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One single but ultimate recommendation

If I have to choose one theme that can be the most beneficial to PAGE to help them overcome their challenge , Crowdsourcing is my ultimate choice.
Crowdsourcing covers so many different sectors. You can crowdsource ideas, knowledge , resources, (even physical/material resources).
Although crowdsourcing is now a days made use of primarily via online communities, crowdsourcing can also be very beneficial when it is solicited in a more traditional way - that is in the physical world.
In my regards, PAGE could make use of crowdsourcing as a pillar to solve their challenge of ‘getting more volunteers and donors’. They need to get more volunteers and funding , and in order to achieve this they need to raise awareness about themselves. 
To be able to raise awareness, one of the things they can do is enlargen their network. This can be effectively done through crowdsourcing.
PAGE could connect with NGO’s (on a local or global level) that have similar goals and values as them. That way, they can make effective use of crowdsourcing to share and receive information, experience and resources with these other NGO’s.  The Girl Scouts of America for example is a ‘hub’ of information and resources PAGE could benefit from via crowdsourcing with them.

Many NGO’s have the aim of serving the world and its people in different ways.  The impact created by such organisations can be enhanced if they regroup their ideas and resources to collaborate together effectively. This can be done through crowdsourcing. PAGE can make use of crowdsourcing for the above reason, but also to reach out and join forces with their clients, donors, volunteers and basically all the stakeholders affected by or involved in the things the NGO does.

Sales force 1 for Nonprofits is a foundation that serves as a platform and that has developed an application that helps NGO’s across the world to connect and collaborate with each other - PAGE could make use of such a tool to benefit from the extensive advantages crowdsourcing has to offer.

[View video in Previous post : http://emilieslightbulbmoments.tumblr.com/post/101345154119 ]

This foundation also offers tool kits on various topics including how to build a community. PAGE could use this, as building a community is part of enlarging their network of connections. This will enable them to overcome their challenge as they will be able to attract more people to help them. 

image

Source : Engage and Strengthen Communities Solution Kit, sales force foundation, page 8 

Crowdsourcing often results in innovation, new insights, improvements and enhancements, and is usually very beneficial and enriching , which is why PAGE could definitely benefit from it ; may it be to overcome their challenge or to improve and get more insights in general to aspire for a growing and fulfilled future.

SamaSource is an NGO that makes extensive use of crowdsourcing, leading to successful and positive results and consequences.

In addition, existing crowdfunding platforms can be very beneficial to PAGE as the topics discussed can provide guidelines and knowledge and resources for PAGE to use to help them grow as an NGO and get their projects successfully running. 
Crowdsourcing. org , is an online crowd funding platform  that covers several components of crowdsourcing : crowd funding, distribution of knowledge, open innovation and crowd creativity.
It is possible to just view the content posted and the reactions and opinions of the users of this platform. It is also possible to post questions,ideas,thoughts via it. PAGE could make use of such a platform to receive feedback on any ideas they have or problems they face. That way, they can get connected to other NGOs or people with more experience in the appropriate sectors, and receive responses, opinions, advice and suggestions from them.
This is a way of enabling PAGE to improve, and enlargen their network, people will get to know about them and could send more people (volunteers & donors )there way .
Since Crowdsourcing involves getting services, content or resources by soliciting help from a large group of people, crowdsourcing also includes Crowdfunding.
PAGE needs more donors/funding, thus, they could make use of crowd funding to achieve this. Platforms  such as Catapult and Crowdrise would be the most appropriate for PAGE as they are NGO-focused. Indeed, they are used by organisations such as UNICEF and the American Red Cross.
Refer to Previous post : Crowd: Sourcing & Funding   for  detailed description and explanation of crowd funding.
If I had to recommend ONE ultimate solution to help PAGE  overcome their challenge, it would be to Raise awareness by Enlarging their Network, and do so by  CROWDSOURCING in one or many different ways.
I perceive Crowdsourcing  as an equivalent of  the domino effect in this context [ You know, when you line up the dominos one after each other and you push the first one over : the others all follow one after the other]. What I mean is that like the domino effect , crowdsourcing can get PAGE going much further than its initial intended purpose. It can connect PAGE , get people to know about it, enable PAGE to obtain information, knowledge and resources, and let it tap into the people out there and get contributions from them in many different ways.
A Small change can have a significant effect and many beneficial consequences.
I believe Crowdsourcing can enable this !
image

Source: http://confluencecorp.com/tag/salesforce-nonprofit-starter-pack/
Ciao !
Emilie 
Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Video



Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Goldfish do not live in the sea !

