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Weekly GuIDE 5

Now that we’ve learned about crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, I find that they are very important options to take into consideration when designing a product. The “crowd” in those words makes these options unique and gives them a higher value, because it makes you realise that you need a lot of people when designing a product. That doesn’t mean that working alone is not possible, but collective input does result in greater achievements, whether the services or goods were to be tangible or not.

I’ve talked a lot about crowdsourcing in one of my blogs and I really like the idea of it and found it to be very beneficial. Crowdsourcing can be done for different motives such as inquiring or propagating ideas. I realised that this were very important for Solidaridad, because in order for them to develop their employees’ branding strategy amid the workforce, crowdsourcing is essential. We also have to try to maximise the knowledge exchange within Solidaridad, thus crowdsourcing is definitely the way to go. Our group must make crowdsourcing accessible by customizing their social intranet platform, thus the knowledge exchange would become higher. It is very important in this case to have all the employees aware of everything going on within the workforce and this is where crowdsourcing plays a big role and will allow for everyone’s creativity, inquiries and ideas to be shared and that’s how the spread of knowledge nurtures.

Crowdsourcing isn’t only essential for Solidaridad, but also for us as a group as I’ve mentioned in my blogs. We as a group made a Facebook Group where we informed each other of important notices, shared ideas and posted inquiries. It was important for us as a group to communicate and make use of crowdsourcing on a social platform, so that we can propagate our ideas to help us with our challenge for Solidaridad.

Even though crowdfunding isn’t important for our specific challenge; it is still a crucial factor when designing. Phone Bloks (http://www.phonebloks.com/) for example is an innovative idea that was spread all over Facebook as an idea of a phone that lasts. In their case, they made use of crowdspeaking and what was really left was the crowdfunding. That’s when you realise that the only thing that is stopping you from producing your product, is money, and that’s were crowdfunding becomes the next step. However, you still need to make use of crowdsourcing in order to have crowdfunding, and this is another way of using crowdsourcing; to get funds. You need to spread your ideas, have your supporters and get them to pay to support you.

I’ve had some experience with fundraising for charities in my previous school, which is the same idea as crowdfunding. I’ve always done it in groups for global issues such as one of my project’s aim which was cancer awareness. The renowned cancer hospital in Egypt called 57357 was solely based on donations and we wanted to help by fundraising within our school community. We sent e-mails to everyone in the school including the parents with our goals for our cancer awareness project which was to raise a certain amount of money to be donated.

So how can crowdsourcing and crowdfunding help designers? Crowdsourcing will definitely help them create a community that is built on trust, thus a high reputation. It will allow them to receive feedback from the community as well as opinions on their ideas. It will also help them interact with other designers and that will bring in more ideas and creativity. As for crowdfunding, it will allow designers to get money faster and from people that they know will support their ideas and will probably buy the product as well, so in turn that would give the designer and the client mutual benefits. Crowdfunding is definitely an easier approach than loans from banks which is very hard these days especially when we are in an economic crisis.

However, there are certain disadvantages as well to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. I can’t think of many disadvantages, since I find these to be great options for designers, but sometimes designers don’t like the “crowd” in sourcing! Some people prefer to work on their own and rely on simple marketing strategies such as primary research and secondary research to be able to pitch their product. Yet again, crowdsourcing can be unsuccessful if you don’t have enough people to contribute to your project and that’s when you have to make sure that you have marketed your idea in the correct place according to your target audience. I think the worst thing about crowdsourcing is that people don’t get motivated to share their ideas or contribute to it, because they just don’t see what they will get out of it. Incentives can be a solution, but that is not possible when your next logical step would be crowdfunding. From my experience with crowdfunding, I think a main limiting factor was our lack in crowdsourcing. Many people didn’t know about our fundraising project and so many people didn’t contribute!

Therefore, I concluded that it is most important to develop a community first before crowdfunding. Crowdfunding may take longer than simply getting loans from banks, but if designers have established a good sense of crowdsourcing and formed a community that has the same vision, I believe that crowdfunding would then be the easiest step for designers.

Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Yomna Farid

Weekly GuIDE 4

Teamwork is the essence of high productivity and sharing ideas that will lead to great accomplishments. Synergy is crucial within teams, because in order for us to work together to achieve our goals to help our NGO with their employees’ personal branding strategy on their intranet platform, we must be able to work cooperatively together. This in turn will allow for better communication and understanding thus working as a team will come naturally along the way. Ultimately, the whole point of being a team is having a combined effect that is greater than our separate effects on this project.

