (creative director of Design Academy Eindhoven) and Jan Konings I was lucky to see at Dutch Design week 2013. 

The first project I’d like to mention is Phonebloks by Dave Hakkens, the telephone inviting for co-creation and customization.


This phone consists of the base and various blocks that can be clipped onto it and changed when needed.

The second one - Eternally Yours book is a reflection on how to make a design sustainable implementing personal details into it. 


The book itself shows how it works including very personal photos of the  designers. 

It seems that social networks, such as facebook, tumblr, twitter, work exactly in the same way: they are only valuable when filled with personal details, relieving it’s user to the world.

Other internet services, such as crowd founding enable people to co-create the product they love, while crowd sousing is a platform enabling open innovation.

Using internet services based on imperfection (and thus interdependances) is a way to recreate the way the world communicates and acts. Deepak Chopra in his video about social networks calls this process co-programming of global brain. 

To the next year students I would advise to perceive Project community course as a co-creation process, in which every imperfect individual is of great importance in co-creating the whole. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

Dear Passenger! Welcome aboard of Drupal commons!

Our task for the NGO is to “introduce Drupal Commons to an international group of professionals with a diverse cultural background”.

And we started with figuring out, who our target group is and what problems they might face while starting to use a new network.

Here is the brief overview:

  • There 200 people from all over the world (the number rapidly grew last year)
  • They change every 4-5 years
  • They meet 1-2 times a year to align the information
  • People are mostly concentrated on their direct duties
  • They travel a lot or spend a lot of time in the field
  • IT-staff is not necessarily there in every office 
  • There is a lot of other software being introduced at the same time

So the main problem is Drupal being an additional load for hard working people. There are two ways to change the situation: make motivation clear, showing that it’s worth it and comfort them, showing that it’s not hard to get used to it.

We chose two strategies to reach this goals:

  • team work as a basics to introduce and give some personal attention

As long as we know from the 4th week that “small teams work better”, we would propose our NGO to choose one person responsible for implementing the platform (ambassador) and make sure that he or she spends some time talking to each member of the group.

  • home page layout as a way to promote the new things that are coming with Drupal  

"Welcoming" has always been something that sets the tone of overall communication. In Russian tradition it is bread and salt ceremony that is to show the guest how important he or she is. The book always starts with foreword. For the on-line communication it’s the homepage.     

The homepage of internal network can include: motivation elements (in the shape of small icons always available, like here); comforting-welcoming elements (video to say “hi” in different languages, interactive tutorial with arrows). The last but not the least point is a possibility to receive an up to date feedback from users (small forum), also showing that every point of view is important. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

do u believe in murmuration?

When you go to a handmade market and see a nice but easy to make thing, there is always someone who would say: why do you buy it, why don’t you do that yourself it’s easy

Using either crowdsourcing or crowdfunding you place your ideas into the same “market” context, revealing them to the whole world. Obviously, there is always some risk that other people would use your idea to earn their money.

But there is a surprising fact (supported by MIT studies on motivation) to consider: the more money people are offered for mental challenge the poorer the performance is (check that in a great video visualizing Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA). So it’s not money that drives and motivates us. What does motivate us is our purpose. We want to make a difference in this world and we want to make it a better place to live. 

Its not a secret, that each of us has different sets of gifts and passions. We can do some things better then others, as well as we’d prefer to do ones to others. So why not to do some wonderful stuff ourselves, supporting others to do their wonderful stuff, if their ideas resonate with our values. Crowdsourcing and croudfunding provide exact tools to make it possible. If an idea is worth spreading, if there is a need for it in the world, it would be supported by people, giving money to implement it into life. 

"People don’t buy WHAT you do, the buy WHY you do it”
Simon Sinek “How great leaders inspire action”.

Why wouldn’t they steal it? Because they would trust that you can do it in the best way possible while they would do something else just as wonderful :). It already worked for FairPhone, a nice Russian book GreenDriver and many others. It sounds like an ideal economic model, based on collaboration, transparency, sharing and empowerment - amazing murmuration, described by Don Tapscott


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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” Henry Ford


As I noted in my first week’s blog post, by the time I’ve started Project communities course I already had 2 years experience of working with around 10 people for a start up company. Right before I got here I’ve analyzed my experience and thought I’d love to start all over again. And one of my main insights was: how come we didn’t become a team so far.

To my surprise the whole introduction week was about team work and I thought THIS TIME it’s gonna be nice and smooth. And it didn’t work again ;).

Last week was rather chaotic and made me feel upset. The question was: why again? I didn’t really know what to do, was not sure if I should talk to other team members, will they understand what I mean, do I feel right myself. But finally decided to give it a try. At first, I talked to people from other teams and found out that our problems were not unique. So I asked my team what their thoughts were and realized they were similar to mine: we all felt kind of stuck. That encouraged me to look deeper into the problem. My final assumption was: we lost motivation because we couldn’t see the connection between our weekly assignments and our final project. In our spidergram some weeks before we evaluated “Project” as the most important part of our teamwork and it seemed that we didn’t move a step towards it. But after we dived deeper into it we found the connections we were missing and the dynamics of our group work started to change.

This Monday was a very productive one and we came up with a nice plan as well as got some significant insights. Here are my personal favorites:

1. it’s a good idea to divide a team into smaller ‘project groups’ of 2-3-4 so that everyone can stay focuced on the task 
2. Uneven number adds creativity while even helps to come up with final descisions
3. Aligning information keeps everyone in the same context
4. Visualizing it helps aligning a lot
5. Taking responsibility and understanding of interdependences makes all the things look different

And the most important one:           

"It takes some work to make it work" (Jason Mraz “Life is wonderful” my favorite song for this autumn) or never underestimate organizational part of the process :).

Have a nice eve!

