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Successful Personal Branding

The unmet need of Solidaridad that we have been tasked to solve is the implementation of a solid personal branding strategy, to be used on the organization’s intranet, that will result in maximally efficient knowledge exchange between individuals working in the organization.

I explained in my first post that personal branding is, in a nutshell, marketing persons and their careers as brands. The clear implication herewith is that good personal branding is, in essence, good marketing. The bases of a personal branding strategy that will help Solidaidad are the impartment of marketing prowess on its workers, and a good system - intranet, in particular - that will facilitate the effective use of personal brands in service of exchanging knowledge and aiding cooperation between workers.

Any intranet that incorporates the sort of personalization seen in popular social networks, such as Facebook, into a work environment, is likely to suffice in bringing personal branding into the center of the workspace. I believe that the bulk of the task lies in making sure your employees know how to market themselves.

There are many facets to a good brand, personal or not, but transparency and authenticity are at its heart. Personal branding does not stop at showcasing the individual’s credentials and function within the company, or even at finding a professional niche. The underlying passions, visions, and goals of the individual are what sets apart a truly attractive brand. I believe that some of the best insight into marketing oneself succesfully and earnestly comes from Simon Sinek. In his TED Talks speech titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” he explains that the most inspiring marketing has the “why” at its core, or, as he puts it, “People don’t buy what you do - they buy why you do it.” What he says is extremely relevant to successful personal branding, but it must be noted that he stresses the point that most marketing is not of this “why-centric” nature - that it to say, it does not appeal to passions and beliefs shared with the audience, but, rather, merely informs the audience of the features of the marketed product and the credentials of its producer. This is where teaching employees to market themselves comes in. The bottom line is that having employees who know how to market themselves is a prerequisite for using personal branding to its fullest, and successful marketing does not come easy.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Crowdsourcing

The basic idea of crowdsourcing is soliciting input, in the form of ideas, services or content, from a very broad group of people, rather than employees or outsorcing contractors. If the goal of a company’s or an individual’s work is unique and appeals to many individuals, some of them may be willing to provide input without seeking profit; however, in most cases, crowdsourcing implies monetary rewards for succesful solutions, and there is therefore an obligation to select a crowd-provided solution if it is effective. Similarly, crowdfunding is usually not an option. Unless an idea is remarkably creative and unique, the creator - whether a company or an individual - must fund it themselves. This means that crowdsourcing does not usually come as an optional addition to self-made solutions, but, rather, that the two are mutually exclusive.

Companies therefore must evaluate whether they want to produce a solution internally, or crowdsource it. The central issue here is ratio of quality to profit. Crowdsourcing is usually the cheaper option, because crowd members, as contractors rather than employees, are not guaranteed a minimum wage. However, the company must decide whether crowdsourcing will produce a satisfactory result. There are quality concerns regarding crowdsourcing: since crowd workers are usually paid per task, they are often motivated to solve a problem quickly rather than thoroughly. Another problem with crowdsourcing is the limited level of interaction between the requester and the workers.

On the other hand, crowdsourcing may produce better solutions than internal employees, simply because of the larger sample of contributors. Crowdsourcing is more of a safe bet when the employees of a company cannot produce a solution they are satisfied with on their own. Another pro of crowdsourcing is especially relevant to the crowdsourcing of artistic input: individuals working on a web-based project are less self-conscious and more comfortable being open and bold, because they are not being physically scrutinized or judged. There are therefore fewer barriers to expressing themselves freely.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Teamwork

After 3 weeks of groupwork, things have recently started moving at a faster pace. Thanks to better organization, the last Google Hangout was the most productive by far, and we recieved a lot of new insights from our NGO insider.

There has been some progress in the sub-division of tasks between group members, but perhaps the group is somewhat too big for the tasks at hand - the work has been chopped up too much, with everyone getting tiny responsibilities, which, in my opinion, puts people at risk of losing sight of the common goal, and might even unnecessarily limit the amount of communication going on among team members. Hopefully, we will be able to give everyone an adequate workload in the future.

In the meantime, however, it might be a good idea to have a little less sub-division, and to have more people working on a single, broader task.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Online Spaces

I’ve mentioned in my last post that I frequently use the Internet to harvest information. As for interacting with other netizens, I am less inclined, but I have had some experience. I have participated in online discussions and have occasionally reached out to strangers to find information that was not so easily available to me.

This may seem like stating the obvious, but one should always remain aware that the problem with seeking out information from strangers in open online discussion is that the information is unreliable unless it is well backed up - the point being that online discussion is a tool that provides a good complement to other forms of research, but cannot replace them.

Turning to a smaller, specialized community, especially one where not all members are anonymous or one where the expertise of certain members is otherwise verifiable, may ensure that the received information is reliable and knowledgeable.

One of the greatest things about online communities is that they provide a platform for individuals to share their work and reach countless people with it. In effect, this means that less individual talent goes under the radar and people have equal opportunity to be recognized.