Although the sea in the picture below may be very attractive, I thought I should just point out to the other bloggers that are saying that goldfish live in the sea that if you put a goldfish in the sea it will probably live not more than 1 minute !

This is a picture I took back home in Mauritius :)

Goldfish are a man-made species. Originating from Asia, they have been modified and bred  from the wild Carp, into various shapes and colours. They are fresh-water fish!

The purple goldfish is a concept developed by Stan Phelps, and is based on how you can differentiate yourselves based on value. i.e: what is the “little extra” that you can give to your customers our clients.

In the case of our NGO (PAGE), the terms clients and customers don’t concern the same group of people. Indeed, PAGE’s clients are the girls that the organisation helps by providing them with educational opportunities. PAGE doesn’t really have customers but rather donors and volunteers that can kind of be seen as their collaborators.

Coming back to the ‘purple goldfish’, I believe that PAGE should focus on what they can give back to the people that help them out (that is the donors and volunteers). Something they can do to make them stand out from the crowd so that when people are searching for donating/volunteering opportunities, they choose PAGE to help amongst many other NGO’s.

Moreover, the fact that PAGE gives back to the community could be the “little extra” that PAGE provides . Indeed, PAGE is an NGO that focuses on developing the local community and providing access to education to girls and empowering them . 

A powerful phrase Stan Phelps mentioned in his video is

"Social Media is not the answer, it is only part of the answer"

This can be directly applied to PAGE’s situation. Indeed, one of PAGE’s challenges is raising awareness. Although PAGE is active on twitter, Facebook and has a website a lot of people still don’t know about it. This may be because instead of focusing on a local level , these social media platforms are directed to a more global level. Indeed, as mentioned in one of my previous posts, most people in the Appalachian mountains don’t have access to internet at home . Moreover, for those who do, may it be in North Carolina or across the globe, you need to give people something to talk about on social media platforms and then the use of social media platforms will be successful in raising awareness. Thus, people need to become acquainted with PAGE on a rather offline basis and then cooperate with PAGE online if needed and share the word !

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Thinking locally to Act locally before globally : Insights from Coca-cola talk by Gates

In her TED talk ” what Non Profits can learn from Coca-Cola” , Melinda Gates mentions the importance of real-time data.

I believe this can be related to the monitoring and evaluating strategies I discussed in my previous post. Indeed, as described in the video, this involves a continuous feedback loop in which real- time data is collected and worked upon simultaneously.

By using such a strategy NGO’s such as PAGE could learn and improve on a simultaneous thread and also be able to measure their progress and success.

The importance of keeping this simultaneous and up to date, is in regards to time. As a matter of fact, when evaluating something it is usually done to late to actually use the data from the evaluation/feedback constructively.

When implementing our recommendations, PAGE should evaluate continuously so that improvements and alterations can be made and the implementation of the proposals can be successful and useful. 

The second point Gates addressed was the ultimate need to tap into local entrepreneurial talent.  How this concept can be adapted to PAGE is by adapting locally and focusing on the local context as a start. Truly what may work on an international level won’t necessarily work on a local level. In that  respect, when recommending proposals to PAGE we should take into consideration the importance of the local community surrounding PAGE. An important point to take into account for example is the fact that Internet is not available for most locals .Therefore to reach out locally before globally, our proposals should be adapted and focused on the local - social media as an example would not be a good recommendation to raise awareness locally but it would be internationally.

Its all about understanding the local community !

Moreover, when marketing it is important to show the audience what is in it for them . For example for PAGE’s donating campaign, if they want people to donate they should show them how they will benefit from giving their money. Make them understand by donating/giving these people aren’t only helping the girls at the school, but are also contributing to the world they would like their children and future generations to grow up in , a developed world with equal opportunities for everyone.

image

Source : http://pixdaus.com/local-transport-of-coca-cola-on-the-beach-of-matemwe-in-the/items/view/21619/

This is the type of thing you would see in my home country Mauritius.

