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Posts From Group 7
Once this group convenes and develops its project focus and team name, this will tell you more about this group.

Time Flies….

In my opinion the most effective theme for our NGO would be crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. Because the thing our NGO needs is money in order to be able to solve problems. But to find people that support him in his projects he needs to reach out to a big audience. To reach out to big audience he needs to have good ideas which evolve through good crowdsourcing. So this is kind of a neverending circle that can even improve itself, because good crowdsourcing leads to good crowdfunding which leads to alot of support. All of this support adds alot of experience,motivation and financial security. All this leads to better crowdsourcing and so on.

In my opinion crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are not only important but also a lot of fun and exciting. We had many great themes so far. Especially this weeks theme, marketing, is also very important but marketing can be a one-mans job. But l believe that crowdsourcing is more about working together in a team with people that have the same ambitions and same goal. This is an environment l would enjoy and thats why its more important for me.

And last but not least is the atmosphere in a company/organisation very important. Studies of the University of Southern California showed that it is more likely to succeed if you work in a group that you have worked with and achieved something before.

I am sure that the key to success will be crowdsourcing and crowdfunding because everything is possible with a group of well motivated and organized people.

PS: There was no such study.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mario Levon Mirzahanyan

WEEK 7

During those 7 interesting weeks we’ve been going through different themes and topic which can help us with  solving our NGO’s unmet needs. Personally for me I find three of the topics most useful for our aim and they are Teamwork, Crowdsouring and marketing.

I know i have to choose only one and that’s why I’m going to choose Teamwork. This is not only important for our group insides but for Solidaridad and by our platform we are working also towards improving their teamwork too, because it is really communicative orientated. 

The first reason I think that teamwork is helpful is really simple: two heads think better then one. A team can come up with more ideas, write them down, evaluate them and then can choose the best one, so this pretty much acts as a motivation and effectiveness. 

The second reason is that i think that when time passes everyone in the team is getting more comfortable with the environment and with his teammates and this creates a bond between them making the work and communication easy. Also that variety of personalities and cultures makes everything really creative and productive which is always a positive. 

Third reason is as important as the last two. Just as a productive chain a team can me a lot more productive then from separate people. The work can be done fast and efficient if the team is well synchronized and everybody knows that being fast and productive wins not only money but time and saves effort. A team can really make the work towards a goal better. 

As a solution to the problem me and my group decided to make a platform which stimulates communication and information sharing. This is of great importance because everybody knows that who has the information has the world. This platform will really help our NGO information sharing, communication and inside awareness which will benefit their work a lot. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nikolay Yorgov's guide to the galaxy

WEEK 7

Looking into themes which we were discovering, getting to know and discussing, I think that the one, which could help us (our NGO) the most, would be crowdsourcing.

As the challenge is to improve the platform which they are using to exchange information, experiences and knowledge, between those ten centres all over the world, I think that crowdsourcing could be very helpful to us.

First reason, why I chose crowdsourcing is that it allows to collect information, ideas from others and may be used via internet. If we want our project to target some specific group, or if we have to solve some of problems that community has, crowdsourcing can be used. It gives us opportunity to get to know what the problem is, how it should be solved and what are people’s expectations and actual needs.

Second one, is that, by crowdsourcing we can get needed services. In our case, the platform which NGO is using, has been already stated and created. But if we had to decide on our own and actually create one, I think that we could always turn to (for example) some online community, which would like to helps us in creating one.In that way, we could get a service done by people who care about the project and have needen knowledge and experience.

Third one, may be fact that crowdsourcing also helps to ‘start’ companies or charities, in that case NGO. You can get information about what is needed, what and how  should be done. Let’s say that somewhere in the world, there is a problem with (again, for example) supply chains, people do not have money, knowledge and resources to produce those in the sustainable way, but have good conditions to do so. By crowdsourcing, you can get to know, that the problem exists, find people who the problem concerns and also those, who want to change the situation. In that way a large community can be established and even  an organization willing to ‘fight’ with the problem.

Starting the project, the most important thing for us was to get answers to our questions, which we had to the NGO itself. We wanted to know, how the system of communication works now, what are their main problems, what works well, what should be improved etc. We needed information to know exactly how the result of the project should look like, what we are expected to do. We did not have enough time to ‘crowdsource’ all the information on our own, so we decided to ask Maarten, but we still have not recived the answers, so we simply based our work on assumptions that we have done.