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

I, WE, NETWORK and me

While reflecting on the last week’s assignment I realized, that all this variety of  ”faces” in the social networks were all me. I also adjust my image for every network. And I keep constantly changing my profile picture, if I don’t feel it’s “me” anymore. So that’s, probably, how I use this “I" on the internet - as a kind of mirror. The fact that I use different mirrors for different networks is similar to the fact that we put different clothes on, when we go to the beach and to the theater. Different context - different "me". So my digital "I" is a lot about reflection and self expression.

The other side of “I" on the internet, I mean digging for information, is not really my strong point. I definitely prefer to work and receive information during the "WE" activities. For instance, self development (in terms of psychology) topic is one of the most important ones for me. And I have 5-6 friends, who are as interested in it as I am. And with each of them I discuss it in very private talks in i-messages, e-mails and Skype dialogs. We share insights, ideas, links, books. Less often we discuss this topic in WhatsApp or Facebook dialogs as they are much less private. They are more like a cafe - no one else is really listening to your private talk, but you almost hear this humming all around you.

If I really like one of my friends’ ideas and I feel it can be of help for any other I share it. And that’s one of the ways how I use “NETWORK" - passing the idea on from friend to friend to friend, I can finally end up writing about it in my blog at my Livejournal page.

NETWORK" is also one of the best ways to find people who inspire me both in Livejournal and Instargram. A friend of mine mentions his or her friend doing something beautiful or inspiring, I check it and start following too.   


Thanks to "NETWORK" I got to know illustrator and writer Yana Frank (, whom I admire for her passion for life (she fought cancer), trying out new things (she creates countless number of stuff with her illustrations on), inspiring and sharing her experience with others in her books and blog.

This is also, how I met amazing photographer Anna Koroleva, who captures beautiful surreal stories of Fairys and we collaborated a year later to create my own fairy tale.


And the last inspirational link, I’d love to share for now is in Instagram. The flowers and tiny details I see @flowerbureu make me smile and believe in miracles.


Hope you’ll enjoy them too :)!

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

Being a digital habitant

Hello and welcome to the 3d week’s assignment post ;)

I’d like to start with sharing some of the insights I’ve got today while walking home. And they continued striking me, while I was listening to Alan’s interview. So…

…all these people in a picture below… Are they all me???? o_O

Do I really use so many of them? And that’s not all I use: add - WhatsApp, Viber, Foursquare, my account at my job’s network, and one more “job-account” I use for blogging at our web-site. That is actually a big surprise to me!

When I first read this “PERSONAL BLOG WORK” part I thought: What can I share? I’m really bad with technologies. But then I realized that I wake up and I wish “Good morning” to my friends using WhatsUp and I’ve been doing this for a year at least. I check my Instagram 5 times a day and I post there regularly, I share music and videos at my page at (a Russian version of Facebook), I post my ideas at my Livejournal page. And even more - there are people who really inspire me and have a serious effect on my life just because I follow them. And I’ve met some of them in person after I’d followed them for a while or I will probably not meet them at all. The role that on-line communication plays changed a lot, and technologies are sort of backbone of communication in general. Looks like it’s high time to start using all this stuff consciously :).

For our project we use Facebook group, Whats Up group and just started Trello. And Facebook worked well for the first week, but it’s definitely not enough for this week, as I see it. Sharing instant messages at WhatsUp can be more productive when you should react faster and have a small talk on a topic like: “What can we answer to Nancy’s comment to our spidergram?” :). You wouldn’t expect people being on-line in Facebook all the time. We’ll also try out Trello this week creating a follow up document on our meeting with Maarten.

While analyzing the spidergram we created for our group and giving 5 grade importance to “Project” part, I thought we might need to use one more tool - something like google calendar, where we can state deadlines for the tasks we have? Or may be some task-manager app with the help of which we can create tasks, appoint the responsible one and the deadline? How do you think, group4eva?

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

Confusiams or the backbone of survival

"Confusion" sounds like exact word describing our first Community project class. Not really getting what to do, where to ask or how to find this or that. And that’s exactly what you face in "real life", when you start something valuable.

And then you find out that this guy from your team knows how to deal with this sophisticated “blackboard”, another one recognizes that “module guide” is called “course guide for Project Communities” in the “Course information” folder. Step by step you start putting the pieces of this puzzle together and realize that this course is about:
1. NGOs and MDGs  
2. on-line communities
3. team work
4. you (in connection with 1, 2, 3)

And the goals are:
1. Get to know how do NGOs work and what difficulties they face
2. Learn how to use on-line communities (say, technology) as tools to communicate with the wold.
3. Find out how to work effectively as a team.
4. Make your own tiny contribution into making a world a better place to live.

One of the reasons of applying for IDE course for me was my desire to learn how to make real difference to the world around me, while at the same time having an opportunity to travel and be not bounded to a particular place. This course looks like exactly what I need to implement my plan ;).

Our team project (for our team4eva, as we called it) is to think of the ways for Solidaridad Network to introduce Drupal Commons platform to “an international group of professionals with a diverse cultural background”, presenting our ideas and solutions in a video.  

From my own experience I know that even for a small company an on-line platform could be hard to start with. For the last 2 years I’ve been working for a start up company selling devices of different kinds in Russia. After the two years I realized that we are a bit like "Swan, Pike and Crawfish" from a famous Russian fable by Krylov.

And decided to do my best to synchronize the objectives within our team, encouraging others to use corporate network was a part of this task. This experience could be useful in dealing with our task for Project communities as well.

So I feel enthusiasm in the end, not only confusion ;).   

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle

see u on-line

"Hello" from thumblr! Here we go with one more on-line tool. Hope it’s gonna be a nice one. 


Posted in Community, Group 4
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mairya's intercultural puzzle