Last but certainly not least, the fact that we are analysing the marketing of  Coca-Cola which is based in a different sector and adapting it to our context shows that crowdsourcing is important and magical ! Indeed, by learning from every sector that is different from ours we end up with great ideas and insights.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Monitoring and Evaluating: Key and useful concepts

A Monitoring and Evaluation strategy is needed when preparing and implementing the recommendations we are proposing to our NGO to help them solve the challenges they are facing.

Indeed, as I recalled in one of my previous posts, it is important to measure (that is evaluate) all of our proposals in order to determine whether they will be feasible to be undertaken by our NGO’s, and to what extent they will enable them to overcome their challenges - i.e: do they create enough intended impact for them to be implemented ?

In order to propose feasible and sustainable ideas to our NGO, it is a must to evaluate these accordingly so that when selecting which proposals our NGO would like to carry out, they can refer to our evaluation made on them. This will influence the decision-making of our NGO regarding which proposals they would like to implement.

Moreover, I believe it is very important to develop such an evaluation strategy as this enables our NGO to see our proposals are really worth carrying out. That is, to which extent they will they be able to enable the expected outcome to be met ? - How significant will their impact be ?

In order to evaluate our proposals, I created an evaluation model, inspired from an existing measurement strategy entitled "Circles of sustainability". I previously used this model in one of my blog posts when questioning the feasibility of our teams recommendations to our NGO.

Here is the link to that post: Will the Future of our proposals be sustainable ?

Regarding the evaluation strategy I developed, it works by assessing each proposal based on several evaluation criterium : Sustainability & Efficiency, and Relevance & Impact.

Each of the two combined criterium, have sub groups which are evaluated on a 6-point scale, ranging from Critical to Excellent.

Below is an example of the evaluation strategy used to evaluate one of the proposals our team will recommend to PAGE.

The proposal evaluated above is to make PAGE form a sort of alliance with universities/schools in their region. That way they can attract more volunteers as many students attending certain university programs or IB schools are required to do a certain number of hours of community service/volunteering. Thus, creating this alliance could enable PAGE to get access to a larger pool of potential volunteers. This would help PAGE overcome its challenge of getting people more involved in the organisation by volunteering.

I will propose this evaluation strategy to my team members during our next meeting and see if it could help us propose solutions to our NGO that are as feasible, sustainable, relevant and efficient as possible.

Moreover, it is important to have a monitoring plan to create a framework for our NGO to implement our proposals. Indeed, it is important as when recommending our proposals, we should take into consideration how these proposals are going to be implemented by PAGE and also by who within the organisation.

In order to try and forecast the above, a framework which addresses management and control, and enables future monitoring is needed.

Through my research I came across a system called "The Logical Framework".

This framework outlines the roles and responsibilities needed to implement our recommendations when monitoring and evaluating them. It also acts as a ‘planner’ to organise the undergoing of the needed activities.

Source: UNICEF, Programme Policy and Procedures Manual: Programme Operations , Evaluation criteria : Section 1.

The figure above emphasises on the importance to define the inputs and activities needed to implement each of our recommendations, as well as the intended outcomes and objectives we have forecasted when our NGO will implement them.

This is what I think our team lacks - we have great ideas but we haven’t spent enough time on thinking all the ideas through. By this I mean we haven’t actually considered HOW our NGO will implement our proposals and the resources/means they will need to have to do so.

By discussing with our NGO to fill up the logical framework table (shown below) for our proposals, this would enable us to recommend proposals that are feasible for our NGO - that is they have the required ‘inputs’ to make it happen  such as resources, time and personnel.

Source: Monitoring and Evaluation Plan template 

The “Indicators” cell in the table is needed to measure monitoring and evaluation. Indeed,as clearly explained in the template "Indicators are how we measure progress towards a specific objective or goal.  After you’ve laid out the various levels (input, output, outcome, impact) of your activity, you can then begin to decide how to measure progress towards achieving your objectives and goals by selecting appropriate indicators. "

When using such a framework for monitoring, it is also possible and could be very useful to monitor the performance of our NGO when implementing these solutions. Indeed, the progress made when doing as such can be measured which will enable the NGO to improve where needed and enable short-term adjustments to direct the proposal towards creating the expected/designed outcome. A ‘Learn and adjust as you go’ approach can thus be followed.

So here we go for the evaluation and monitoring system approaches that can be useful to our team and our NGO !

More to come on Marketing and online communities soon !