Our solution to the problems they have will be a project of the platform, proposition of how it should look like, what options it should have, what type of information would it give, how could people find what they need or want to find, also how, where they can add things that they have done (experiences and knowledge). We decided that this is the best way to have the assignment done. As we had to face with problems like lack of communication, user’s friendliness and user’s experience, we think that giving them a design of platform which is esay to use, simple but professional will be the best option. We will also do a report (essay) giving the information why and how we decided to do things in that particular way, and what influenced our decisions.

There is some time left. so we are still working on it and improving, to make it the best :).

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Karolina's Project Community Thoughts

Week 7 Assignment

Which of the themes we’ve been looking into so far will be of the most use towards your goal of solving the unmet need of your NGO?

I believe week 5: theme 2 - work teams is key to solving the need of our NGO. This is because:

  1. Motivation: Teamwork does not only mean people sharing ideas and exchanging thoughts but as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs points out social needs/sense of belonging must be achieved in order to proceed to the next level and ultimately resulting in motivation. This said it is crucial for all team members to be motivated and willing to discuss their ideas. Once the ideas flow and people are more confortable in the environment we can put ideas on paper and discuss them thus making it easier as a group to visualize which ideas would work and which ideas need some changing.
  2. Get to know each other: Another reason that I believe theme 2 is important is because 5 weeks have gone by and by then everyone should more or less be confortable with working and knowing each other. Knowing your teammates take time, this is why sometimes it can take more time to get everyone participating. This means that for some people slowing down the pace of the conversation as to let some people have a turn to talk. This week especially teamwork was at its best it allowed a brainstorm of ideas that as a result created a rough draft of what our group thought would be a fitting solution for Solidaridad.
  3. Halfway there: After 5 weeks everyone is more relaxed with working together however 5 weeks also means that we are approaching the deadline this encourages people who like me, have been a little bit to relax to work. The result of everyone’s input resulted in a great brainstorming session on what our final solution should include. Hence time constraints also encourage teamwork. The key role in any teamwork is communication and that will also be the key to succeeding in meeting the needs of our NGO.

What do you think the solution should be and why?

The solution we came up with was an interface that would encourage communication and thus improving the production of produce. The interface would make it easy for someone in one particular region to learn how someone else in another region is doing. After a group brainstorm we decided to group. We found that this idea has potential but with input from the rest of the group we decided to keep the idea that people in different regions might want to communicate only about the produce they are interested in, hence we categorized by produce. Grouping people and region by what produce they are producing. Ultimately the solution had to be for us at least a means of sharing and communicating on both a global and regional scale.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Maarten's mind

Week 7 – A Sort of Reflection.

            This weeks theme was marketing but that is not specifically what this blog addresses. This week we have been asked to look at the project in context I guess, looking back at what we have done, and which will be of most use to us in our challenge. We should first remind ourselves what the themes have been over the last 8 weeks. We explored four distinct themes.

            Idea networks was the first theme we looked at, we explored how our projects needs could be identified and how ideas can be generated using the internet, online tools, whatever is at your disposal! After this we moved onto working teams and how to design a team. How online tools can be further used on a global level, how to organize teams of people separated geographically and so forth. This was a very important week for us, but more on that later. We then moved towards less creation and more promotion. Crowd-funding and marketing were the last two themes and both of those had varying degrees of application for our challenge. Crowd-funding looked at how new ways of investment options for designers and business’s can benefit their causes and allow anyone to bring something to market with support enough to at least break even. Marketing obviously is selling your ideas and getting them out into the world, however, our challenge with Soildaridad is orientated on creating a system of collaboration and improvement. On having a system flexible enough to support different regions and infrastructures but also be user friendly and have an over all good experience. This experience has to be good enough to retain users and make the intranet a success. With this being said the first two themes in my opinion had most importance for the project’s challenge itself.

            Design work teams I believe was a very influential week on our teams ideas and end result. My first reason for believing this is the challenge itself. We were asked to create a user-friendly system, a system that gave it’s users a good experience. This was the core of our challenge and using various technologies like Google Hangouts and Meeting Notes gave our group insight into the possibilities previously unknown to us. This way of collaboration was intriguing but not always flawless. It took a few weeks to get the hangouts working fluidly, and of course there is this transition time between systems, familiarity vs functionality. In the long run of course it is better to accept change and adapt, or to be the one creating the change. These weeks really showed how if these systems were integrated properly then it could be of a huge benefit to even just us studying. Solidaridad is about sharing and creating a better future and to do this communications are so important and the ability to work online and share this work will only help speed up the process of improvement.