I personally do struggle with working in teams, because it requires collective commitment, communication and input. That is not to say that I am none of the descriptions that I just mentioned or that I am not capable of pursuing them, but I just find it harder to do that in a team. At first, our communication was hard since I didn’t have Facebook. That was my worry at first since I always find it hard to communicate since I don’t use the same tools as other people and especially because I like face to face communication and meetings, but that of course is not always possible. Commitment can be hard too, as we have many meetings which require everyone’s attendance and when one doesn’t go, we end up with a team where not everyone is up-to-date with the group’s achievements so far. It then becomes hard to catch up thus informing others can become difficult which eventually results in less collective input. In a team, you depend on each other and sometimes collective input can be unsuccessful when only some or the majority of the team have done their part of the work.

Nevertheless, I have learned in the past few years to work better in teams. I prefer working on my own, because it’s easier for me, but there’s something very special about teamwork that leads to greater and unique results. In our case, I find that we did struggle at the beginning with a lot of things. Everything was new to us; we were overwhelmed by this project and we were still getting ourselves settled in the university. We didn’t work as a team in the start and we basically only worked in lesson time. We immediately changed the culture within our group, because we weren’t satisfied with our input into the project. We wanted to work harder as a team, thus we started to have meetings outside of class time and do individual research to come back with insights.

After our struggle at the beginning, I realised that we were becoming more productive during class and outside of class. I do believe that we had a sudden epiphany that motivated us all to stop slacking and start working hard. We seem to have a good way of communicating and keeping everyone up-to-date and on track through our Facebook Group. We always notify each other about important dates of our meetings as well as posting our queries and of course sharing ideas and videos that would inspire us or help us broaden our horizon and think deeper. Lately, I also realised that we’ve become very productive when working in class on a certain task, especially after this week’s class task. A lot of us showed a lot more commitment and productivity and this really helped our team to get a little more motivated.

We seem to have adapted to the process of the project after a lot of struggle, however I still think that there are some remaining challenges that we still face, but must overcome together as a team. We tend to find it hard to have meetings as it’s always hard to gather the whole team together outside of class time. I think it’s a challenge that I’ve always hated about teams, because you always have to make time for group meetings, and this takes time off your free time. However, this is fundamental and so all of us must be able to meet under any circumstances. I also find that we need to show a lot more of commitment and motivation. Being committed is hard, especially in a team where we rely on each other and for each other.  We need to show more commitment to meetings and individual work, because one person will affect the rest of the team, as there’s no I in TEAM. Motivation is always a critical factor in productivity and it’s very typical that our motivation isn’t always high. I remember our last day in the introduction week when we had to find what motivates each person in the group. Up until now, I think we get motivated to get high grades, which is actually a good thing.

I really like the topic of this week, because it really was a wakeup call for everyone as everyone began working productively in this week’s class after we had talked about group sizes and had adopted that into our team. Chris Corrigan, hit on some really important points which were evidently shown during class. The impact of group size is immense as it determines the amount of productivity that is done. I really like the fact that Chris Corrigan pointed out that teamwork is about having many edges that will allow for subgroups to form and harvest ideas rather than having one circle where it becomes harder to facilitate ideas. We realised that this was true as we discovered that we worked best when he had worked in small groups during the lesson. However, I also like how Chris Corrigan defined teamwork as having subgroups that brainstorm and aggregate ideas to bring them back to the rest of the group to generate and propagate as a whole team. I absolutely agree with it and it is very successful. We did individual research and came back with many insights that we shared and those generated ideas and even made brainstorming easier. So since a group of 7 is big we decided that a group of 2-3 is ideal. Nonetheless, we must have in mind that ideas come from individuals and that it’s the key to innovation and when working as a team that’s when we stabilize and propagate our ideas together.

We are a culturally diverse group which allows for us to propagate unique ideas as we all come from different countries with different cultural backgrounds that impact our thoughts and ideas. This is in a sense an advantage for Solidaridad as they want to be well-known. We as an international oriented team can critique and deliver ideas that could help them observe any cultural barriers regarding their NGO that could be taken into account for example. Then again, the culture within our group is quite lazy I must say. It is not something that we are proud of, but that we should definitely change by motivating each other, because it will cause less productivity!

We assigned roles from the beginning of the project, which was a great idea! We had our leader, our researchers, our editor etc. That came in handy when we needed for example to publish the Spidergram notes, where I, the editor took the position of writing up the notes and editing them to be published on Tumblr. This also made us aware of our individual tasks and it was a brilliant way of spreading workload across the team when we did individual research at home and brought in many insights that resulted with great ideas for Solidaridad.

