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GROUPS, THEIR EDGES AND THE BENEFIT OF DIVERSITY

”We often think of communities as organic creatures, which come into existence and grow on their own. However, the truth is they are fragile blossoms. Although many communities surely germinate and bloom on their own, purposefully creating communities can take a tremendous amount of hard work, and one factor their success ultimately depends upon is their number.”

- Christopher Allen

Life with Alacrity

As it is true for all kinds of relationships and interactions between people, it is a fact that there are no relationships which are perfectly balanced and smoothly working without putting effort in them. In fact, relationships are hard work. I suggest everybody can agree with this, regarding personal experiences, for example in partnerships. However, this is valid for all kinds of relations in which interdependences and coexistence are found. There are a lot of factors involved, one of them is the huge importance of mutual communication and understanding. Without communication, every bond between people will sooner or later break apart, or even be teared dramatically. Consequently, the right communication is the most important component of a working relationship, no matter of which kind and consistency. Regarding relationships within groups, there are several components which affect the efficiency and and creativity. Supporting Chris Corrigan, I have also the opinion, that the group size plays a crucial role. As he pointed out, groups of one, or respectively the individual work and reflection, are the best basis for generating ideas and being creative and innovative. The group benefits insofar, that these thoughts and ideas are brought back to the bigger circle afterwards, which brings the possibility to combine and connect them and through this, a broader field of creativity. Moreover, small groups which consist of odd numbered members, like 3 or 5, tend to be very creative and energetic. Whereas group constellations with more than 5 members will probably have difficulties with being creative, as well as with working together, because the members may start pulling away instead of cooperating, which has the result of loosing the benefits of diversity within the group. Nevertheless, the more diversity and ‘edges’ a group has, the more source you have to work collaborative on one topic.

For me personally, this is a very useful and supportive insight and I think, our group work for the NGO’s can be a perfect model to implement this idea.

WORKING TEAM 4 EVA


Our group consists of 7 members, with 6 different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. And of course, 7 diverse individuals, each with his own personality, values, beliefs and understanding of the things around. Taking this into consideration, I believe that our group corresponds pretty well an that we get more and more to the point, where everybody realizes and recognizes his or her role in this cooperation. Of course, if you can’t see your own abilities and qualities, you consequently can not contribute them to the group. For that reason, it is very important to organize the group, distributing roles and responsibilities. That is the base for finding and developing our personal position within the group. Furthermore, it is very significant to be in constant exchange with all members, so we have the possibility to align our thoughts and ideas, share our insights and conclusions and as a result, being on the same level. However, this is an ideal model of cooperation, which we have not reached yet, but i think we are on the ‘right’ way to understand the issue and finally get there. Yesterday, I experienced that we worked more focused and effective, if we divide the group in smaller parts. We want to implement this from now on, which means that we will work in smaller components and afterwards combine and connect the results as a whole group. Regarding the hangout on monday, i think everybody agrees that it worked a lot better with splited groups. Furthermore, it gave us the possibility to keep on working, while the two members could be focused on the hangout. I hope, that we now can better organize and structure our group interactions.

For me, the biggest challenge and difficulty does not lie in our group internal communication, but in having trouble with being ‘up to date’ in all the different fields and courses. Which, of course, has the result that we are not at the same level and insofar can not always really exchange our thoughts and insights. A possible help or solution could be, that we try to communicate this more precise in the group, so we can finally help each other by sharing all kinds of extracts we make. However, I hope and think that the confusion will lessen with the time and we can finally make use of our experiences and knowledge, both online and offline.

” A chain is as strong as its weakest link ”´

- German saying -

Thanks for reading.

Katinka

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Posted in Community, Group 4
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: +
4 comments on “GROUPS, THEIR EDGES AND THE BENEFIT OF DIVERSITY
  1. Hi Katinka and the rest of group 4!

    With regards to teamwork, shared understanding and collaborative design skills I would like to recommend one article which I will publish on your facebook page!

    The next one by the same author might be interesting as well: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142694X0800032X
    Barriers and enablers for creating shared understanding in co-design projects – by Maaike Kleinsmann and Rianne Valkenburg is about a case study in the industry; which might be difficult to get a grip on since the context (school) and subject (no engineering challenge) are different. See what you can use!

  2. katinka says:

    Thank you, Marteen !
    Well, I dont think we should refer ‘the weakast link’ to a specific person or situation, but try to undersrand the meaning of it, and take that as an impulsion to be even more attentive within the group.
    Like I said, it is of big importance to be on the same level in order to be able to work collaboratively as a team, consisting of individual links which form the chain.

  3. Nice reflection Katinka. How do you identify ‘your chains weakest link’ and how do you support them? It’s also related to Solidaridad’s work in a way…

  4. Maria says:

    I wanted to start with this quote too at first :). I agree with you that we underestimated aligning. And I think the best way to do it is by summing up all the thoughts on Trello.

Group 4 Blogs
  1. + i-yu-me.tumblr.com
  2. de Lang's Design wtdelang.tumblr.com
  3. J's Blog j-p-s-blog.tumblr.com
  4. Lina's Project Community Blog blog-lina-things.tumblr.com
  5. Mairya's intercultural puzzle mairya.tumblr.com
  6. Meliga's Community juliameliga.tumblr.com
  7. Philipp is using tumblr now. So innovative tumbulr-rasa.tumblr.com

Final Video

Conversations
  • Nancy White { I appreciate that you included client liaison - I think this is often forgotten. Good catch. What advice would you give next year's students please?... } – Dec 18, 5:53 AM
  • Nancy White { Fun visuals! And right to the point. I think you are practicing your design principles! 🙂 Thanks for being part of Project Community Nancy } – Dec 18, 5:52 AM
  • Nancy White { I loved this piece of advice "Nobody will spoon-feed you the content of the course, you have to make your own experiences but you get... } – Dec 18, 5:51 AM
  • Nancy White { I love that you used your own photo! But more important, I appreciate the clarity of your description of what you have learned. WONDERFUL! Thanks... } – Dec 18, 5:49 AM
  • Nancy White { OK, your tips are the most practical ones I've read so far. WONDERFUL. Thanks, Fer. Thanks for being part of Project Community Nancy } – Dec 18, 5:46 AM
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