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Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!

HI all,

This is the final blog I am writing for this course. But before I write the rest of this blog I want to take this opportunity to thank my group for the fun and experience we’ve shared! I had a good time and learned much from our meetings and discussions!

During this course we followed classes once a week, we have been discussing about different tools organizations or people can use to expand their companies/ organizations reach in this world. These tools are; work teams, marketing, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

Our NGO is CNCPTMKR and is founded by Maarten van Leeuwen. The trouble with one-man companies is that founders get stuck due to the lack of input. Therefore I think Crowdsourcing is a great way to enhance idea generation. I think crowdsourcing can be as easy as joining networks that have similar interest, and scanning them for useful ideas. To joining sites such as innocentive where it is possible to ask really targeted questions, with much fewer, but often much more thought trough ideas.

We started out this community project really well I guess. We were working really fast, had a few meetings with Maarten and Nancy. But then after a couple of weeks, it became harder and harder to get in contact with him. This is of course something that might happen due to other priorities. Therefore our project nearly came to a halt and we were forced to switch priorities because we came to a time limitation. I think, if the amount of communication hadn’t reduced over time, we would have been able to come up with much more useful advice.

Another thing we found out that in order to start a network, you need a good brand. Since most people are not wandering around aimlessly on the web in search for networks to join. Instead they join networks often made by people/brands they know and the quality of the network often decides whether they stay, or not. In order for CNCPTMKR to realize his ideas, he has increase the brands’ strength.

We are advising CNCPTMKR to join existing networks such as the sustainable agriculture network (SAN), because I think such networks can greatly enhance CNCPTMKRs brand on global scale. Because for CNCPTMKR it’s just not feasible to start his own network when so little experts and people know your brand.

That’s it folks! Tomorrow we are going to shoot our advice movie and finalize this course! Thanks for reading!

Tomas

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Expending the Network

So here we are in week 7 of project communities. Past few weeks we have been working on examining different kind of online communities and rating them on different kind of criteria. So just to give you a quick heads-up; Our NGO gave us the challenge on how to get in contact with experts around the globe. Therefore we immediately thought of creating a platform where different people could join, talk and share ideas on sustainable agriculture and social innovation. Because we’ve not worked with a lot of online communities we thought we could analyze a few and see what a “good” online community is and which applications it is using. This gave us but little insight in the way different online communities operate, but still, little is more than no insight.

In this research we found one or two sites where it was really hard to join by creating an account. This was one of the first criteria that we were scoring the communities on, because, depending on the community, we thought a good online community should have easy access. Nowadays, many online communities have applications which would let potential users connect with Facebook, Twitter or other online profiles. Because many people use these social network profiles, for most people it’s rather easy to join.

Secondly I think that people are lazy by default and need some triggers to get them to do anything. Therefore news and information should be as easy to access as possible, preferably the information should come towards the user. I think this is why Hyves (the first online social media I used) isn’t existing anymore, for it was not possible to access the information easily. I hourly check my ‘own’ Facebook homepage, which shows information others find important, like or want to share with others. On Hyves I had to search for one of my friends and look on their homepage to see what they were up to. Therefore I think that the ease to access information and news is one of the most important factors in online communities, preferably the updates should come to you.

This is what makes social media so attractable to businesses and organizations, for people don’t have to look up information about for example; planned events, your new designs or redesigns. Anything you want to share, spreads to the people that are interested in, or ‘like’ your organization.

For the future I’m interested in how to raise awareness for a certain company or organization. For my roommate raised his own company and when I can, I help in branding and raising awareness. So far, it has been time consuming and not very fruitful. I just discussed that social media can be very effective in sharing news and information, but I’m wondering how to use social networks to raise awareness.

Thanks all for reading and see you next week.

Tomas 

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The Source Code

This weeks’ blogpost will be on crowdsourcing and how the “me, we and network” can make use of this tool. First I had to look up some extra information on google for I have no experience working with crowdsourcing. First I had to look up some extra information on google for I have no experience working with crowdsourcing. What I found was very interesting, since one of the oldest forms of crowdsourcing originated from the mid-19 century. It was the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) that used crowdsourcing to identify and exemplify English words.

I can imagine that in the mid-19 century it would take many years to build up a network with so many people. Nowadays, with the presence of the internet, its way more easy to reach out to the network and get help, answers or solutions to your problems. Personally I think this is a positive development, since there are many experts from varying cultures, backgrounds and studies. Since these people will only give advice, solutions or tips, eventually it’s up to you to decide what to do with these reactions.