Now that I’ve pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of our group, I think it would be a good idea to start working hard on our weaknesses so that we can be more productive. I think teamwork is fundamental and so we should focus on committing to our roles as that would help with controlling our group. We all noticed the immense change when we divided into subgroups and were assigned roles, because by the end of the day, we managed to do a lot of work! We have to organize our meetings properly which also requires commitment and we should set a fixed date for each week. Our tool and method of communication is the Facebook Group which has shown to be very successful for sharing ideas and discussing important things, so maybe we should be a little more active on there. Lastly, I think we should all try to motivate each other more. We tend to get everyone to contribute to the work, but it would be even greater to have everyone motivated instead, so that they can give their full potential.

I wanted to share a few slides of one of my business presentations on motivation. In business, teamwork is a type of non-financial motivation and within every organization; teamwork is the most important thing for high productivity. These slides should help our team understand teamwork better and understand its essential value in the workforce!

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Yomna Farid

Group Blog Post

This week we focused on working together in a team and it really got us to reflect on our roles and how we can improve our teamwork.

Evidently, when reflecting we showed a lot of positive results, because we immediately started assigning roles for each person. We made sure we had our spokesperson, blogger and someone taking notes on MeetingWords.

To be honest, all of us can admit that we were pretty productive today and that dividing roles allowed us to be more productivite and a lot more faster. What is also important, is dividing roles according to everyone’s expertise so that everyone can give their best and be motivated while doing so. It made the workload seem less, when really the secret ingredient was teamwork!

Working in groups can be difficult especially when they are too big. Yes, you can get a lot more diverse ideas, but when it comes to teamwork it becomes hard to take control of everything happening. Crowdsourcing is a bonus in big groups, but even communication can be a little hard. We as a group found that dividing our groups into smaller groups is much easier.

Communication is also essential and definitely has made our team a lot more committed to our meetings, tasks and inquiries. We only use our Facebook Group which we share notices on and ideas through videos. We find this to be a great platform for communicating, because it’s easy to use and we all have it. We’re also able to communicate all at once which is also an advantage.

Our plan is, to divide our group into 3’s as this will help us to be able to focus more on our task and become more productive and creative as our tasks would then be clear and specific. We should then during our weekly meetings collect all our work and start brainstorming and developing ideas that could connect to our NGO. We think this is a great plan, as we also realised that we were able to brainstorm very well when we had done previous research as that acts as an insight and starting point for creative ideas.

Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Yomna Farid

Weekly GuIDE 3

Crowdsourcing is fundamental, especially when you’ve got all the necessary tools scattered around you for FREE. Well to an extent, because you still have to buy the appliances and pay for the Wi-Fi network. My point is that we can do so much with crowdsourcing even if we’re miles apart. It allows for the intersection of ideas, information and creativity with the contribution of a multicultural community working actively online.

I recently watched a TED video hosted by Michael Nielsen and he talked about Open Science and this idea of crowdsourcing allowing for greater ideas. This related a lot to our course of the Open Innovator, and I even understood more about what an open innovator is; this notion of using technology i.e. social networks and crowdsourcing to come up with innovative ideas during and post our IDE course.

I’ve hit on this topic in my previous blog where I talked about the Egyptian revolution on the 25th of January, 2011 and how it affected my thoughts towards technology. I’d like to use the concept we learned in class of the three strands; Me: the Individual, We: Communities and Many: Network. It was obvious that the individual in this case was every Egyptian citizen who had emotions and an idea of wanting to change things. That’s when we, the communities were created by many Egyptian citizens having that same idea and were sharing thoughts by making relationships through groups with the intention of making a change using the power of a community. Finally the main network which was Facebook, allowed for the transfer of ideas on the social platform and even Levy’s theory of reciprocal apprenticeship had a big impact, as sharing had to be mutual.

I had mentioned a lot on my experience with technology in my previous blog about the fact that I like to keep a low profile, thus I don’t make use of online spaces to have a personal identity, but to solely talk to my friends and family and to research basically everything. I think what I personally loved about all those social networks was how they allowed us to communicate with each other. However, I only used them to talk to people I knew in person and so I never made new friends on the online space, because I didn’t like that idea of meeting people I’ve never seen face to face. At the same time, I was also very specific with which networks I used, thus I stuck to the networks that were only for communicating such as Skype and MSN, unlike Facebook which gave room for personal identity and sharing ideas and interests.

