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One World, One Web

It’s already the last week of Project Community and so this is the last blog post. By looking back at the beginning of this project I was extremely confused and I had no idea of how we should go about this challenge. Now, when we are at the very end, I feel almost stupid as how disorganized and chaotic I went on about it in the beginning. I think that if my group and I could start over with this project now, we could probably make an exceptional project. However, we can’t do that, we simply have to deal with the mistakes we did in the beginning and learn from them. But our struggles each week did actually pay off as we now managed to come up with our end video… Or at least we will finish it by the end of this week!

So, every week we have gone through different topics; crowdsourcing, technology stewardship, work teams, marketing…And what do all these have in common? - The concept of sharing ideas, collaborating and communication between people from all over the world. The online communities and networks that exist today are all about this idea and we use this social aspect to innovate and solve many of the contemporary complex problems that we face every day. The most important thing I have learnt about using online communities and networks in innovative design is therefore the concept of SHARING.

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I believe that what we are looking for today in design or the creative process is to accept people’s own ability to create their own solution instead of basing it on their need for help or a new product. I don’t think that we should focus on designing new products but instead use these design methods (design principles) together with the rest of society to create new services that can change people’s life for the better. This is at the same time building a more sustainable future, as if people engage each other, share their ideas, give feedback etc. then communities can grow by themselves. These communities and, let’s say, collaborative services that we have been looking at are not based on any particular technology, but function of existing technology, especially information technology that connects people and other artifacts; particularly the Internet. This technology allows for people to collaborate, synchronize, share customize and so on. All this ties together with the terms we have worked with during this project, such as crowdsourcing and crowd-funding. 

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Our groups NGO, Solidaridad, are looking for a social platform that has these kinds of attributes. A way to collaborate, communicate and share ideas and so let “a development cycling of continuous improvement and experience”.

 “Inclusive Design is where innovation and imagination flourish. Meeting the needs of the widest variety of people does not inhibit creativity. It opens our minds and inspires excellence.”

I truly agree with this quote from Sandi Wassmer and her Ten Principles of Inclusive Web Design. I think this links together with the “sharability” world that we live in and how to use online communities and networks in innovative design. With the use of online communities we can easily access information; we can open our mind to other people’s way of thinking and so get new flourishing inspirations. 

What I would tell the next year’s class about the course? Don’t freak out in the beginning as it might seem confusing and unclear. Instead tackle it with Nancy White’s word – confusiasm! Things will become clearer as long as you work with your team and your tutor. Ask questions. And be open to different ways of thinking. It is only now by the end of the project that I have realized how much I have actually learned and that I can take this with me through the rest of the IDE program. Firstly, I will be an experienced team player. Working together in a group of nine is very challenging, but because of the “work teams” week I have learnt the most efficient ways around those challenges. Secondly, by working towards helping an NGO, we increased our understanding of how it is to work with a client and meet their needs …And thirdly, I have gained a lot of insight into the online community world. This very valuable knowledge is part of the future and how we actually more often communicate with each other. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

The Challenge

This weeks’ blog reflection prompt definitely made me go back and re-analyze the actual challenge that we are undertaking for Solidaridad:
 
“How do we improve the platform’s user experience and usability? How to set up user group and create a development cycling of continuous improvement and experience?”

I feel that with every new theme that we take on each week we somehow manage to forget about this question and instead focus too much on the tasks that we are given in class. So how can we help them to do this? What is the most useful part of what we have learnt so far for Solidaridad? From all the themes that we have been looking at, technology stewardship, crowdsourcing, work teams, crowd funding and this weeks’ marketing, I think that crowdsourcing would be of the most use towards our goal in solving Solidaridad’s unmet need. The main thing we are to do for Solidaridad is to give them well researched and usable advice in order to improve their social platform.

  • Crowdsourcing can help them with for example web design, making it visually appealing and user friendly. By asking for outside help, possibly people that know how to develop platforms they can make a really fancy, easily adaptable one.
  • Crowdsourcing can spread the word about the NGO. It’s an opportunity for advertisement. When this platform is put forward it will be promoted through the crowdsourcing workers own networks. 

