NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2013) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

Posts Tagged projectcomm

Week 7

Since the first week of Project Communities, we have brought up multiple topics, all of which play their role in the work of both NGOs and our future projects. By looking for ways to apply them to improve our project NGO’s performance, we get an experience of searching for solutions in fields that may be of use for our future design/innovation works.

Our group’s challenge is to provide an efficient personal branding strategy for the NGO Solidaridad using Drupal Commons as a social platform. We are close to this goal, however there is definitely some more work to do.

In my opinion, the most useful theme of the ones we’ve learned about in class would be technology stewardship as we are currently a little stuck with all of our ideas, since we don’t know if it is possible to apply them to Drupal Commons or not. I had a brief conversation with one of Acquia’s (Drupal) workers, but received no feedback regarding the applicability of our solutions. So, at this point, we are hoping all of the suggestions we have are possible to implement inside Drupal. Tech-stewardship is obviously important since we are re-designing or adding new features to an online social platform.

Another useful thing to know about was working in groups, since we had problems with focusing on our work and making it sufficient/productive. From the point of not knowing where and how to start we thus went on to structurized and efficient group work and I hope it will remain that way.

I think that I cannot decide who or what will be the key to success without my group, but I think the one thing that might be called crucial in our challenge should be motivation. And I’m not concerning motivation in our group’s work (it is as important, but let’s stay on the topic), I mean motivation for the Solidaridad employees to actually use this platform with the best outcomes - exposing their experiences and interests, collaboration, sharing information and insights. Taking this into consideration, our goal is to motivate Solidaridad’s users of Drupal to use it and take the most out of it. Because if they don’t - all of our other suggestions become useless.

We have a couple of ideas regarding how to have the employees use Drupal for personal branding, for instance, providing incentives for the active use of the platform (yes, it is an NGO, and no, not financial bonuses). We also have some ideas on how to make the ones that remain unmotivated spend less time on building up their personal brand.

Hope you liked it.

Nikita.

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Communities need us

Week 6: The Crowd

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For the past weeks we’ve talked about crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, two major parts of Open Innovation. Before discussing this in class and doing some research, I knew nothing about these two terms. However, I found out that I’ve seen and taken part in these activities.

For instance, I’ve used Beta versions of some programs and computer games. This, as it turns out, is an example of crowdsourcing, as the programmers test their product on a (sometimes limited) number of people to see possible problems or malfunctions in their work. Despite from this, I also made my input into Wikipedia, due to the fact that this website enables any person to apply changes or write articles of their own for other people to see.

I, myself, believe in crowd knowledge, but I’ve also seen a lot of rather DUMB, let’s say, unwise people. This brings up the first and most obvious drawback in using the crowd for coming up with ideas/solutions. Usually, companies pay experts money for completing a task, because the experts are experts and they know what they’re doing. The crowd, on the other hand, is not as competent as actual professionals, so I figured that when it comes to crowdsourcing solutions, the tasks should not be too complicated.

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However, addressing the crowd with your problems has it’s major advantages. For instance, professionals usually charge big sums of money for their work, because they are experienced and clearly have a lot of knowledge in their area of expertise. Using the crowd definitely costs less.

In addition to financial benefits, crowdsourcing also enables to generate diverse ideas due to the number of angles from which the problems are addressed, which may be a significant factor if, for instance, a company/designer has been trying to deal with a problem for ages, maybe even hired some people find a solution (outsourcing), but these people (might even be professionals) cannot provide a viable solution. In this case, crowdsourcing may become the only way to address the problem.

However, since the number of “employees” when using crowdsourcing can go up to billions, these people and all their ideas can get out of hand. In some cases, the management process can take too much effort and time and it is simply not worth the struggle.

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Crowdfunding is definitely a good idea for design because, for example, typical funding (as in investments or bank loans) is not always applicable to some kinds of design works, whereas addressing the crowd enables the company to find those who might get interested in their projects - from all around the world (usual funding limits the opportunities to get money at least geographically).

Nikita

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Communities need us

Week 5 – Grouping up wisely

To start off this reflection, I would like to insert my recap of the video we watched.