Ciao

Emilie 

x

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Another interesting TED talk about crowd…



Another interesting TED talk about crowd funding

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY5EfaF61hI

Its interesting to see the various uses of crowd funding and applications of it. Also raises the importance of defining your audience, targeting it, and offering rewards to them in one way or another.

In regards to crowd funding for our NGO, I have posted an info graphic below that categorises the numerous crowd funding platforms available online in regards to what project/purpose you have when setting up a campaign to get it crowd funded.

A few of the crowd funding platforms I have mentioned in my previous posts are shown in the Inforgraphic (IndieGogo, Razoo, Crowdrise). However not all of them are categorised in the way in which I perceived they could be useful to our NGO.

I believe this info graphic could help our NGO decide on which crowd funding platform they should create their campaign on, if ever they are interested in making use of crowd funding to raise money.

image

Source: http://main.makeuseoflimited.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/21-crowdfunding-sites.jpg?4f52ee

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

How crowdfunding is going to change the world Great TEDx Video…



How crowdfunding is going to change the world

Great TEDx Video by Anna Guenther

"Collaboration is the new black"

Source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1_viddQGSQ

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Crowd: Sourcing & Funding !

Hi Fellow Bloggers !
This week within the Project Community course, we discussed about two interesting concepts that make great use of networks : Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding.
Crowdsourcing involves soliciting external input usually from online communities concerning particular projects that require knowledge from various fields and broad variety of ideas , opinions and styles.
This is a concept which I feel is especially related to us a students as in the future most of us could end up working within design teams that could make use of crowdsourcing when designing products/solutions.
 
When designing products and services these days,expertise is required from various fields. Indeed, products/services are becoming more complex and multi-disciplinary .Crowdsourcing can be useful to designing these products/services depending on the way and the context in which it is used.
When working within a set, constrained group of people to design particular products/services, such as within a company, many designers may find it hard as they prefer to work alone. Indeed, working within such a team requires each member to acknowledge each others input and ideas and to work collaboratively.
 
On the other hand, designers can work on their own and where they lack knowledge in a particular field that may relate to their project, then they can consult help from other designers or experts in different fields than theirs via crowdsourcing.
 
Indeed, designers could use crowdsourcing to reach services and share ideas. If they aren’t the type to work within a team and seek everyone’s input on a constant basis then they can use crowdsourcing on a less personal level. This can be done via online crowdsourcing platforms. Designers can thus take and give what they want. They do not have this obligation to take in everyone’s ideas and recommendations as they would have when working within a set design team. They can take what they feel interests and is useful to them or the project they are working on.

Source: http://buildinternet.com/2009/01/the-real-problems-with-design-contests/

 
As a matter of fact, successful companies like Unilever seek external input/ideas from anyone who can help them with the challenges our world faces and for which their companies mission/goal is to find solutions too. 
 
 
Anyone can submit a ‘technical solution’ online via their website. Thus, Unilever makes use of crowdsourcing to receive external input in the form of ideas. This is beneficial to their design team as the people that are willing to share there ideas to Unilever, come from different professional backgrounds as well as cultural backgrounds. 
 
This example shows how since each and everyone of us come from different professional and cultural backgrounds and have our own style and expertise/experience in a certain field, when pooling these resources together many different ideas can arise each being different from each other thus providing a broad range of possibilities when wanting to design a solution to a problem.
 
Crowdsourcing is also a useful tool that allows customers to be involved in the design process of the products/services they will end up buying and using. Indeed, a type of design called ‘participatory design’ is therefore used; Customers can be involved in the process of creating what they actually want from the companies they buy from.
 
Nonetheless, Crowdsourced design can raise some issues. When there are too many people working on a project the problem of ’too many chefs in the kitchen’ comes up. Indeed, we each value our ideas/way of thinking/opinions. Thus, when working with others we subcontiously defend our ideas/opinions, and if everyone does this you can imagine how inefficient crowdsourcing can get ! Moreover, crowdsourcing via online platforms takes away this sense of collaboration team members have when working together. Since they are not in physical contact with the people they are exchanging knowledge and ideas, this can cause people to overly defend what they think and take other people’s input subjectively. 
Crowdfunding
Crowd-funding can be a useful way to collect money when capital is needed to run a certain project or support a certain cause. Indeed, for NGO’s and projects where the end benefiter/user is not the one that will commission the project, crowd funding via online platforms is often considered to raise the capital needed. 
Many NGO’s such as UNICEF and the American Red Cross use crowd funding to raise money. However , I think that crowd funding is effective only for raising money on a one-time or eventually two-time basis.
Indeed, it isn’t the ideal method of funding to sustain a project/organisation year-round on a stable budget. This is because when setting up a crowd funding campaign, one has to set a particular goal (amount of money) that needs to be raised to fund the cause and a specific period that the campaign will last for. The usual amount of time a crowd funding campaign lasts is  between 1 week and 60 days, therefore, crowd funding campaigns can’t be set up to last a whole year or half-year as people will get disinterested in it and not donate as frequently as they would with campaigns that last a limited time. Indeed, when campaigns last a limited time, people feel more motivated to donate as they want to help the organisation achieve their goal before it is too late to do so. 
As a matter of fact, it has been proven that crowd funding projects "lasting 30 days or less have a higher success rate.