            The second reason I thought these weeks were incredibly insightful was that we did not have much pressure, not a whole lot of work (relative to now). This relaxed people and you could identify the types of people in the group and how they interacted without a looming deadline. Being in the first weeks of school this added a further dynamic to the situation, people were wary of impressions and tended to not push their ideas as much as maybe the idea deserved. On two levels this was good because I could see who wanted to work and who was keen on the project itself. If the project excites you and motivates you without pressures of looming work then you can start identifying that person as someone willing to put in effort and work. Conversely you noticed the shy types and identified them. Everyone has ideas and I think everyone has the potential for great ideas, as I said some people don’t push their ideas as much as they should so sometimes you need to help pull the ideas out. This helped towards the end result because I started to get a good feel for the group and how it was forming, but also how it could be flawed as we had many strong personalities and varying opinions on the actual meaning of the challenge. This was partly due to the lack of response from the contact but also from a subtle language barrier. The nuances of the English in the briefing sheet left a lot of information to be desired. This later into the project caused a panic but it all just in the long run helped form our own working group, much like we had to do for Soildaridads intranet.

            Lastly this in this theme we really started defining the needs of our NGO. Although clarity might have been lacking at some points on the task at hand, we really started getting a good framework for a system that eventually turned out to resemble our final ideas. The theme previous we had worked on a diagram defining the needs and priorities of our NGO, however, this was very term dependant. You had to the find the right words and anticipate the relevance based on the information you knew. After a week of reflection we all came back with radically changed ideas because of how we all interpreted the diagram differently. User-experience to one is not the same thing always as it is to another. You could chalk this down to language, cultural differences, stupidity, whatever, it doesn’t really matter though because what it does is it brings you away from your own ideas and into someone elses.  Having to have a discussion about what exactly is user-experience a week after deciding it was very important felt odd but also felt much more constructive. We started to gel together in this week I felt and despite hardships faced later on I think this week could have went entirely differently and so would have the result of our project. Hopefully the success of this week is reflected in the grading over the project over all. 

            The solution to our challenge always had to be a system of collaboration and sharing. Intuitive ideas could be quickly brought to life and shared around the globe. Time is important in Solidaridads quest of sustainable practice by 2050 because it’s a massive problem to tackle. I believe the only proper way to achieve this is to be truly open source. Is to have an intranet, which also acts as a primary source of news for the company. Looking at the Facebook of Soildaridad, only 1600 likes, however, the thunderclap achieved much more success then the Facebook. To me this indicated a break in the connections between their outlets. I think Instagram, Tumblr, should be incorporated into the drupel system, bringing people to the website and Facebook more. Using these two platforms as a home base and bringing people in with images from around the world of hope and progress will entice people to keep in touch and best of all most international works probably have an iPhone. In regards to collaboration a layer under all this open source would allow people to collaborate and work behind the screens, publishing, sharing, commenting to colleges and the world, to spread the ideas and movements started. I think this is how Solidaridad could reach a lager audience client base and have successful implementation of the system. You have to give not just the people a reason to care but also the worker to care about the relevance and influence this system could have towards their goal. 

Has been a good productive week, so lets keep it up! 

Conor Thompson

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: IDConorThompsonE

Week 7, MARKETING [Teamwork Assignment].

Marketing, user-feedback, and customer support and very relevant in todays digital world. Business’s now specialize in website functionality and user friendliness. Looking at Solidaridad and it’s own branding, it falls into a weak category. Firstly there isn’t a clearly defined logo or iconic image, which brings back to memory the NGO, and it’s purpose. This is much different to a word or a name in the corner of the upper left to left you know which site you are on. Firstly we believe Solidaridad should maybe not rebrand, but make itself more iconic and use this as a way to spread the message. Social networks today give business’s incredible power over their consumers habits and the exposure to their products.