  • Crowdsourcing can save money, as for NGO’s money is always an issue. It’s assistance by people that want to help and at the same time it can build relationships with potential customers.

Image source

If this is really what Solidaridad is looking for I’m not sure, and neither is our group as the contact with our client hasn’t been very smooth. We haven’t got very much feedback on what we have done so far and we haven’t really been able to grasp exactly what their idea of “platform user experience and usability” is. I found this really tricky as I feel that there is so much we can do, but without this communication (which is vital), not much can happen. We can try and go by assumptions of what we believe the NGO is looking for, but that might not work out in the end. 

Image source

I think that the solution should be a simple yet visually appealing platform where information is easily shared within the community. I think that using visuals and videos instead of written text is a very simple way of making information more interesting, stimulating and easy to comprehend. I have always trusted the saying “less is more”. I think that if throwing to much chunk of text out there it’s just not exciting. People that use internet and other types of media today need eye catching and “to the point” experiences. And then with the use of for example the “share” button or “follow” button, makes it easy to add information as well as access what you feel is necessary information. I think this “sharability” factor is very important. But these are just some tools (from Facbook and Twitter…) but I guess in the information and technology era that we live in we have to think like this: "Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal." 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

Use the Crowd

CROWDSOURCING & CROWD-FUNDING

The basic idea: Someone has an idea or a problem. The crowd is there to help give information, advice, feedback and maybe further ideas in order to solve what needs to be solved. This is crowdsourcing. The crowd-funding takes place when the idea is complete. The crowd is there to either donate money or invest money in that project in order for the idea to become reality. Crowdsourcing and crowd-funding can therefore go pretty much hand in hand.

CROWDSOURCING – Ideas, Advice, Input from the Crowd

Some Pros…

  • Diverse knowledge. As there is a crowd of people, there will be diverse knowledge. More people mean more input, more advice and more ideas- a larger “Brain Power”.
  • Better quality. Outside help might be needed if there is a lack of the right knowledge. They will benefit by letting experts do the job.
  • Faster work. If there are more people involved it will be more efficient (in some cases). Company can focus on their core business. Online-based crowdsourcing also makes this happen as people from all parts of the world can contribute/participate.

Some Cons…

  • Confusion. Too much diversity and different ideas might make the company unsure or confused about their project or product.
  • No guarantee. The input, advice or ideas that the crowdsourcing workers give might not be relevant and so final product might not fulfill the company’s vision.

CROWD-FUNDING – Money from the Crowd

For a long time entrepreneurs have relied on banks and other traditional financing sources to make their projects possible. If they say no to the idea, what do you do? One may not have the family, friends or the right contacts that can help. However, maybe there are people who think what you do is interesting. Crowd-funding has therefore emerged as a financing option for these entrepreneurs. The collection of all the money is often done on websites or platforms where the entrepreneurs can present their projects and those who like an idea can make a financial contribution.

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I personally think that crowd-funding is a great idea. If I can support something that I feel very passionate about, maybe a good cause, just that will make me happy. I know that if the project doesn’t work out, I will lose my money, but I have put it into something that is worth losing the money to.

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Donation or reward-based crowd-funding are most common, such as charities and cultural projects. But the so called equity based crowd-funding, in which investors buy small blocks of shares in the company and brings in the most money per project. This method is mainly used to launch new business ideas…such as Crowdfunder.com which we looked at in our gruop on Monday. Crowd-funding is a phenomenon that has opened up investment opportunities for people that usually don’t invest money in the stock market. Ordinary people can become involved because it is exciting to be part of someone else’s journey, dream, creative process or just cool story.

So obviously money is probably seen as a positive side to crowd-funding. But besides just money you get immediately a rating if you and your product is on the right track and if your possible audience or clients will be involved, which is invaluable. I think that through crowd-funding it reaches you directly to your customers and build relationships that will last a long time, and that strengthens your project, and help drive you in the right direction. Even people in projects that do not get super viral or reaches enormous success, still feel that they have received feedback and learned something about themselves, their product and their market. It’s a lot like crowdsourcing in this case, as I said before crowdsourcing and crowd-funding go hand in hand.

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In Solidaridad’s case we deliberated if we thought that crowd-funding would be a good option for the project we are doing or not. We thought that investment based funding would be most applicable to their purpose and their focus on sustainable growth.  I really liked the Thunderclap campaign that Solidaridad is doing (https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/5132-let-s-turn-a-new-leaf). Thunderclap is a little different from both crowd-funding and crowdsourcing as it is a “crowd-speaking” or “crowd-messaging” platform. It’s a way for people to be heard, raise awareness, create action and change by getting support by other people.

Overall, I can definitely say that I have learned a lot form these past weeks. I just now realized that through all this confusion and misunderstanding we do actually learn stuff on the way. I had for example never heard about these terms before and now when I write about it, it feels almost natural. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

We = Power

Frustration. That is definitely a word to describe some of the team work that we have been doing in Project Community. I have realized that I generally like working independently rather than in groups as you do not have to take other people’s opinion in mind. You can go through a much easier process without all the complicated organizing, selecting and collaborating. In groups you will most likely have contrasting ideas or a hard time accepting other people’s ideas.  Working in teams can therefore be very frustrating. 

HOWEVER, independent work might be easier, but in groups you will definitely have more fun, encouragement and support. Like I said in the last blog post about crowdsourcing is that a group of people will have greater amount of knowledge than one alone. You can work more efficiently by dividing the work up, use each other’s individual skills and come up with better ideas as we are a diverse group of people. 

So far in the project I feel that I work the best when I have someone that I can juggle my ideas with rather than with a whole group. I think that if the group is too big it can limit the creativity. This is something that I have felt specifically for this project. I think that I have sometimes been too focused on the overall good of the team and to fit in with the other members rather than pitching in with my individual ideas. This was especially happening in the beginning of the project when we didn’t know each other very well and were unsure of what we were actually doing. And so here the impact of GROUP SIZE comes in. I hadn’t really thought much about this subject before this week but it really did make sense what Chris Corrigan said in the video. That if working in a rather big group (9 people) it is much easier to break up in smaller groups and so create more “edges”. This way enabling more diversity and more solutions!  

Culture is another challenge. Each and every one of use come from very different cultures, speak different languages etc. Only three people in the group are native English speakers. This is something that we spoke about last week. As English is a universal language, the English native speakers have a huge advantage. For me this have always made me very envious as I can’t express myself exactly as I would do in Swedish. Although, the point is that we brought this topic up, we spoke about it and could come to a realization that many of us felt the same way, whereas the English native speakers had never thought of it that way before. This was definitely a part of breaking some of the culture and language barriers. So communication is KEY here.

One thing that I will do differently in the coming weeks to improve my experience and the group’s work is: to be more open with my concerns, approach someone straight away rather than go and feel frustrated about it. 

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Hey Crowdsourcing

I believe that one person alone will never solve a problem in the best way. I think that the Internet and the different networks that we use have made us realize this. Some of the most successful companies on the web have made sure to let other people outside the company stand for the innovation. This is crowdsourcing. By using the network-users the companies can do things they would have paid for. Take for example Wikipedia, where people can contribute with their knowledge in order to create a mass encyclopedia. It’s a system that allows anyone to do the job and the people do it because they enjoy the feeling of being involved.

If more people corporate and interact it’s more likely that there will be a solution. However, it is not only entirely to rely on, but it’s simply that different people know different things.  The combined knowledge contained in a large group is greater than the knowledge of one or two individuals. Also, different human behavior works in various ways: some want to throw out ideas, others want to describe problems in new ways, and some are good at taking a step back and come to conclusions. Simply by looking at our group for this community project one can see a connection to the crowdsourcing idea. We are all from different backgrounds, been exposed to different knowledge and used to work in different ways. This is not always a bad thing as it gives us new insights and perspectives on how to work with this project.

When it comes to online spaces on the Internet I would say that I primarily use it as an individual and don’t interact with others online. I like to have defined and bounded groups when I do interact with people because I have never had the need to interact with others in the wider network. I use Facebook, for example, to talk to my friends, especially friends that I don’t live close to but want to keep contact with. I use of Facebook because my friends use it. If none of my friends used it, then it wouldn’t be a point in me using it.

The tools that I want to use are tools that I don’t need to look in a manual in order to figure out how they work. It has to be intuitive. Some tools are just so complicated, you end up all frustrated and mad and feel like you want to give up on technology all together. I’m sorry to say this but The Hague Universitys website might be a good example of this. Just to find basic information can be really tricky- going from the HHS homepage to Blackboard to Webber. Just the first week I couldn’t figure out how to find my schedule because you needed to go in and do something really unnecessary, complicated stuff… Im still little confused to be honest.   And so here again the crowdsourcing comes in. What if the school could actually ask for the students’ preferences? What we like to use, what we think are good solutions and what can make it easier, usable and even enjoyable.  

I think that there are always smarter people outside any community; you just have to figure out how they can help. Crowdsourcing is suitable for situations when you go out into the unknown, to projects in the forefront of innovation.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

the basic tech kid

Feeling out of my comfort zone this week (again). When it comes to technology and these tools that we have been talking about in class I feel like I have very little to contribute with. I know I can handle my Facebook account, Skype, work with Word and Power Point and just about the basics of Photoshop. Not really impressive. I hope to develop these skills and learn from the people in my group, as I believe are way more skilled in this area. If they would want or need my assistance for the simple knowledge that I have, I would be more than happy to help :)

The Google Hangout that we have been using for this class is a new tool for me. So far, I am a little skeptical on how efficient it is to have a 10 way online conversation. It took us about 30 minutes to get all the conversations going and there wasn’t much time left for discussions. Maybe we all need a little more practice with using it in order for proper conversations to take place. What we learned from the class on Monday was that you can’t always rely on technology. Luckily we live in the technological era so there are alternative ways to communicate if one problem occurs, such as Meetingwords or Facebook.

Another topic that we touched upon this week is the concept of digital identities. For me, Facebook is where I kind of establish my digital identity. I’ve had a blog before and now I’m putting myself out there again (in the digital world) here on Tumblr. It is a little scary that what I write here or what photos that I put on Facebook might still be there in say 10 years. All I hope is that I never end up like “Flame Fart Kid”!

When it comes to our NGO (Solidaridad) and the platform they are using (Drupal) I’ve tried to get a grip around what it is, what tools it includes etc. But, just like I said in the beginning, I’m not the person you want on that case. Not to totally degrade my tech skills, I am good at basic photo editing, like online photo editing and even Paint, haha…if that’s any help at all.

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Just some of my amazing Paint skills.

Furthermore, I would be very beneficial if we could go together with some of the other groups that might have some kind of expertise that we do not have. For the other groups “unmet needs” I don’t know of yet, if you need my crazy Paint skills it’s just to ask!

I might not be a technological genius, but I hope to become somewhat or close to a technology steward. This I understood to be someone that can take a leading role in a community’s technical resources, to understand the community’s needs and to adapt technology for everyday use. With the use of the Spidergram we touched on what it means to be a technology steward as we were to identify Solidaridad’s needs and rank the importance of them (prioritize!).

So overall I have a lot to learn, but I’m enthusiastic about it and less and less confusiastic. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

WOAH CONFUSIASM!

I guess I will begin with the concept that Nancy White brought up in the project community introductory video “CONFUSIASM”. Because that is exactly how I felt when this project was handed to us. I felt confused about the project as a whole and couldn’t really wrap my head around it. Luckily we are working in groups which enable us to bring our confused heads together. And so we started to comprehend this rather complicated challenge by talking, discussing, reasoning and asking each other questions. Although, at the end of all this we were still confused and somewhat disorganized. BUT, I felt enthusiastic. We hadn’t yet grasped the meaning of all the parts of the project but we as a group had come together and started exploring, discovering and imagining. Hence, the term “confusiasm” came to fit perfectly for this first glance at the project.

I now understand that this project is about the use of internet and the value that is brings to the design process.  It is to find out how we can use network communities online to address world problems and how we can tap into this wider interconnected world. We will look at a specific NGO and try solving some of their challenges. This means that we will also be able to see how we as designers can actually help save the world. 

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Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

hahaah



hahaah

Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0

rookie

Hi, this is my first post, trying to figure how this tumblr thing works, seems fun, im gonna try post a photo too 

Posted in Community, Group 6
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Rebecka's Creations 2.0