I came across a different approach to crowd funding entitled “A 24-hour day of giving”. This involved donating to end child trafficking in the United States. The difference with this initiative is that although it was launched on a crowd funding platform, it had a very short time set to reach their fundraising goal - exactly one day! This led to people feeling more motivated to get involved and donate.

Source: Everyone’s Kids 1st Training Webinar by Razoo Giving

Indeed, an issue that often arises with crowdfunding is how to get people to feel involved and want to help funding a particular project or cause they have no immediate connection with. We have seen for example the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral on social media sites.
The key for people to want to donate is to raise awareness of the project/cause they are donating too and to give them a reason to get involved. Indeed, most donors will donate towards a cause/project if they know or have seen others do the same, this makes them feel involved and part of a community then. An example Tom Dawkins gives in his video  It’s Peerfunding, not crowd funding” is that people are more likely to put money in a tip jar that already has coins in it, not one which is empty.
Indeed, when someone donates, beforehand, they seek that other people care and donate to the same organisation/project they are considering to donate - they first see if there are people who care in order for them in turn to care.
 
 
Regarding the NGO our team is working on [PAGE] , crowd funding is a possible yet challenging funding method they could make use of. Indeed, it is challenging because in order for a crowd funding campaign to be successful and reach its goals, people out there need to know about the organisation/project that the campaign is based on and most importantly they need to have a reason to donate to this campaign. 
After having researched on different existing crowd funding campaigns, i deducted that Razoo and Crowdrise could be used by PAGE if they were to consider crowd funding as a method to raise money. 
 
Razoo is interesting as it has different types of crowd funding possibilities and thus caters for specific clients as shown in the image below.
It is very easy to set up a campaign on Razoo as this can be done in a couple of minutes, all that is required is a description of the project that needs to be funded, a title , illustrations to better visualise the project and a goal amount and timeframe in which you want the goal to be reached.  As previously mentioned, it is very important to have a goal and timeframe when creating a campaign. Crowd funding is all about specificity , people want to know where their money is going and how much you need to fund your project.
 
 

 
Furthermore, as many crowd funding platforms have, CROWDRISE is a platform that takes a small percent of commission on the amount of donations received. Setting up a campaign on CROWDRISE is as easy as explained for Razoo above.  CROWDRISE gives two options when creating a campaign : you have to choose if you want to raise money for charity or for a person. In PAGE’s situation both the options could be used. Raising money for charity would involve the NGO as a whole. Regarding raising money for a person, PAGE could represent some of their students as individuals on the platform. That way when people donate for a specific girl attending PAGE’s classes/ summer school , this girl can benefit from the money received and this can be invested into her education pathway. I believe this can also be perceived as ‘sponsoring a child’ .
However this may be an unfeasible idea [please give feedback on it], as  PAGE may not want to portray their students as individual girls but rather as a team of them. Moreover, by doing as such, it may lead to the girls as individuals being portrayed as victims which is against PAGE’s values and motives.
An example of a similar campaign is shown below.
However, CROWDRISE is not a free crowd funding platform as it takes commission based on how much money you are able to collect. For an NGO such a crowd funding platform is not ideal although it has other benefits as mentioned above. Indeed, a platform specifically targeted to NGO’s such as Catapult willbe more beneficial, as such platforms don’t charge fees if you reach your fundraising goal. 
 