One example of a such a strategy would be to start using the integrated functionality built into sites more and more. Twitter posts can also be posted on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and so on: all at once. This allows a much larger audience base, and you keep the message clear and consistent. Perhaps using Instagram for example, in a more informal way to grow awareness will be free, and effective. Posting images with text (much like a Meme) to keep in touch with the generation today would pull in more and more attention towards Solidaridad, especially from the younger generations. This is important and the younger audiences (digital natives) are more willing to ‘share’ and ‘like’ then digital migrants (the old generations). In a world of social structure online and offline, having this foundation for growth and awareness is key. Maybe this sounds like an obvious and simple solution but the trick is the integration between the systems and the consistency. This will also help Solidaridad outside of the Netherlands because the name itself is not the best for English audiences, the phonetic pronunciation is quite tricky and makes it less likely the the name sticks in your head. The unfamiliarity of the name should be balanced with an iconic image/logo which implies the purpose of the company.

How can the effectiveness and success of such a strategy be quantified? Simple, with todays growing desire and need for successful online strategies, companys spring up answering needs. Google.Ads is one option of measuring the success of the strategy and best of all, Solidaridad probably uses it already for measuring the success of their website. This is a standard in large business’s. Google.Ad, or Google.ad watch track and checks not just site visits, but how they get to your site or content, how long they stay, and how far down you are in standard google searches. Getting this last rating up is important for site visibility and promotion. To do this you have to increase your digital fingerprint by posting content, and lots of it. Shares and likes as mentioned increase your position on the worldwide web and this is important. Typically with this strategy you would expect to see an increased following over all the systems. This would be a exponential growth increase as to be reliable you need to have history and posts, so it might take a couple of weeks until Soildaridad has enough content to become ‘followable’.  

Group 7 Teamwork,

Week 7. 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: IDConorThompsonE

Crowdfunding-Two sides of a golden coin

In my opinion both these optiones are perfect, since what i want to do is present better thing and projects to the world. But I can understand if for others Crowdsourcing is not a good thing since they maybe think economical wise. And they do not want to share the profit. Crowdfunding is in my opinion one of the smartest things humans came up with. And when I hear about people that actually solved a problem with the money they raised  i think that if more people would trust websites and the internet that we could solve more and do more good. But its not only about doing good some of these ideas are actually pretty smart and its an easy way to earn money. I wont do the math now but everyone wishes to have had bought a small part of Apple in the developing years.

If we look at crowdsourcing in design closer, then the only pros for me are the quantity of the ideas and that a many opinions could lead to a more succesfull product. Now that i have mentioned the word succesfull his is the bad part about crowdfunding. In the world of design you have to have a name, in order to be really succesfull. At this point i would compare the pininfarina family and Ikea. Pininfarina is a italian design company founded by Battista Pinin Farina in 1930 and since then they got famous for designing many luxorious super sport cars. But they design a lot more. Ikea is a huge company with many hundred designers. These share the name and money.

As a result crowdsourcing is a good solution if you want to help imrove the world and so one but if you want to get incredibly rich its your own Brand name that gets you there.

Cheers

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Mario Levon Mirzahanyan

WEEK 6, Crowdfunding , Crowdsourcing

This week assignment was all about crowdfunding and I have found it really interesting and it showed me a couple of ways to do that. 
When i got home I started thinking about crowdfunding and i came to the conclusion that for me crowdfunding is all about two things: the first thing is the IDEA and the second thing is the Believe. If those two component find a match between each other then the crowdfundking process can start and it will most sure be successful, because if one mans idea is or becomes many peoples believe then you got yourself a pretty solid group of people who will fund you.

I think that most of the designers should not seek money from the people but to seek funding from sponsors, corporations, firms who are interested of your product etc. In this case we have an NGO and every organisation of this type is people orientated and their main goal is to help society in need.
My opinion is that in this case crowdfunding is really possible and it is maybe the best way to raise money for your cause. On the other hand when you get yourself going with the crowdfunding there is huge responsibility on your shoulders and you just have to show results, to be able not make the people stop trusting you and your ideas and causes. 

Now  some of the designers don’t prefer to go with crowdfunding but with crowdsourcing. My personal opinion is that they have samo good reasons to do that but it’s not completely right.

Crowdsourcing between designers is a good thing because basically sharing is caring :) it can always help you come up with some ideas if you are stuck, working with a group of people has 90% more chance of producing better product then working alone. Usually another good thing is that you can get more neutral feedback from other designers, and they can show opinion if you hesitate on a project or idea. I think that crowdsourcing is also good because basically you don’t know everything or you don’t have the resources for everything so a little bit of help can always come handy. 

