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Eight weeks have been and gone. We now find ourselves putting the final touches on our video and beginning to reflect on our work the past two months. Its hard to believe the times gone so fast and that we were so naïve to begin with.

Each week we have dived into a new topic whether it is crowdsourcing, technology stewardship, marketing or work teams, all have encouraged and demanded – working in/on/with an online community or network. Going into this project I had little experience with this, however I soon realised how essential and beneficial this form of work is in the innovative design industry.
Its benefits stem from the concept of a smaller world where global communication is no barrier. Shared knowledge is key allowing us all to gain and pass on lessons learnt or information gained.  The increased use of online communities and networks is currently – mid-snowball effect – gaining popularity by the day. It’s a movement designers cannot ignore and in-fact is creating an entirely new way or working creatively.

One design principle resounded with me after this project and that is “The Pareto Principle” ( Perhaps because this was so applicable to our groups experience. This Principle states: “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” Through out this project we experienced a multitude of problems, from; team management to customer interactions and even just the development of solutions.  However it was only due to these problems we encountered that we were able to innovate and come up with solutions – improving the team and the work being produced.

As for tips for next years students… COMMUNICATE! Our teams communication left a lot to be desired and it effected our working relationship. This would be my biggest tip to you along with making the effort to meet face to face, it is so much more beneficial to the efficiency and shared understanding throughout the group.

This experience is going to be invaluable, it is my first real experience working for a customer in a group or international participants. I have gotten an insight firstly into what to expect. I now know how much team work is going to be prevalent over the next 3 years and being aware of this allows me to ensure the way I interact with certain team members is beneficial to the efficiency of the group. Although I go away from this experience feeling my team could have performed better I am very proud of what we have created and thankful for all the lessons I have learnt along the way.

So for the final time..

That’s all for this week!

Untill next time, Siras Henderson xx

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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.


After working together for 4 weeks we are finally starting to find our rhythm. Slowly but steadily. Initially we dealt out “positions” which we thought was most fitting to everyone’s personal skill set. Although some of these have remained the same, we have found that some people are more suited to other jobs.

I’m finding the motivation of the group great, it is lifting my spirits whenever I am struggling. Equally the leadership has been awesome, Luca has taken to it like a duck to water. He is extremely structured and his understanding of the task is the best in the group.

Equally everyone else is using their own personal skill to contribute. Although Luca is taking the lions share of the work load up till now I hope for the rest of us, with his assistance, to be able to take some of the pressure off of him.

However there is definitely room for improvement! Firstly our initial decision to use Facebook as the main form of communication in the group I believe this was a mistake, as people are posting data at random times and we are not all online when this happens for instance I frequently am out when informed someone’s posted. By the time I get home I have completely forgotten about it. Other groups are using google drive and I would love my group to consider this. Google drive would allow us to access information when we want to and when we are focused on the task at hand.

Initially we had little to no understanding of the task however now we are in the 5th week (half way through the project) I feel we finally have got a grip on the task at hand. For me the difficulties was my lack of knowledge on platforms and anything technology related. However my groups knowledge has made up for this and they are slowly developing my knowledge on the topic too.

Working with such a large group there is always challenges. One of these is ensuring everyone is equally involved. The girls confronted the group last week saying they sometimes felt that we were dismissive of there ideas. This of course was a big surprise to the rest of us however we were able to ensure from now on we listen more attentively when they are talking.

In addition Maarten brought up a very valid point of native English speakers intimidating the others. Of course this was un-intentional but subconsciously the non natives feel intimidated due to their inability to express them selves as fluently. If you visit Maarten’s blog there is a link to a website which discusses how groups can get a handle on this problem but also how we can use it to our advantage. I would recommend every one from all group reads this!

Lastly I would like to discuss the effect of culture on the functionality of our team. All 9 members hold a different culture and this is both a constructive and a restrictive aspect. The variety allows a lot of new and exciting ideas to be shared showing perspectives of many. However when communicating it can be difficult, words may be interpreted differently by others, this is when it is important for us to communicate. Especially us native English speakers, if the others have use a word inappropriately it’s important for us to pull them up even if the we understand what they are trying to communicate.

Until next week - over and out!

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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.

Eeeek week 7 already!

Hey Guys!

It’s hard to believe it was 7 weeks ago that we were first introduced to our NGO and given our task, time has flown. Over those 7 weeks we have been introduced to a number of new (for some of us) themes/concepts which our guides thought would help us in developing a solution to our and our NGO’s Challenge. Last week Maarten discussed with us “killing the darlings”, as cruel as this sounds, this weeks blog post is going to carry on that theme. We have been asked which of the themes up till now, we personally believe, will be the most useful in terms of finding a solution for our NGO.  As soon as I read this question I had an answer in mind, Crowd sourcing.

Our challenge originally stated, “How do we improve the platform’s user experience & usability? How to set up a user group & create a development cycling of continuous improvement & experience?”  The key focus in this task was improving usability for users and also developing a “development cycling of continuous improvement & experience”. This is where Crowd Sourcing steps in.