On the other hand, I also use online spaces to harvest information, because as stated in my previous blog, I love researching for everything; whether it is work-related or not.  In my case, I didn’t use Facebook to get my information, since I didn’t have it for around 3 years. I instead used Google and it has, is, and will always be the best source of information! (After books, of course!)

Nevertheless, I started realising that I was missing out on many groups that traded information and ideas. Those groups were also there to raise awareness of social issues like child abduction where Joseph Kony was the alleged criminal. I then started to realise this sense of crowdsourcing naturally evolving to create awareness amid our society of this crime. This for example is something I definitely wish I had been an active member of as well as with other groups, especially the ones that had great motifs for a better world, because great power comes from large communities!

So, I have noticed that people interact with global issues and ideas faster and easier through networks and that it does make connections easier. Now that I am in the IDE Facebook group I have to say that it is without doubt easier to interact with others and share ideas as well as interests. Right now this is considered the only group that I am part of as well as the Project Community group and it has proven to be a great way of communicating about specified related topics.

Up until now I can comfortably say that being on social networks is a great way of communicating. I still find it easier for me to be part of tools that are specifically for communicating such as WhatsApp and Skype, but then again you can still form groups on those tools. However, crowdsourcing is very important as well, and I see this in our IDE group when we share ideas, notices and even just questions if we’re struggling.

To wrap this up, I think that being part of the social network is vital nowadays, because it allows for communication, crowdsourcing and simply this idea of unity through all those individuals who are active online. I did at first only harvest information and chat online, but I think social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow for sharing ideas as well as interacting with people around the world. Even though I prefer WhatsApp and direct chatting tools, I still like and have to adapt to being part of online groups, because in this technological world we live in today, online crowdsourcing is fundamental and definitely inevitable for great accomplishments and this is something that our group should focus on for our NGO.

Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Yomna Farid

Weekly GuIDE 2

This week, I was introduced to technology stewardship which I found very interesting as it related to me in various ways. Being able to manage your digital identity for others to see is important as it allows you to define yourself as a person but also manage the knowledge you have of the technological tools around you.

One thing that people should know is that I’m quite “old school” to certain extents; in the sense that I value life’s offerings more than what technology offers. I prefer writing and doing my work on paper rather than having to do everything online. I also like interacting with people face-to-face, because it feels more “real” to me. Arguably, that does not mean that I do not appreciate technology, or that I am oblivious to the highly technological world that is surrounding us, in fact I try to keep myself up-to-date with technology all the time.

I’m really happy that I got the chance to share this on my blog, because my experience with technology is pretty unique and my stance towards technology has perhaps radically changed throughout the years. I remember when I first heard about MSN and how amazed and mesmerized I was with the idea of being able to “chat”. It may sound stupid now, but at that time, it was magical! I then started to realize that I could implement myself into a virtual world and meet other people through, what at that time was a hit, the online game Club Penguin.

Conversely, I realised that not many people mentioned the danger that online communication/technological tools can carry, such as identity theft or fabricated Photoshop pictures. I also remember watching Oprah Winfrey and the vicious stories she shared with the world about online chatting with strangers. As you may have guessed, this was of course related to Facebook!

I then realised the rise in technology and the online communities. Everyone started to depend on technology; from e-commerce to school portals to sharing creativity and ideas. Also, new tools began to become a trend such as Photoshop.

Nevertheless, I decided to make a Facebook account and started “Facebooking”. Shortly after, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account for about 3 years long and I experienced a metamorphosis in my thoughts and views towards technology.

So here was my technological solution to all this; I call it Google. I faced boredom because of the absence of social networks which reminded me of our discussion about boredom in Collateral Value after having watched a TED video. We discussed the value of boredom, however boredom nowadays is very rare as we always have something to distract us within this highly technological world.

While all the girls were stalking their ex-boyfriends on Facebook, I in contrast found out more about myself; my talents, skills, passions etc. I at first started with my passion for watching movies and did that when I was bored. Gradually, I started to learn a lot from movies. People usually think that watching movies is blocking your imagination, but I perceived it differently. I learned new vocabulary from movies, by looking them up and I learned a lot about the themes that the movies focused on. I then got into the habit of researching, and let me tell you, I am a freak when it comes to researching!

Researching aka “Googling”, was my secret tool you could say, because that’s how I kept socially and technologically up-to-date without having to have a Facebook or any other account. However, what enlightened me the most was to sit and read about everything online; from articles to social networks to everything. That to me was like being socially and technologically active “behind the scenes”.

