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.
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.
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.