Video recap

Regarding group size:

  • smaller groups - better work
  • bigger groups - provides diversity in ideas thanks to multiple sources

Edge paradigm:

  • one edge, all collaboration components interact with one single instance
  • more edges - more components (subgroups), each with it’s own tasks/duties; all collaborate later by combining the subgroups in to bigger subgroups or one big one

Even/uneven numbers:

  • 1 - good for creativity, beggining an innovation process, coming up with ideas
  • 2 (even) - good for stabilizing/planning
  • 3 (uneven) - desabilized, better for creative processes
  • 5+ - not good for creativity, loss of the diversity component (introverts usually fall out of the conversation)
  • bigger/whole groups - propagating

Getting to know what people want

Best way to do this is in a group of 3, which is made up by 2 speakers and 1 spectator, who simply listens to the conversation or listens and takes notes, thus maintaining (harvesting) as much information about the topic as possible.

STARR method of systemised reflection:

  • S - Situation
  • T - Task
  • A - Action/Approach
  • R - Result
  • R - Reflection

The information we received from the video is, in my opinion, very interesting and useful. I’ve been guessing there are some relations between group size and the activity it is suitable for, but I never imagined a systemized description like this. I think it will be of extreme help for our group, because it will help us organize our activities a lot better (we’ve been having problems with this)

One thing we came up with (in our group) is that we could use the 3-person model and divisions according to if the numbers are even/uneven in our 6-person group very effectively.

Another thing that was of use was the fact that we kept discussing and answering the questions in MeetingWords and on the ProjComm website in subgroups, which helped us to define which working strategy appeals to most of our group members.

As an attempt of answering the main question of the week, I’d say that the optimal group size for design projects would besomewhere around 5 and 7. This size gives the possibility to divide tasks within subgroups and to use the 3-person model of brainstorming ideas. Although, there should be some kind of crowdsourcing involved from outside the actual work group.

Despite all the information we got during the coaching, the most useful part of the day’s work was our Hangout with Maarten, our NGO contact. This was the first actual connection we had and it was of extreme help for defining what exactly he needs from us. The amount of information our group received during this Hangout was too huge for me to fit into this blog, so I hope I will be trusted in terms of the day being HIGHLY productive.

 

Another good thing about this weeks’ achievements is that I got a contact of a person in Drupal Commons and we defined the best ways to get in touch with Maarten, which is really good, concerning the fact that we had huge problems with receiving insider information and envisioning our goals.

Nikita

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Communities need us

Week 5 – Grouping up wisely

To start off this reflection, I would like to insert my recap of the video we watched.

Video recap

The information we received from the video is, in my opinion, very interesting and useful. I’ve been guessing there are some relations between group size and the activity it is suitable for, but I never imagined a systemized description like this. I think it will be of extreme help for our group, because it will help us organize our activities a lot better (we’ve been having problems with this)

One thing we came up with (in our group) is that we could use the 3-person model and divisions according to if the numbers are even/uneven in our 6-person group very effectively.

Another thing that was of use was the fact that we kept discussing and answering the questions in MeetingWords and on the ProjComm website in subgroups, which helped us to define which working strategy appeals to most of our group members.

As an attempt of answering the main question of the week, I’d say that the optimal group size for design projects would besomewhere around 5 and 7. This size gives the possibility to divide tasks within subgroups and to use the 3-person model of brainstorming ideas. Although, there should be some kind of crowdsourcing involved from outside the actual work group.

Despite all the information we got during the coaching, the most useful part of the day’s work was our Hangout with Maarten, our NGO contact. This was the first actual connection we had and it was of extreme help for defining what exactly he needs from us. The amount of information our group received during this Hangout was too huge for me to fit into this blog, so I hope I will be trusted in terms of the day being HIGHLY productive.

 

Another good thing about this weeks’ achievements is that I got a contact of a person in Drupal Commons and we defined the best ways to get in touch with Maarten, which is really good, concerning the fact that we had huge problems with receiving insider information and envisioning our goals.

Nikita

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Communities need us

Crowdsourcing & Online Socialization

During this week’s workshop, we got a lot more into the understanding of different ways and tools for crowdsourcing ideas. This was rather important for me, because I didn’t really get what are the particular possibilities for this activity in any kind of work. Now, however, I will be able to analyze the options of getting and spreading information for the NGO we are working with.

Another topic we discussed were the Four i’s of the design process. As long as I had already read the course guide, I had some (rather blurred) image of this concept, but the way it was explained by Janneke actually put everything into the right place, so now I have better understanding of it and, as a result, have already memorized the four i’s and their definitions, which, in term, leads me to actually practicing the implementation of this concept.

Now, to the part about my own network. I am a person that is usually more comfortable with working or researching alone, so most of the online-tools I use or websites I regularly check have to be designed and customized for my specific needs and interests. So, in the case of fetching information, I mostly prefer solo internet-sourcing [Me:individual]. Par example, I find Pinterest, Tumblr and Vkontakte (something like the Russian version of Facebook) good for me because of the flexibility of their use and the fact that you get to choose whatever you want to get updates on.