Overall, although their may be several crowd funding platforms that PAGE could use effectively,  I think that before recommending our NGO to use a certain crowd funding platform to raise money, it is important that we recommend ways in which they can raise awareness of themselves and give reasons for people to want to donate to them. Indeed, this is very important as the reason for which many campaigns are unsuccessful is because prior to putting themselves on the crowd funding platform they do not have a ready-made audience/target market that will support their campaign and contribute to making it happen. Campaigns cannot expect someone to donate to them if he/she has never heard of the organisation before. Moreover, although it may sound selfish, I feel that when donating, people always think to themselves ‘what’s in it for me if i donate ?’. Thus the importance of having a suitable reason for people to want to donate to PAGE’s campaign and what they get out of it when donating are important aspects to work on before leading our NGO to setting a campaign on crowd funding platforms.

 All in all, whether it is crowd funding or crowdsourcing, I believe that if the two are made use of in the right context and in the right way they can be useful to a large pool of beneficiaries, may it be NGO’s, designers, businesses, or even individuals. Moreover, an aspect to deduct from the two is that they are happening thanks to the internet and the use of online networks and communities.

 

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Group 7 is striving !

While I am writing this blogpost, just thought i should mention that our team is doing great ! Albeit the small difficulties of getting every member to put in as much input as the others, I have a good feeling that we are on the right track and that we are achieving great things !
 
Sorry for that little moment of enthusiasm, but it just makes me happy to see everything turning out so well. We are up and about, have found various recommendations for our NGO to solve their challenges and are even physically making one of them happen. Indeed, we are taking the initiative to create a page on the local wiki where our NGO is located in order to help PAGE raise awareness about itself and thus attract more donors and volunteers. 
 
Setting up this web page on the Asheville wiki, (by the way Asheville is the closest big town to PAGE ) was an idea our team originally shared with the other teams working on the same NGO . We hoped that all of our teams could work collaboratively to create it ,as we all share similar goals, however, the other teams haven’t shown much interest in our idea so we have taken on the challenge of doing it ourselves !
 
I guess that this initiative has increased the motivation within our group to work together on achieving a goal which we all share ; helping PAGE overcome the challenges they are facing.

Source: http://aaccuratequote.com/work-motivation-cartoon

An important thing that I feel is happening within our team is that we are sticking together. I believe that one of the reasons for this is because our team is rich of interdependencies . Indeed, we are all mutually dependent on one another  and thus rely on each other to achieve certain tasks and attain a certain progress that brings us closer and closer to realising our objective.  
Out of the different types of interdependencies that exist , I think that our team incorporates mainly two of them : Activity interdependencies and Resource Interdependencies.
Resource dependencies involves the knowledge exchange we experience amongst our team members regarding different fields which we can educate each other about. Its basically what we can bring to one another to learn. Activity interdependencies includes the input of every member.
 
We may not all do as much as each other but we have all , as individuals, increased our capability of sharing knowledge and performing the required tasks.   One thing that I believe should be noted is that we are all different and thus some of us may have more capability at doing things in this field , which is why the work is not always equally distributed. However, as long as we are aware of each others capabilities and that we are all doing and giving as much as we can then there is nothing else that should matter from my point of view. Moreover, there are some members that have been more active in the previous weeks and others that will be more active in the upcoming weeks. This is totally normal because we each have different fields of ‘expertise’, for example some team members are more involved now that we are starting on creating the video because that is what they are good at and interests them too.
 
Moreover, we strive through positive interdependency. Indeed, although there have been hard times, I have perceived that we have always done our best to overcome the problems we faced and look at our challenges of working within a team in a positive manner.
We all depend on one another and I recognise that working within my team has only been beneficial. Indeed, I could never think of doing all we have achieved alone. The cooperation and collaboration our team has experienced keeps bringing us one step closer to achieve this common goal we share. 
I now more than ever grasp Mattie Stepanek’s wise words :  ”Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”.

When I take some time to reflect on our team dynamics and progress, I can surely say that  it has significantly improved if we compare how we worked as a team in the beginning and how we are now (5 weeks later).
 
In the beginning we tried to all work on the same things and this was clearly unsuccessful. After taking some time in the first weeks to divide tasks and organise ourselves we became much more effective and productive. As a first we made two sub-groups of which one worked on the Funding and the other on the Volunteering challenge our NGO faces.  Since both groups have now finished researching and finding numerous potential recommendations to give to our NGO (of which Elizabeth has already approved a few), this week we decided to restructure our team. Indeed, we have now created new sub-groups with different members to work on the things we now need to focus on : creating the video , setting up the page on the local wiki and summing up our recommendations for our NGO in a report.
 