When we start thinking about cons we start to talk about copyrights, pride, ego, not meeting requirements. 
Yes, of course that somebody can steal your idea, but that’s why you should always work trustworthy people. Some designers may got too much of an “ego” to work with other people and that may hurt their pride but i think that too much ego is always bad for you and you wont be able to get very far. Working alone also can be a problem because you may not be always able to meet requirements or deadlines, if you have too much work to do. 

To sum up, basically I can agree that both crowdfunding and sourcing can be really useful for you and your work as a designer, but on the other hand you should approach carefully towards them. 

Nikolay Yorgov ;)

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nikolay Yorgov's guide to the galaxy

Week 6 Assignment

What do you see as the pros and cons of crowdsourcing in design?

There are multiple types of crowdsourcing such as:

  • Crowdfunding: similar to charities, projects are funded by a large group of people. Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com) is probably one of the most famous examples, where funds are acquired from people who take an interest in the project, projects vary from gadgets to movies. The clear advantage of this is the sharing of ideas as well as establishing a small market.
  • Crowdwisdom: A perfect example for this are site like Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com), where questions are asked in front of a large pool of people willing to answer. The advantage of this is multiple people will answer the question and the person who asked the question can take his pick. However a disadvantage would be that some questions never get answered, as people might simply not be interested.
  • Crowdsourcing design: These projects are funded for a large group of people to design something. Rally fighter car is a perfect example of crowdsourced design as the car was designed by the community and built by the business local motor (http://localmotors.com/rallyfighter/).


But the one ill be focusing on is crowdsourcing in design. Crowdsourcing in design both has advantages and disadvantages the list below shows the pros and cons:

pros:

  • Reduce cash expenses. Only when compared to the price of hiring a dedicated professional, hence this means cheaper labor. This of course only applies if a business is crowdsourcing.
  • Allows company to focus on other factors. By crowdsourcing it can allow a business to focus on other urgent factors that need solving.
  • Frees up space in the building. By freeing up space, the space that is now free can be used for something else such as another department hence this may increase overall productivity
  • From an idea to a Design. If someone has a idea yet is unable to visualize this idea he can put his idea on a website such as http://99designs.nl that allows one to post an idea and have a bunch of designers communicate with the client on what he or she wants.

Cons:

  • Cheap labor results less credible product. Cheap labor might have its advantages but ultimately you pay professionals for their expertise, experience and dedicated spirit, but you use cheap labor for completing simple task.
  • Any task considered above simple is risky for crowdsourcing. This is because there is no contract; this means that if workers find something that is too hard they can stop any time they want.
  • Difficult for collaboration between crowd members. This is because in some cases a business that is using crowdsourcing will put up a price in return of the work. Hence it becomes similar to a competition were every one wants to win.

Overall I think that everything has pros and cons why someone should not do something. But depending on what the business or the individual wants to crowdsource may determine if it will be successful or not.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Maarten's mind

WEEK 6 GROUP WORK

This is our group work, that we have done during classes on Monday.

http://www.crowdfunder.com/

The Crowdfunding site is one of the biggest crowdfunding spaces available for companies. This traffic allows for a higher probability that a given project will get funded. However, the success of the campaign is not dependent solely on the size of the platform, but how you utilize the community that already supports your cause. Tackling the issues of intranet implementation is one of our key goals (refer to the spider diagram for the importance and relevance of the aspects of this challenge). Another factor with crowdfunder, is the system of failure and success. Failed projects return the money and this could be seen as a waste of time attemped vs the eventual offset return of just investing in the project internally. The intranet system is for the company and although it will help the company communicate and improve the efficiency, we don’t foresee this being a good motivator for people to invest in soildaridad.

http://www.indiegogo.com/

The site has categories for different project you can fund, including food, environment and health. This targeting will help Solidaridad attract specific donors who are simply passionate about the cause. Indiegogo also has a great reputation and a number of success stories that make it a trustworthy site.

Indiegogo does a better job with ecological and sustainable projects. Sections under food - for example - raise money towards a peanut butter brand which with every pot purchased, a permanent amount goes towards aid packets in developing countries. This sort of system could work very well for Soildaridad in more regional based projects, however, after reviewing these sites, our group has decided that these sites are fairly irrelevant to the challenge define, as not many will be willing to donate towards making a companies inner working more efficient. However, they could be used by Solidaridad to aid their future goals of sustainability and proper business practice by 2050.
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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Karolina's Project Community Thoughts