Just as a reminder crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing to a “crowd” of people via an open call for assistance. Through Solidaridad harnessing crowdsourcing in terms of development feed back on their new platform, they will discover (in a timely manner) where their weak spots lye in their new platform. If they give users an opportunity to review and give feed back, progressively they will be able to update these weak spots bettering the platform continuously,  until it is entirely user friendly. Further more Crowdsourcing also allows global experts, who may have experienced platform development to enlighten Solidaridad on wear any weak spots lie in their platform. Crowdsourcing also gives a voice to those who may not have specific expertise in the field and this is invaluable as way of creating a true sense of community, diminishing any sense of hierarchy.

Cultural diversity is also dealt with through crowdsourcing as people belonging to different cultures are able to communicate their unique needs which may not have been considered by those of another culture.

As for what I believe the solution is going to be, to be frank, I still don’t know. Due to some difficulties communicating with our client (he was out of the country and unable to return our mails) we are still waiting on some vital information. Until we get this it is hard to say. However the finish line is approaching us even more each and every day, so decisions are going to have to be made and soon. I have set up a Skype meeting with our client tomorrow and if all goes to plan we should have all the information we need. If, for some reason, we are unable to get what we need, I think my group should go off assumptions as I would rather us end with a few inapplicable solutions than none what so ever.

Is anyone else having problems contacting clients? If so please enlighten me with any possible solutions you have found.

Until next time,


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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.


Once again we run into the theme of harnessing the “shrinking world” through the use of crowdsourcing and crowd funding.

Although these terms are new to me there meaning is rather self-explanatory. Crowdsourcing is the deed of outsourcing to a “crowd” of persons via an open call for assistances and crowd funding has the same concept however they are looking for specifically financial assistance.

Crowd funding is obviously and understandably a popular option for all, from NGO’s to start up businesses to large developed businesses also.  However when trying to apply crowd funding to Solidaridad’s platform project, we discovered its not always applicable. This is because people are not interested in funding a company’s internal system development. It does not affect them, hence they are uninterested. However for other teams such as group 3 who are working with the Gogorobi foundation, crowd funding is applicable as it is working on developing people’s life’s and culture, which is emotionally provoking for most people – this team may choose to suggest some form of donation based crowd funding as being the most efficient for the Gogorobi foundation. However Solidaridad focus more on investment based funding as they feel for their projects (focused on developing agriculture) sustainable development will only come from market investment, not aid.

Crowd Sourcing in design on the other hand can be and is perceived in many in different lights.  David C. Baker, owner of the design firm consultancy Recourses, believes crowdsourcing is “An Irreversible Movement” which people need to embrace in order to move forward in the sustainable design industry. Debbie Millman, president of Sterling Brands, has an opposing view believing crowd sourcing is an “Unfair Practice” which is leaving studied designer in the lurches. We will now look at arguments supporting both sides before drawing a final conclusion.


  • Crowd sourcing in a competitive form allows clients to skip the middleman and choose a final product they like. This increases the importance of deadlines to designers, where they may have been more lenient if the had been hired exclusively. The competitive nature also encourages designers to always perform at their best.
  • Crowdsourcing offers a stage for designers who wouldn’t otherwise be given an opportunity to display their abilities. It breaks down barriers in education, geography and socioeconomic rank.
  • Crowdsourcing also allows diverse cultures to pull knowledge and insight into a project.
  • Crowdsourcing also is a great way for exposing and broadcasting emerging talent in the design industry.
  • Crowdsourcing builds a flexible, on demand time zone, allowing people to work globally around the clock on the same project.


  • Designers a lot of the times have to work with out pay. This leads to them feeling used and un-appreciated. Some believe this is an un-sustainable path for design as it is going to diminish the desire to work in this industry.
  • There may be legal risks in some cases, regarding trademark infringements etc. If not managed this could even lead to the downfall of crowdsourcing.

As you can see I have struggled to find an equal amount of “cons” to crowdsourcing. Is this because crowdsourcing is the way forward? Or is there more to the argument? Please add any points you believe to be “cons” in a comment below.

Once again it’s been a pleasure.

Until next week, Siras. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.



It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in front of my mums yellow stained desktop computer (which now seems the size of a small hummer) listening to the dial up tone for 5 minutes all to look something up for school… Thank god times have changed! Today we are discussing our “own network”, or how we used/use the Internet in terms of  “Me, We, Network”.  

The “Me, We, Network” concept coincidentally coincides with my personal development into the world of the internet. “Me” refers to an individual using the internet for “hunting and harvesting” information or data without interacting with others. This was my initial introduction to the internet as a child. Whether at school or at home I would use the internet as a tool for research. However my knowledge, the painfully slow speed and lack of available programs meant I used it purely for “hunting and harvesting”. Although accessibility and tools available have developed even today I use the internet as a “Me” – researching and developing ideas. Also coming from a country with a huge café culture and large influence on trend based design I have found the internet invaluable using websites like or to research up and coming trends.  Even in our Solidaridad project we are using the internet as a “Me”, researching and documenting information we find relevant to our project.

