NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2014) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

All Posts Published at: Aline's ProjComm reviews

Last week routine: making video & drinking coffee

Hi guys!

Last week for Project Community, which means last post here. After a 7 days break, we are getting back to work on our challenge… and this time we have a lot to do!!

Yesterday I felt so proud about our group! We spent the whole day together making the video for the final presentation and I saw that everyone was really involved in the process. We decided to split the group into pairs so we could work in a faster and more efficient way. I worked with Kareem on the narratives for the video, Camila and Eline were responsible for some of the contents and Kiki and Alex were making the video itself.

We are using Prezi (http://prezi.com) to make our presentation because we have all agreed that it suits our purpose better than other alternatives. I personally don’t have any experience in making videos, not even on Prezi, but it’s good to know that some of the group members have, so we can count on them for this task. But even though I have some experience with narratives, during the process it became so difficult to come up with the text and express ourselves in the right way! Kareem and I worked hard trying to find the right terms to communicate better in the video, because it’s really important to get the message clearly. But there were some times that we got stuck with the idea in mind without being able to translate it into words.

So it’s time to have a break…

It took hours and we were all very tired at the end, but when I got home I felt pleased with our improvement! We still have things to do, so that’s why we’re having another meeting tomorrow, but I think it’s going to be really rewarding again. If we just keep up the work like yesterday, we’ll be able to finish everything and have good results.

Source: http://ridiculouslyefficient.com/the-bond-between-work-and-coffee-infographic/

So far, everything is a little bit new for me on this course: blogging and making videos are really different from the way I used to work. It’s difficult to adapt but, at the same time, it’s interesting to experience new ways of learning. The blog, for instance, helps you to practice the way you express your ideas and also allows you to get feedback on it. Making videos, in turn, is an extra feature that you learn and that can always be useful for future projects and assignments. Even though both of them are really useful, I have to confess that I’m still a ‘traditional report’ kind of person. I rather write the development and conclusions without taking it too personally, like the blog does. I feel much more comfortable working this way, maybe because - as I said before - I’m used to work like this and it always worked out pretty well.

Anyway, I see a good development of my blog and also a big improvement on our team work! This whole experience has been really rewarding and I know we can deliver some good insights with our video!

Thank you for reading :)

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Aline's ProjComm reviews

Before and after week 7: current achievement and future goals

Countdown to the end of the course and this following question pops up:

How can I bring the knowledge acquired during ProjComm’s course so far to my personal life and my career?

Well, the main subject discussed during the classes is how online communities influence daily life and work. I’ve learned that online interaction can be useful for many different purposes! For example, I always had many kinds of networks, but most of the time they were related to personal matters and not specifically work. In Project Communities we focused on a wider use of this networks in a way that people could improve the solutions of their problems and then be innovative in their work.

In online communities we have a lot of minds thinking together for a common purpose, we have very different points of view that could help building a wide range of possibilities at the end. That’s what innovation is about! It’s about thinking outside of the box, with no early judgments, and trying to come up with an unique effective solution at the end. When you set up a group for a specific task, you know that you’ll have support during the process and that makes the work easier and more interesting to do. Also makes the results better!

Source: http://www.attunity.com/sites/default/files/content/masstlc-innovation2013.png

From now on, I really want to see if I can be more effective in my online communities in order to get better results for my work, but I don’t know yet how to do this. This blog, for example, could be a good start to practice! Every week I try to put in words all our work and development during the course, but it’s hard to do it since I don’t have any experience in blogging or something similar. So this platform here could be considered as a “Project Community Online Network”, because we are always getting feedback from colleagues and tutors so we could improve ourselves as designers.

One good example of how this ProjComm’s Network helped me to improve my work is the weekly comment/grade on my blog post. Every time I looked at my grade, I thought "Okay, there’s something missing here!" and then I read "link your thoughts to external ideas".

Hmm… okay… how exactly?!

I started trying to expand my opinion about the subject by searching from others related sources and I ended up being impressed by the huge amount of blogs and websites that I could found! For this week I did the same and that’s how I found this consulting company website called PA Consulting. They have a really interesting article about "Designing smarter online communities to create innovation and support change" where they point out three main characteristics to be considered on this challenge:

How do you design a successful generative online community to help you achieve your objectives?

1. Encourage lack of structure and hierarchy

2. Choose a technology platform that supports freedom

3. Enable interaction, reflection and representation

Source: http://www.paconsulting.com/our-thinking/designing-smarter-online-communities-to-create-innovation-and-support-change/

On the website they describe each of this topics. If you read it, you can see that those are really good principles that we should follow to have our network experiences improved. It’s similar to what we had during the classes with our team work and the use of online platforms (Basecamp, Facebook, Skype), but this article has everything explained in a clear way.

So, at the end of the day, what could be the next step?

For me, now it’s the perfect time to see how can I build a solid design network and keep the good useful sources apart from the messy content that already fills my online work space. My plan to achieve that is to look for what platforms are the most used by graphic designers community and then see how I can fit myself among them. I hope this experiment works out well and then brings good results for my career!

 

Enough for today, guys! See you next time ;)

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Aline's ProjComm reviews

Making room in the crowd: how to increase influence using crowdsourcing & crowdfunding

Hello! =)

Main subject for this week: crowdsourcing & crowdfunding.

C R O W D !!
Source: http://ernestbarbaric.com/non-profit-guide-to-crowdfunding/
(interesting reading, besides the cute picture!)

Before start talking about this, I want to put a little previous note that I saw on a crowdsourcing blog which explains in a very simple way what are the differences between both terms:

"People often get confused between crowdfunding and crowd sourcing. They do sound similar and are also similar in a way that both emerge from the crowd and are online platforms. However there is a difference between the two. To put in simple words in crowdfunding the crowd has to give in their money and in crowdsourcing the crowd has to give in their opinions, creative skills etc.

Crowdfunding is when funds are collected from many people for a project. Although the concept of crowdfunding has its origins from crowd sourcing it is still different from it.”

Source: http://www.crowdsourcing.org/blog/difference-between-crowdfunding-and-crowdsourcing/30274

Bringing these two realities to our study case (NGO’s challenge), I ask you to think… is there any scenario where crowdsourcing and/or crowdfunding potentially help the NGO’s development? At first, I didn’t see crowdfunding as a good option for CNCPTMKR because this NGO’s work is very similar to a regular for-profit company work (Maarten works as an adviser to other companies). In my point of view it makes more difficult for people to donate money to something that looks more like a “private business” than to a “global social cause”. But then, reading the blog I’ve mentioned above, I discovered that there are different types of crowdfunding and then I started to think that maybe we DO have options to work with that!

"Crowdfunding is of four types:

1. Equity based crowdfunding - Investors receive a stake in the company.
2. Donation based crowdfunding - The funds are collected for charity.
3. Lending based crowdfunding - The money is returned to the investors with or without interest.
4. Reward based crowdfunding - A tangible reward is given to the investors in return of the money invested.”

So if we start thinking about “funding” as an investment instead of charity and Maarten’s funders as companies, we could try to place them into types number 1 or 4. But one thing is certain: to put money on a project like this one, people will expect some returns!

The "equity based crowdfunding", for example, could definitely turn CNCPTMKR into a “business” if alliances were made with for-profit organizations, because those ones would require a stake in the company in a way they could get more money back. On the other hand, if Maarten found other related-issues NGOs to partner with, it could be really interesting for the development of his work. Together, they could go for bigger clients, dig into deeper problems and then come up with more effective results, because now they have support!

Another slightly different option would be to work together with other companies as temporary partners, in a way that these partners could invest in the NGO and then receive credits at the end of the projects. Both non-profit and for-profit organizations could join this kind of partnership, so the range of possibilities would be wider. This is more "reward based crowdfunding" and it’s very likely to work well!

Source: http://idealog.co.nz/venture/2012/08/social-backing-new-kid-crowdfunding-block

Regarding to crowdsourcing, I think that sharing achievements would get more attention from the people to the projects and to the NGO itself. In that way, Maarten could listen to the “crowd” and get substantial information about how his work is being accepted so far, how it’s helping people and how it could be improved. There are many ways to do it… beginning, for example, by investing more time and effort in online communication and it includes: improving website, updating Facebook page more frequently, advertising to get more attention, making NGO’s purposes clearer…

Oops! I think I’m getting into our “main challenge” solution!

Maybe the solution for CNCPTMKR’s clients is the same for CNCPTMKR itself! The difficulties that the companies face regarding communication and online network could be faced by Maarten as well. If that’s true and at the end we come up with a very good solution/advise, I’ll be glad to know that we doubly met our challenge! 

Thank you for reading! See you ;)

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Aline's ProjComm reviews

The Friendly 4!

Hi, guys!

Week 5 already, more than half of the way… and the blogging never stops! 

For this week we had to analyze better how ‘working in team’ actually is and bring the conclusions to our reality at ProjComm. We went through a lot of topics lately, but this time we reflected mostly about group sizes…

But before going into details in this ‘group sizes studies’, I need to say that I really liked the blog prompt for this week, specially the first question:

"What is working well for you in your group?"

I’m glad to answer that our biggest problem at the beginning of the course is now our best feature: communication in the group! During all these weeks, we managed to build a nice and respectful relationship with each other and that’s been very helpful in our progress. I feel that all the members of the group are very honest when they have to share ideas and also open-minded when they have to listen to other’s opinions. In every team work we need to respect and trust our colleagues, and this is only possible with good communication. I can say Group 4 is made of friends and that’s the best achievement by far! =)

However, like every single relationship, there’re some troubles in the way…

Sometimes it’s difficult to manage the team roles and I think it’s mainly because of the size of the group (we are 6 in total). We have “fixed roles”, the ‘communicator’ and the ‘schedule manager’, and other 4 roles that keep changing. Depending on the week’s progress, we actually don’t need 4 different roles for the task, so it becomes mores difficult to divide the work equally…

And that’s when this week’s main subject comes in!

We saw a short video during class where Chris Corrigan talks about 'Group Size in Innovation and Open Design'. In that video, he highlights the fact that is better to work in small groups, so everyone has the chance to speak up. Also it’s better to have an odd number of members, so the results can be more diverse and creative. You can find a similar way of thinking in the readings we did during the class last wednesday… I got the chance to read The Dunbar Number as a Limit to Group Sizes (Life With Alacrity) and I noticed that the main subject in this text is the same: how can you optimize your work considering group sizes? I know both the video and the text are just two examples among several other studies, so they cannot be considered “the perfect way to follow”. Each situation requires specific strategies, so we can choose between the options, but I think those mentioned before are good choices for this Project Community course. So maybe this is a good hint for the follow semesters: consider forming smaller groups. I don’t know if it’s going to work well, but it worths a try! ;)

» Link for Chris Corrigan video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=N-yATDNzV_I

» Link for The Dunbar Number text: http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2004/03/the_dunbar_numb.html

Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kdYekaoK9KM/T2Jf1iwt2eI/AAAAAAAAAbA/1zJ8oO9SfXk/s1600/Ted+Farr+Media+-+Teamwork+graphic.jpg

Regarding the improvements for our group at this point, I think we’re doing quite well and the most important changes in the group behavior were already made. Maybe for the up coming weeks we could consider splitting the work again and see if it works (we tried this in the first week and it didn’t turn out very well, but it was due to lack of communication and we’ve solved this already). We always have meetings on friday to decide the next step to take, so let’s see what tomorrow brings!

Thank you for reading! See you next time ;)

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Aline's ProjComm reviews

Online interaction tools: personal experiences

Week 4 on Project Community, almost half of the way!

Last friday our group had a meeting in order to discuss our progress and work on the Spidergram. We already had a starting point for the spidergram but we thought that it needed to be more detailed and with more specific topics.

» Group 4 Spidergram

On Wednesday morning we set up a Skype meeting with Maarten to get more specific information and then clarify some questions. We wanted to be sure that our work is leading to the right direction. As the Communicator of our group, I was in charge of that task, but unfortunately I had an appointment that day so I asked my colleague Kareem to do it for me. I also couldn’t attend to the class because of the same appointment (health check!). After talking to the rest of the group and searching for information about this week’s theme, I could start thinking about my blog post for today.

We’re talking more specifically about Crowdsourcing and Online Social Structures and how these interaction tools work in society. I personally don’t use too many different social media to communicate. I have a Facebook account which is used for many different purposes, because nowadays Facebook became a huge online tool. It has everything in the same place. I get to talk with my friends and family, see the main news of the day, search for upcoming events and also have a lot of work/studies related conversations. I’m a member of many different groups on Facebook and most of the time it’s really useful for me. The Open Innovator group, for example, is helping me to keep up with what’s going on the University environment. I’m also part of many groups that are helping me during this exchange program, such as "Brazilians in the Netherlands", "The Hague - find a room(mate)" and "Science Without Borders students". I can find any kind of information there, it’s like a big forum where you can discuss and ask for anything you need. There are also groups made by common specific interests, such as traveling ("Science Without Borders - Couchsurfing"), studies ("UX Book Club") and design ("Pattern Design").

At this point, if I just shut my Facebook account I’ll miss a lot of appointments and invitations because this is the first (and sometimes the only) place people go to communicate. The specific groups are very helpful and very easy to manage, but also the random content in your feed can be useful sometimes. On the other hand, because of this huge amount of information, Facebook can be really tricky to handle. It’s difficult to analyze and select what’s important to see and you end up wasting a lot of time. It must be also difficult to stand out in the middle of the crowd if you need to! Your thought is just one more among the others and you have to figure out a creative way to be heard.

Another good communication tool that I use everyday is Whatsapp. It’s really simple and also very efficient. It’s good for having small chats and sharing data, as videos and photos. You can get quickly updated about the car traffic, the changes in your school schedule, the times of your meetings, just because there’s always someone online to talk to. If I have to meet someone or if I need more time to discuss any subject, I usually use Skype. It flows better in longer conversations. So basically Facebook associated with Whatsapp and Skype are my online social structures to communicate with people. There are others platforms (such as YouTube, Spotify and Instagram), but I use them for different purposes (just seeing photos/videos and listening to music, but not trying to find people with same interests).

» Source: http://www.bu3.nl/social-media.html

For the Project Community assignments we can relate our personal experiences in online social media with the NGO challenge. The solution for each problem can come up easier if we share information about our daily lives and how network communication naturally flows for us. For example, to advise about which are the most effective online platforms for network communication we have to experience these platforms and then analyze them really well. See all the pros and cons and decide which fits better for that client. Tomorrow our group is going to meet again to put all these subjects in discussion and I hope we’ll come up with very insightful ideas! We still have a lot to do, but it’s good to see that things are getting more and more clear now!

Enough with the content! See ya ;)

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Aline's ProjComm reviews

Keep calm and get back on the track fast!

Hi, again! :)

Another week of Project Community, that means more work, brainstorm, discussions and questioning. First of all, we were given the following challenge and we needed to get it right:

Create a blueprint for effective mobile collaboration:
How can people effectively communicate and move their
project forward using mobile technology only?

We did. After a while, we did.

The thing is… last week it felt so simple to put thoughts together and make things work properly, to set team roles and make a lot of planning… but this week I felt completely different. At some point ‘putting everything together’ just stopped being simple and became a very complex task. I think having communication problems happens a lot with newly formed groups, specially when there are so many different cultures and behaviors involved. 

But that’s the point, right?

We need different points of view so that we can think and see solutions in a clearer and more effective way. Mixing different people may be harder at the beginning, but it will be a lot more rewarding at the end and I don’t even need to wait and finish the module to assure that.

Girl, this is ProjComm! Culture Differences is on Monday!

Okay, but our goal on this project is to help people to communicate better and it’s interesting (why not say ‘sarcastic’?) to see that we were our ‘first client’. Even before CNCPTMKR or their clients, we had do deal with our own communication strategy and that’s a really (now) good coincidence. I can say it’s good now because I know we can learn a lot from this. So after a lot of misunderstanding we had important changes on the group attitude and we started getting back on the track.

Break time!

Source: http://blog.ketchum.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/take-a-break-from-work.jpg

After a deep breath and some food, we started making our Spidergram and planning next steps for this week. We’re going to have a group meeting tomorrow to work on this Spidergram better and see if it can be more detailed. During the class we also sent Maarten another email with questions about relevant topics for our research. We need to keep in contact with him so we get to know him better and specially know CNCPTMKR’s needs better! We already know our challenge, now we want to listen his considerations and think of a good way to help.

Making our goal meet the NGO’s goal is a really good starting point. Reaching this intersection point with a successful solution is our challenge for this upcoming weeks. Until there, asking for feedback is the best way to be sure we are in the right path.

That’s it! I hope everything flows smoothly from now on :)

See ya ;)

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Aline's ProjComm reviews