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Week 7: Marketing/User/Customer Support Communities

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by i a walsh:

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by i a walsh:

Learning Objective

Students can give the NGO the advice on how to market their project to their constituent community and explore how their constituents can support each other, potentially through an online community aspect to the proposed design. Students can analyze, explain, and evaluate what they have learned on all 4 themes and demonstrate how they will aid communities with these skills in their weekly blogs. Students will have the storyboard completed for their presentation which includes at least one review with a tutor or other person, and at least one revision.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Will Lion


It is a BUSY week! We have three areas of focus this week: online communities for marketing, user feedback and customer support, considering how to evaluate our work, and finally, a strong storyboard drafted and circulated for feedback in preparation for your multimedia production next week.

1. Communities for marketing, feedback and customer support

You have spent the previous weeks understanding your NGO client’s needs, exploring how crowdsourcing, teams, and crowdfunding might support their challenges. You have evaluated these things and have come to some sense of a proposal for a design for your client. The penultimate step is to consider how to market and support your proposed solution. A solution or product is no good if it isn’t put to use. This implies a Marketing strategy, a way for the client to gain access to potential users.

Marketing can be a formal role taken on by the NGO, or it can be distributed across many people and done informally, via communities and networks and in an emergent manner (if you don’t understand the idea of emergent, do a little searching, thinking and asking about this). This week we will look at online marketing in general, where it is similar and different to offline marketing, and then explore what practices might be useful in any of the different contexts you are exploring in your groups. We’ll pay particular attention to the potential for “viral effects” online.

Some questions you might consider include:

  • What online architecture, tools and processes successfully help designers connect their products to markets for marketing, user feedback and customer support?
  • What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments?

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by HubSpot

2. Measuring Results

The final of the design process is i for impact; the realization of the changes and innovations. If we care about impact, we need ways to know if impact has happened. We need to pay attention.There are lots of lofty claims about the power of the internet for groups and networks for innovative design. How do we assess that claim? How do we assess it for open and innovative design? How might our NGO’s assess their efforts in this area?

This week you need to consider how you will recommend way to monitor and assess the success of the recommendations you have been researching. This might be from the perspective of cost versus benefit, it may be using quantitative measures (i.e. page views, number of funds donated, satisfaction ratings by staff for a social networking function, etc.) or qualitative measures (stories, anecdotes, open text surveys.) Revisit the goals and value propositions we started with in the first two weeks. A video from Beth Kanter will offer some ideas. The Better Evaluation site offers a primer on monitoring and evaluation if those terms are new to you.

3. Storyboards: organizing and putting your ideas together

You have researched the four main areas explored in this course from the perspective of the needs of your NGO clients. You are now making final decisions about your recommendations and assembling them into your video presentation. This week you will craft a Storyboard to organize the content and flow of your ideas. Here is a good definition from Wikipedia:

Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence. The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney Studio during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.

Do you really need one? Well, for one reason, it can offer us the chance to give each other feedback and improve on initial ideas. It is like a rough draft before you go into production. Need more reasons? Check out the videos and articles below. The last one is old skool, but still relevant.The key aspects of a storyboard break the script of a video into segments and identify first the key points, and second the way you want to present the points. Video allows you many ways to incorporate images, sound– almost anything!

You can create your storyboards by hand on paper, white boards or even large post-it notes. There are online tools for storyboarding like Storyboatd That, Amazon Storyteller, Storyboard Generator or Google Presentations. You can do it in PowerPoint. The only storyboard requirement is that you can share the artifact for review by one other team and your tutors/teaching team.

Monday Classroom Activity

  • Be prepared to plan your work and share your team agenda with your tutor
  • In the first breakout hour, focus on your options for using online communities for marketing, customer support and/or customer feedback.
  • In the second breakout our, focus on bringing all your possible recommendations together and begin to draft your storyboard.
  • Be prepared as two students will be asked to summarize the day’s work during the Hangout
  • Be prepared to help take collaborative notes and engage in the Hangout

Teamwork Activity

1. Customer Communities: What is the value proposition today for communities and networks for open innovation design for your NGO in terms of marketing, user feedback and user/customer support? What elements of these are relevant to their challenge and how can online groups and networks address those elements? Describe a potential strategy, point to some relevant examples and justify your recommendations.

2. Strategize a monitoring and evaluation strategy for your proposed solution. How would your NGO know if the thing them implement is working and meeting their goals. What quantitative and/or qualitative options do you have available? Stuck for ideas? See the BetterEvaluation Framework.

3. Start putting all the pieces together. Imagine you are back in front of the NGO. What will you tell them? What online community and network strategies are applicable to their challenge? What is your final recommendation to them based on your research? What monitoring and evaluation strategy should they put in place to assure they reach their goals? This is to be part of your final presentation. Summarize your arguments and use them to begin drafting your video storyboard. By the end of the week, get feedback on your storyboard from one other team and from your tutor. You will use this feedback next week to revise your final storyboard and begin production of your video.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by

Personal Blog Reflection Prompt:

Your post by midnight on Tuesday night, comments by midnight on Friday.
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? Give at least 3 reasons why and tell who/what you think will play a key role towards success during the process. What do you think the solution should be and why? (this does not have to be exactly the same as your group solution, but it will defend your group solution if it does match).


  • 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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