“We” refers to defined and bounded groups.  This is small-scale interaction with others who share something in common with you. This was my next step into the internet world and now is my main use of the internet. Starting with (a website very similar to Facebook) I began interacting with people who went to my school or I had met through out my life. This soon led on to facebook in which I am now part of at least a dozen different groups ranging from school/group peers, exclusive friend groups, accommodation information and groups discussing graphics developments. Since moving to Europe “We” has been my main use of the internet. Allowing me to keep in touch with people all around the globe at the touch of a button, this has been invaluable. This is what many refer to as the shrinking world. The internet has made the world smaller by developing access to people globally, now people in China are able to converse and conduct business with those in America with ease. This is invaluable to our customer Solidaridad, allowing them to interact internationally, communicating data from developed western regions to third world countries looking for help.

Thirdly and finally we are discussing the “Network” which refers to the wider internet network. This is where I, in the last couple of years, have slowly been becoming more and more confident in.  Its where you interact with people worldwide regardless of any common denominator. I’m yet to feel completely confident in this area as it is vast in size and as discussed last week what we post on the Internet is scarily permanent. However I foresee myself gaining more and more confidence in this sector and eventually having it as my main tool when it comes to internet access.

Good luck to all and catch you next week!


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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.



Technology who?

Today we have been prompted with a question about our technological knowledge. For anyone who read my previous post, it’s no secret that technology and I are yet to find common ground. Admittedly this is only because of a lack of effort on my part – however this is all about to change!

We discussed our “Digital identity” (which is basically how you are portrayed via the internet) and it got me thinking.. Digital identity in the last few years has become a controversial topic in my home, my parents have made my siblings and I well aware of permanence of whatever we post on the Internet. Their main concern was in preserving our reputation for any future career endeavours. One of my sisters even went to the extent of deleting her Facebook account, as she was scared that others posts would portray her in a negative light. What my family has overlooked is the potential benefits of using the internet to brand yourself which in my opinion out weighs any potential negative/embarrassing information which may find its way on to the internet!

Although my technological skills are limited I am equipped with a team, with at least 3 computer-savvy lads, who have experience with editing platforms etc. Thus I hope to make the most of the lads in a few ways; firstly to sit in on any work they do using these skills in a hope of acquiring and learning anything I can from them. Secondly I am hoping to barter their skills to group 7, who is also working with Solidaridad, in exchange for assistance in forming questions for our company contact Marteen. My group is currently having difficulties in accurately interpreting the task, as it is week 3 out of a 10-week project, any help we can get in fixing this problem is invaluable to us.

I want to end this post by expressing my excitement for developing this skill set which will allow me to take control of my digital identity. My Tumblr blogs will be my first step towards this, already I have started a personal blog, which displays all my passions and aspirations. I have also been playing around with Photoshop (with many difficulties) and I hope to create my own logo for this blog by the end of the day!

Good luck to all and catch you next week,


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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.




I write to you all from a keyboard, which is usually used for little more than a spot of Facebooking and a ton of Youtubing.. Although my computer skills (yes its that bad – I am calling them computer skills) are below par I am not completely computer retarded. Thus I bring you this blog with the intentions of documenting and sharing my progress in the task of developing a NGO’s platform, in a hope of improving this platform’s user experience and usability amongst many other technical ambitions I’m yet to rap my head around!

Although my skill set may seem limited up to this point and you may be asking how on earth this computer illiterate Kiwi is going to produce a successful platform design, BUT DON’T LOSE HOPE YET! Less than a day ago I was asking my self the very same thing BUT (yes, thank god there’s a but) I am equipped with an international, driven, COMPUTER CONFIDENT team!! Team 6 features 8 different nationalities, 8 different cultures and 8 different international minds ready to produce an end product which fulfills both our clients brief and our individual design ambitions. I personally am extremely interested in the sustainable agriculture industry and hope to work there in the future. I have spent 2 years researching sustainable agriculture and hope to contribute this knowledge and passion to my group.

I foresee this task to be a ginormous-learning curb for my self in many areas. Firstly I hope to absorb, from my team mates, any and all knowledge on setting up a user friendly platform. Although I plan to restrict my involvement in this sector of the task (directing it towards a job of my own strengths instead) I definitely plan on using the opportunity to develop these missing skills. I hope to contribute to my team by playing to my strengths, thus I have already committed to the job of correspondence whether it be between our client, our tutor or any external resources we may need to contact. I chose this job as I am able to write and express my self in English with ease and more importantly because I am able to forge genuine trustful relationships with individuals, which I hope will prove beneficial when communicating and interpreting our clients needs. Lastly I am expecting the group dynamic to be somewhat of a challenge with a few strong, dominating personalities already eager to take leadership and rush forward with this task. Hopefully all members of the group are able to harness their individual strengths and express them in all areas of this task.

Due to our client being an ambitious company in the sustainable agriculture sector, group 6 hopes to create platform suitable to their target audience that displays clearly the ambitions and morals of Solidaridad whilst still being an interesting, interactive and enticing space for all international sustainable agriculture enthusiasts to gather!

Until next time,

Siras Henderson

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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.

KIA-ORA! Welcome to my blog


Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: NABOO DESIGNS.