Whether one should communicate to a large community, a small one, an open one or one with restricted membership and participation, only depends on what one is trying to achieve.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Online Spaces

I’ve mentioned in my last post that I frequently use the Internet to harvest information. As for interacting with other netizens, I am less inclined, but I have had some experience. I have participated in online discussions and have occasionally reached out to strangers to find information that was not so easily available to me.

This may seem like stating the obvious, but one should always remain aware that the problem with seeking out information from strangers in open online discussion is that the information is unreliable unless it is well backed up - the point being that online discussion is a tool that provides a good complement to other forms of research, but cannot replace them.

Turning to a smaller, specialized community, especially one where not all members are anonymous or one where the expertise of certain members is otherwise verifiable, may ensure that the received information is reliable and knowledgeable.

One of the greatest things about online communities is that they provide a platform for individuals to share their work and reach countless people with it. In effect, this means that less individual talent goes under the radar and people have equal opportunity to be recognized.

Whether one should communicate to a large community, a small one, an open one or one with restricted membership and participation, only depends on what one is trying to achieve.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Comments

This post will be updated periodically to include links to my comments on my colleagues’ blogs.

http://projectcommunity.info/community/group-9/2991/comment-page-1/#comment-7881

http://projectcommunity.info/community/group-2/3015/comment-page-1/#comment-7886

http://projectcommunity.info/community/group-9/3258/comment-page-1/#comment-8306

http://projectcommunity.info/community/group-9/3484/comment-page-1/#comment-10143

http://projectcommunity.info/community/group-2/3651/comment-page-1/#comment-11979

http://projectcommunity.info/community/group-7/3739/comment-page-1/#comment-12523

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Developing Our Knowledge of Technology

The Internet: the sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips. I don’t know if it’s quite there yet, but all the infrastructure is in place.

I think that we, as a society, have yet to appreciate and harness its full potential. So far, it appears most people’s Internet usage is largely limited to Facebook and Youtube. The possibilities, however, are virtually infinite.

Personally, I spend large amounts of time using the net as the inexhaustible source of information that it is. I can safely say that my knowledge on many subjects would be far weaker, were it not for the Internet.

I see Wikipedia as an indispensible part of my life. Many will argue that it is useless because of its essential feature, and also that which is seen by others as its greatest asset: it can be edited by anyone, at any time, to any extent. However, the rigid moderation of Wikipedia succeeds in making it a great resource, mainly because great importance is placed on citations from credible sources. Thus, every well-written Wikipedia article is a springboard to a great many reliable documents - one simply needs to scroll down to the “References” section.

Another great tool is Google Docs and similar services which can be used to collaboratively edit a document in real time.

As of now, I am not particularly knowledgeable in using digital tools that require technical skill - I am not, for instance, experienced in photo editing, nor do I “speak” any programming languages. When it comes to these particular skills, I believe I have more to learn from my group members than they have to learn from me, so I eagerly await the coming groupwork.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog

Week 1 blog post

Our class goal is to expand our understanding of ways to maximize the knowledge exchange within in the organization by developing a ‘personal branding’ strategy for each employee. Personal branding is the practice of marketing persons and their careers as brands [1]. A successful brand is one that is uniquely distinguishable, memorable and attractive to the target audience. Therefore, successful personal branding within an organization may facilitate knowledge exchange within an organization by creating a unique environment where co-workers intuitively respond to the input of their colleagues through internalized associations of their colleagues’ work with their respective brand.

An important issue to consider is whether the branding of individuals may discourage them from “thinking outside the box” by codifying them as creators of a specific type or class of product – the one initially associated with their personal brand. This way, the designer may find himself in a rut, struggling to keep up with his reputation as prescribed by his brand, instead of liberating himself from the oft limiting effect of marketing on innovation. The pressure to market oneself to one’s peers may result in a kind of “Tall Poppy syndrome” whereby designers of great merit are hindered in their creative process by a lack of interest amongst a large section of their colleagues.

It is therefore of utmost importance for an organization to find an appropriate balance between applying branding and marketing to individuals on one hand, and facilitating individuality and respect for talent and innovation on the other. This enables the individual to retain the drive to satisfy his own keen curiosity and personal creative mindset while successfully wearing two of the “four hats:” marketing and teamwork. At the same time, individual designers must not lose sight of the fact that the constant exchange of knowledge with their peers is generally paramount to innovating in this age of complexity and extreme breadth of technology and science. I would like our team to discuss these important issues throughout our project. I do not expect definite answers as the outcome of our work, but I would like the project to broaden our team members’ knowledge and awareness. I believe that what I can bring to the group is a desire to ask open-ended question about the bigger picture.

[1]Lair, Daniel J.; Sullivan, Katie; Cheney, George (2005). “Marketization and the Recasting of the Professional Self”. Management Communication Quarterly 18 (3): 307–343.

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Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Ruben's Blog