For ideas that need further development and different points of view to seem more complete, I’d say I would rather use the [We: communities] model of crowdsourcing, but I would surely prefer to do this face-to-face, because I guess that feels a lot more comfortable for me, because of the fact I find emotions and mimics really important to understand what actually drives the certain person I am collaborating with. But, as I would guess, I am about to find out about a whole lot of tools that make the experience of long-distance cooperation more personal, thus contributing to people feeling closer or deeper involved in this aspect/way of working in groups.

I also happen to be a member of a couple of bounded groups, but the one’s I’m in do not really require collaboration. For example, I am part of the Estonian Underwater Swimming Federation, which has strong regulations about the people who can join it. 

Despite the fact that I prefer more personal communication, I still use open environments/networks from time to time to:

  • address questions to the open world (usually after I do some research myself and something specific remains uncertain to me)
  • discuss a topic I find interesting [with random people] (which I usually come across by accident)
  • look for different opinions or points of view that people “out there” have

The examples of this would be posting something in our Facebook IDE group, using Google Ask (or the Russian alternative of that service).

Oh, and I would really like to point out that, in my opinion, reciprocal apprenticeship (which could actually be simply referred to as symbiosis in terms of biology; how about informational symbiosis for change?) is the best possible way to communicate/collaborate, because it is equally useful for all members of the conversation/project. For me, the fact that I know how this type of relationships is called in English is a big thing too, by the way :)

Nikita

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Communities need us

the Steward

Today, we are experiencing a never-ending demand for introducing more and more new technologies. Absolutely every possible thing in the world is getting mechanicalized. This, in turn, brings up the need for obtaining and spreading knowledge concerning the implementation of these new tools or services. And, as in any field, there are people, who specialize in particularly assisting others with the use of new technologies or customizing something in the internet. From now on, I will know, that these specialists are called Technology Stewarts.

And now to the part about my relationship with infotechnologies. I am not that well-acquainted with any programs meant for work, but I definitely use enough entertaining or social tools, for instance : Facebook, Pinterest, Messengers of all kinds etc. These are not as helpful for assignments though, normally even somewhat harmful.

So I am surely not the person you would ask for advice on using something in the internet.However, if I take my time, I usually figure things out, like it has already happened with BlackBoard, MeetingWords and Google Hangouts. I hope this trend will continue going on and I will manage to keep up with the implementation of these new (for me) tools.

My most important impression on this week’s lesson was the convenience of the Spidergram method of sorting and grading every aspect of whatever you are doing. I even got a little upset nobody gave this kind of tool to us at highschool and now I am actually planning to use this to help me make hard decisions in everyday life.

Nikita

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Communities need us

individuals for communities

Hello there, this is Nikita Kulakov and I am here to give a little overview on what I’ve experienced on the Project Communities course.

To begin with, the fact that we are working with actual NGO’s is very inspiring and makes the whole experience a lot more valuable, because we have the opportunity to counterfeit real problems in the real world.

The main challenges of this course should be:

1) obtaining the skill to find useful and precise information about the companies that we’re working with and determining their desires and needs

For this, we all need to find trustworthy sources with up-to-date information, which also has to be comprehended in the right way. As another part of this particular challenge, we will also get to contact representatives of the NGO’s we’re working with. 

2) finding our place in a group of people; defining which field of work suits each of us and keeps our productivity on a good level.

This part of the work is not only connected to Project Communities, but to nearly any instance we could end up in in our lives. Comparing our strong and weak sides, we will be able to determine the role (in a group), in which we are most effective and suitable.

3) working with other students; co-operating with different culture representatives in search of creative solutions

It would be wrong to say that working with other students would somehow separate Project Communities from any other courses, but, in my opinion, cooperation plays a massive role in this project, as long as we get to structure our groups’ working process. This should eventually lead us to the understanding of our responsibilities and the realization of which skills we are expected to hold in order to complete this project.

So I guess this is how I picture the main challenges (for me) of the Project Communities course and now it is time to face them all and get to solving the issues the NGO’s are having by using our #CulturalDifferences to come up with both useful and creative ideas within our group.

P.S. This concept of evaluating every piece of work we do actually appeals to me, because it helps us to understand what we’re doing better. And this, in turn, should boost our productivity.

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Posted in Community, Group 8
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nicky g8