The Egyptian revolution on the 25th of January, 2011, had a lot of ties with technology. In fact, I had to write an essay about the influence of technology on the revolution, so if you’d like me to post it then please do tell me. This revolution was also recognized as a technological revolution as it started on Facebook and the technological tools were used for communication amid the community. It is then when I realised that those tools can also be used to share ideas and thoughts and exchange opinions.

I love technology and honour it in many ways. I myself prefer simple tools like WhatsApp, just to be able to talk to people that I care about across the globe. On the other hand, Facebook is great as well and it allows for digital identity and room for a lot of personal branding. In the case of our NGO, Solidaridad, they are looking for a platform that will allow them to maximize the exchange of knowledge between the workers within the company and that is related to branding your identity. I myself like to keep a low-profile and even though I didn’t like the idea of having to keep on track with all of our work online, I think it’s important, because this world depends on technology, so I can run from it now but sooner or later it will hit me in the face. People like me who like paper work and face-to-face communication/interaction will have to adapt, and that comes easily with me. So to my group and others, this is how I can help you and these are some of my strengths with technology:

·         I’m a fast learner with new technology tools.

·         I research everything. So I will find a way to find an answer to what I am researching for!

·         I took ICT and have basic knowledge in Excel, Word, PowerPoint, FrontPage and Access. So, I hope I can share what I remember.

·         I did volunteer work and got the experience to work with Photoshop, so I know the basics of Photoshop, which was majorly self-taught.

·         I’ve worked a lot with Movie Maker so I hope that could be of some use as well!

Frankly, I could’ve easily said that I knew all about these different kinds of tools, because I would’ve presumably researched them beforehand and told you so. But I didn’t. The point is, if I don’t know how it works, I will find out, because technology is available to make our lives easier not complicated, and there are billions of generous people out there willing to share their expertise with others through videos, blogs etc. SO if I don’t know the answer, then Google surely will!

P.s. I wanted to firstly ask if I could get some sort of feedback as to how I could go from a grade “Good” to “Excellent” as the “comment” column on the Grading List was left blank for my name. Secondly, Tumblr publishes my blog with a new date every time I edit my blog. I like to go back the next day and read through it, but it always alters the publication date to the day I edited it not to the day I actually published it, which happened with my previous blog post, so can that be changed?

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Yomna Farid

Weekly GuIDE 1

For starters, I can’t believe that my first ever blog post is about my studies in Industrial Design Engineering, but hey, it’s my future, so I guess this is of much more value than any other random blog I would’ve posted.

SO starting the course with exploring the connections between NGO’s and our IDE course is already a great start as we are contributing to a good deed with our own innovative and creative thoughts as well as our skills and talents. What I think I learned is that team work is probably the most important think in this course. With an internationally diverse group of students I think our course will not only help us generate new ideas, but also learn from each other. Living in a world were globalisation is increasing substantially, I think being able to collaborate and work with people from different cultural backgrounds is a great advantage as that would formulate immense ideas within our class.

Goals are essential in life as I believe that having the will and motivation to do something is already 50% of the idea completed. Our goals seem to have been clear from the start. We all wanted to become designers in all sorts of ways, but on the way to reaching our goals we had to also think about discovering our own strengths and weaknesses in order to finally figure out what we wanted to specialize in. I also think that we as designers wanted to make a difference in the world, as we were always exploring solutions for the world and we always tried to figure out how we could incorporate our innovative minds. However, I believe that there are steps to that such as hard work, commitment and teamwork.

In a world where technology is an essential part of our daily lives, I think I want to learn how we as innovators can improve this connectivity between everyone in the world. However, we also live in a world that is in my opinion lacking unity, and I think that innovators can make a difference. Yet again, there are always disadvantages to everything, so I’d also like to learn how innovators can make things better as well as considering the ethical implications of our influence on the world.

Working in a team for our first assignment is in a sense achieving our goal of teamwork. I think we must learn to create synergy, learn from each other and exchange opinions and ideas to form a complete puzzle generated from pieces that were scattered away from each other, and yet formed a masterpiece. I’d want and expect our team’s project to be as creative and as unique as possible, because I really think that coming from such diverse nationalities will allow us to incorporate many different yet extraordinary and exotic ideas.

I hope that I can contribute in my team with what I’ve learned from my experiences in life and with my international background as that would probably bring new ideas to the project. I don’t have a specific quality but I do know that I am determined to work hard and that even though working in teams is quite hard, I still believe that we will be cooperating very well.

Ultimately, what really sums up what I’ve learned in the past week and what will be my guide for the future is what Confucius once said and that is to, Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Yomna Farid