After having watched Chris Corrigan’s video on Group Size, in which he  discusses the impact the size of a group has, I can now look back and understand why at the beginning we were struggling and why we are doing much better now.
 
Indeed, in the beginning we thought that by brainstorming and discussing all together (6 team members) we would generate more ideas to overcome the challenges our NGO is facing.  However, this was all very complicated and brought about tensions as we all wanted to defend our ideas and voice them out .As Chris Corrigan mentions, when working within a group of six or more people, we loose the benefit of diversity.
Dividing the tasks into small groups made it all easier and more productive. Although we were divided in sub groups, the whole team still met with each other to share the ideas our sub groups had found and obtain feedback from the rest of the team members.
However, as there is always room for improvement I think that there a few things we should change in the upcoming weeks so that our group work is ameliorated.
One of these is including certain members more in work that is not necessarily in their field of expertise, that way we can each learn from things that are out of our comfort zone. Me and two other team members are working on the creation of the video as we have knowledge and experience in using the required software to do so . Although the other team members aren’t as experienced in the field, one of the members asked me if he could observe us making the video so that he could get an insight on how it is done and thus learn about it.  I delightfully accepted of course! I really enjoy this kind of spirit which reigns within our team and the objective of the Project Community module as a whole -  learning from each other and with each other.
Another iteration we should make involves the structure of our meetings. They would be more productive if we create a set agenda of what we are addressing in the meeting - we should probably have a hangout with Nancy next week to get some advice about that. Also, we never plan any times for breaks during our meeting.
This is something i realised when looking at the cards of the Group Pattern Language Project .  Indeed, one of these cards is entitled ‘Rest’.
By doing as mentioned in the card, I believe we will be able to work better, refine our ideas and achieve even more great stuff.
Further updates on their way !
Cheers
Emilie
Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Will the future of our proposals be sustainable ?

Our team is coming up with a great amount of recommendations for our NGO to help them solve the challenges we are facing, however the extent to which all of them are feasible is yet to question.

Indeed, after having drafted up a list of proposals to give to our client, we should sort them out in relation to how feasible they are and how sustainable they will be in the long run.

In my previous blog posts, I mentioned a Community Project which I co-founded in Mauritius 2 years ago. While we initially had people to take care of the project and ensure its smooth running of the things we have created and implemented, we now face a problem of who’s going to take over ? Indeed, the majority of the  members of our initial founding team are studying abroad from Mauritius. Although we can still correspond via online tools , we need people to continue the work we have done and provide the children of the schools we were collaborating with some support via tut ions and educational activities, so that all the improvements we have brought to these children’s lives does not suddenly face a stop. 

What I am trying to point out here is that although an idea can be great at first, it is still very important to envision where that idea lies in the future in order for it to go through and create positive changes. If we don’t picture it in the future, there will be great chances of the solution being efficient for the present few months however on the long run it may not be sustainable.

In regards to our NGO: PAGE, it is important to remember that although we may have great solutions to their problems, we won’t necessarily be able to execute them. Following the wise words of Nancy White: “They are not us. We are not them. WE are designing FOR them!”. Thus, when selecting ideas to recommend them to our NGO, we should keep in mind who will actually bring the proposal through to reality and how they would do it, in order for our proposals to be seen as feasible and sustainable. 

While researching the ways to measure sustainability I came across a concept entitled ‘The Circles of Sustainability’. Although this measuring method is usually used for countries in general concerning their present sustainability, I think that we could adapt it and use it within our project community team. Indeed, once we will have a list of our proposals to recommend to our NGO, we can use ‘the circles of sustainability’ to evaluate each of our proposals to see if they will be sustainable in the future. This method includes rating the proposal in regards to each aspect of what makes something sustainable (economically, socially and environmentally) whilst taking into consideration the future of it. 

Here is an example of how the sustainability of a city is measured using circles of sustainability. The circle is divided into quarters of which each include sectors which are rated accordingly.

Source: “Sao Paulo Profile, Level 1, 2012” by SaintGeorgeIV 

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sao_Paulo_Profile,_Level_1,_2012.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Sao_Paulo_Profile,_Level_1,_2012.jpg

Feedback about this idea would be greatly appreciated ! 

Cheers

Emilie

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !