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.

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Finish Line

Finally, week 8! Now, everybody is stressed and busy with finishing all the assignements, portofolios and movies. The word of the week is panic. My team is doing it’s best to have a professional presentation. The time pressure actually managed to put our brains in function together, like never before! We split in 3 groups of 2 people. We found this structure works best for us. First group was working on the storyboard, the second on narration and the third group was editting the video presentation.


I am part of the third group and Kiki is my colleague. Our job is to basically edit and put everything together. For the first part, we are going to use Prezi. It’s simple, fun, very effective and it’s for free. We chose Prezi because it offers dynamism when changing from frame to frame and also because we can easily work with pop-ups, key words and visuals while Kareem narrates. Oh yeah! I almost forgot; we decided that Kareem has the best voice for narrating. He has a pleasent, relaxing voice tone which fits perfectly in this kind of video. The second part will consist in screen capturing the Prezi animation and work it through iMovie. The background music will be some instrumental jazz or funk. The final adjustments like brightness, volume of the voice-over and some video effects will make everything to look nice and catchy.
One thing I noticed is that by dividing the tasks into small teams, we lost the sense of unity and complementary. Sometimes things wouldn’t correspond, like Kareem’s speech with the storyboard and frames of the video. We should somehow work together, but separately, in the same time. The movie process takes time. We have to go back through the whole research and highlight only the most important points. The order of the information is also of great importance for having a coherent and flowing presentation.


This is our final assignement and we will work hard to be proud of the good job we’ve made. I just can’t wait for feedback from our teachers and also from Maarten.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Dan Alexandru Blog

Summary

In 7 weeks I learnt more than I could imagine. Actually, I can’t believe this! It’s not only about Project Communities, but all of the courses, the entire IDE programme. My bag of knowledge is getting rapidly filled up with loads of information. Everyday I gain more and more experience. I can see that thigs are building up, step by step, day by day.

It has been a hard week. We are getting close to deadline and our final assignement, the video presentation of the advice for our partener, Maarten van Leeuwen and his NGO, CNCPTMNKR. During the whole course I learnt how to make use of the online space in my favour and how to work in a team, efficiantly. Now, I have some basic notions about marketing, how to organize working groups, how to use crowdfunding to help develop my ideas or why is important to follow a theory of change when starting a project. This is all about making the right connections between people, ideas and money. One thing I find really useful about networks is that today we are no more limited by distance. Once you go online, you are connected with everyone. Also you can make use of all the awesome tools, computers and other devices can provide you with.

Nowadays, Internet holds a significant role in our lifes, especially in the working enviroment. Can you imagine a company doing business without having a website, eployees without e-mail or mobile phone? This can only go in one direction: BANKRUPTCY. It may be sad but true. We rely on digital technology. This is the future. Online networks and communities just make things easier for everybody. They are the answer for many “unmet needs”. A good example can be the crowdsourcing. the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

For the next weeks, I would like to assist to a conference with a successful businessman/woman and ask him/her how they made use of all these tools(theory of change, communication platforms, crowdfunding, open space innovations) in a well-knowed company.

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Crowdsurfing!

These days, we’ve been taught about crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. First time, I thought these 2 are the same thing. However, researching on the topic, I found out that crowdsourcing is basically, the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people. Crowdfunding is all about money; trying to raise more funds in order to materialize a project or an idea.

One thing I notice about crowdfunding & crowdsourcing is that they are closely correlated to Internet and online networks. In my opinion, the online services play a huge role in these processes. Via Internet, everything is simplified. The information is shared quickly, so that a good plan or idea is immediately noticed by others, who are willing to help, either with skills and experience(crowdsourcing), or with money(crowdfunding). One of the iconic examples regarding this subject is Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. Experts and not only, can write articles on a wide range of themes. The interesting fact, about this online space, is that studies shows that Wikipedia is at least as accurate as Britannica. Me, personally, I wouldn’t expect that accuracy for an online encyclopedia, which can be edited by anyone.

Designers can make good use of such tools in their work. I tend to believe that in this field, crowdfunding would work better than crowdsourcing. They, of course need money to build, market and deliver their products. Nonetheless, crowdsourcing would be a bit difficult to put in practice. Designers are artists, creators. Putting them in the same box, confronting mind blowing ideas will be quite annoying. They have strong egos and will hardly let go to their own way of finding solutions to a problem. Yet, crowdsourcing would help designers find a team, people they need, having complementary skills. It’s better to have experts from different fields together, rather than trying to form a lineup of people with the same qualification.

Crowdsourcing in the key to future projects. It’s popularity is growing rapidly and people start being aware of the usefulness of such programs. It is a great way to find people with the necessary skills and motivation to work on your ideas.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Dan Alexandru Blog

Eye-Opening

Week after week, I learn more about facilitating groups and growing their productivity. After 5 weeks of finding out lots of information on this subject, I realize that I know nothing about this stuff. Actually, I haven’t even known that there are so many ways in which people can improve collaboration.

Setting up a team, is no easy job. I thought that it will be pretty simple. “Some people, some tasks…How hard could it be? Piece of cake!” I was terribly wrong. There are so many “Ifs” and “Buts” in the process, which throws you in the cruel reality, where you discover your organizational skills are 0. But admitting that, is a huge step forward, I guess.

From my personal experience, I believe that respecting each member is the most important aspect of creating unity within a group. Listening to everybody and trying to mediate disputes over ideas, as soon as they appear are two ways of implementing respect among the peers. One’s intention, while being part of a group, is to make himself/herself heard. The point here is not using everybody’s ideas, discussed at the table( because yeah, sometimes, some theories just suck). It’s about LISTENING to all of them. Make sure, everyone feels that he/she has a contribution to the project. That way, people are motivated to work harder as they see themselves being an efficient part of the “machine”.

This week, we’ve been taught about how the size of a group can influence it’s performance and affiliation. We’ve been talking about open space techonlogies and techniques like the ones shared by Christopher Allen. Small groups are useful for creativity flow, while big groups are productive for putting things together. Extrapolating, we can see the difference between artists and Formula 1 teams. On one hand, we have the artists. They always need to be alone, disconnected from reality, connected to their own universe, in order to create masterpieces. On the other hand, we have the Formula 1 team members. These guys can replace 4 tyres in only 2.3 secons! They do that together, and this is the key word, TOGETHER. All these people, the pilot, the mechanics, the radio guys, they all have their own task in the “game”. They possess complementary skills and being united, the team can do magic!

In my opinion, a good way to improve my group efficency is brainstorming in teams of 2 and see if we could connect one idea to another in order to create networks of possibilities. I also believe that researching together could be beneficial as we will better understand the essence of a study.

P.S.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maBvgp3r61k

 

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Dan Alexandru Blog

The Other Kind of “Life”

Facebook is one of the most used network for socializing and communication these days. Facebook is so common, that it’s even strange if you don’t have an account.  It is pretty trendy due to it’s multi-application service. You can chat, share photos, documents, initiate voice calls, you can even link Facebook to other platforms such as Skype or MSN.

The truth is that I am pretty active on Facebook and I like to share a lot of things within my groups & friends. You can also find very interesting and useful stuff posted by others. For example, the Facebook page of the site www.iflscience.com is full of science facts and science news.

At the moment, I am part of 31 groups. Most of them are just for entertainment, events and random things. However, there are groups which I find useful & helpful. One example is the Facebook group of my band where we always post rehearsals hours, playlists for up-coming concerts, news about events, ideas about stage performance and many others.

Another feature of Facebook is that you can find almost anyone, due to it’s popularity. Once, I just typed the name of one of my best friends in kindergarten and guess what? For the next 3 hours we were chatting, sharing experiences and making fun of all the lost memories of our early ages.

Reflecting, I just realized that using Facebook has been a great opportunity to make myself heard and strengthen the bonds with people. It was kind of hard for those who were not using Facebook because they missed a lot of meetings, Facebook events or hot news. They were just outsiders at others’ conversations. It’s like sitting between 2 gamers, who are using unfamiliar words like Health points, BOTs, respawning and you are like:” WTF are they talking about???”.

As a conclusion, Facebook is my choice when it comes to networks. Why? Because it’s user friendly, it has a bunch of applications and EVERYONE use it!

 

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In a world of digitalalization and technology, people can find any kind of information, using the…

In a world of digitalalization and technology, people can find any kind of information, using the Internet. Internet can provide you with a wide range of tools. However,  you need to know exactly what is your aim and then, try to find the necessary tools for that. For example, as a lumberjack, you won’t use a pickaxe to cut a tree.

As a student, I noticed the lack of coordination and organization between the members of a group. Although, i’m not a technology geek, I must admit that some online applications are really useful and can help improve the group’s unity and productivity.

My motto is “Keep it as simple as possible”. Simple things are easy to understand and to use. There are 4 programs, which I think can make the change. First on the list is Skype. It’s a great communication platform and almost everyone has an account. Organizing online meetings, sharing information and all the basic stuff. It’s brief and to the point. Second is TeamViewer. You can remote control any computer or Mac over the internet within seconds. The third one is  µTorrent, which heps you download any kind of file or software. The advantage is that you don’t have to pay for installing Photoshop or Ilustrator or any other kind of program you will use as a future designer. Using µTorrent you may have more money in your wallet BUT, also more maleware and viruses on your PC. And last, but not least, one of the most valuable tools for building strong communities and facilitate networks, which is actually a site, not a program, is www.mindtools.com. They teach you both how to proffesionally develop as an individual and as a team member as well.

Hopefully, making use of such tools, the group will come together as a whole.

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What? Where? When?

Ok, first impression on Project Community: ???. I have no idea what’s happening. First, I thought that it will be another boring course with a lot of “Bla-bla”, but actually, things are pretty serious. From what I understand, we are going to work with real NGOs and help them develop. Apart from this, everything is complete confussion to me.

Yet, I belive this chaos is deliberate and with a purpose. Maybe they are testing our capabilities to cope with such issues. I think the goal is asking as many questions as possible, gathering information and form a better insight of the problem. They want to see our engagement and if we’re really into it. That’s all for this evening. 

P.S.: I kinda’ start liking this blogging stuff :)).

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Dan Alexandru Blog