I looked up some different crowdsourcing sites and came to the conclusion that there are various ways of crowdsourcing:

  1. Internet forums.     I think it’s one of the most common applications around the World Wide Web and can vary from chatrooms to simple an answer and question application. Most forums have different kind of threads or topics, where it’s often possible to register and ask/reply to questions.
  2. Crowdfunding.         Crowdfunding is a well-known internet application that allows people that need fundraising to get money from the masses. There are many different websites with varying fundraise topics; on social or cultural ideas, on sustainable innovations and so on.
  3. Idea generation.     I had more trouble finding another that was different from the top two, but another way to generate ideas is to pay the crowd to come up with solutions. There was one site that caught my eye and it was called Innocentive. There are varying subjects to which people can respond and sent in ideas.

After some research I liked number 3 best, since it uses the crowd to generate ideas, I think it’s a great way to develop projects to the next level. Both experts and non-experts are reacting to your challenge, these different points of view lead to many different kinds of answers. Which eventually might show you the problem was more easy, or hard than you thought beforehand.

There are probably way more ways to source a crowd, but these were the ones I could find after the first research. I hope that you find my post useful and see you next week J

Tomas

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We’re Not Sure!

So, this week we’ll be in week 5 of project community (week one being the introduction week). After four weeks of collaborating with my team members, our NGO, Janneke and Nancy I must say I’ve had a good and interesting time so far. I think, the group I am working with is very efficient and I do enjoy working with them a lot!

I think the reason we work very well together is because there is a general trust among the team members and in whether we’re going to deliver a good product in the end. I think this eventually makes the meetings and tasks less stressful and more fun to be in. Another factor can be that outside the meetings we talk to each other a lot (both project-related and friendly), which leads to a friendly work environment and people might be less ‘frightful’ to share ideas.

However, eventually every project group runs into challenges. In our case it is hard to constantly work with 6 people. We split up the tasks and work in small groups as much as possible (and this works really well!). But sometimes when we work in the complete group, its only two (maybe three) people discussing and the rest is doing something else. I do not expect everybody to have an opinion in every discussion, but I do think that active participation and asking the right questions can lead you and others to new insights.

So as I said when we work in small groups, I think we work really well together. People are discussing and sharing their opinions (not only within the duo or trio, but also between the sub-groups). Because this works so well, I find it strange that when we are discussing the results it’s hard to get all the opinions or findings. What I would really like to try coming weeks is that all members of our group participate in the ‘main’ discussion the same way as split up in smaller groups.

When I read back this all sounds very negative. But since it’s our only and therefore biggest issue I think we’re doing very well! I am proud to be a member of this team, since we are having lots of fun (I think :D) and also working really hard to complete every objective.

Thanks for reading!

Tomas.

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: It's fab to be 5

We’re Not Sure!

So, this week we’ll be in week 5 of project community (week one being the introduction week). After four weeks of collaborating with my team members, our NGO, Janneke and Nancy I must say I’ve had a good and interesting time so far. I think, the group I am working with is very efficient and I do enjoy working with them a lot!

I think the reason we work very well together is because there is a general trust among the team members and in whether we’re going to deliver a good product in the end. I think this eventually makes the meetings and tasks less stressful and more fun to be in. Another factor can be that outside the meetings we talk to each other a lot (both project-related and friendly), which leads to a friendly work environment and people might be less ‘frightful’ to share ideas.

However, eventually every project group runs into challenges. In our case it is hard to constantly work with 6 people. We split up the tasks and work in small groups as much as possible (and this works really well!). But sometimes when we work in the complete group, its only two (maybe three) people discussing and the rest is doing something else. I do not expect everybody to have an opinion in every discussion, but I do think that active participation and asking the right questions can lead you and others to new insights.

So as I said when we work in small groups, I think we work really well together. People are discussing and sharing their opinions (not only within the duo or trio, but also between the sub-groups). Because this works so well, I find it strange that when we are discussing the results it’s hard to get all the opinions or findings. What I would really like to try coming weeks is that all members of our group participate in the ‘main’ discussion the same way as split up in smaller groups.

When I read back this all sounds very negative. But since it’s our only and therefore biggest issue I think we’re doing very well! I am proud to be a member of this team, since we are having lots of fun (I think :D) and also working really hard to complete every objective.

Thanks for reading!

Tomas.

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The Social Network and me.

Dear all,

This weeks’ blogpost I will start with a flashback: When I was young I used to be very active on MSN messenger (like so many others), because it allowed me to stay in contact with my friends when I was at home. Sadly, nowadays MSN messenger is gone, but a lot of other social media networks have taken its place. These “new” social media allowed the increase my personal network by the hundreds, therefore it is now possible to share my thoughts, experiences and ideas with a lot of people. However, like many others, I find it hard to share my thoughts and experiences online and therefore I hardly ever post something on Facebook or Twitter. So it is safe to say I am pretty selfish online, I always read other posts and sometimes laugh about their folly, but hardly ever post or share something myself.

When I post, 9 out of 10 times it’s on private Facebook groups shared with close friends or people I study/ sport with. These groups are the only people I interact online with (to set time and dates to meet somewhere). And it’s safe to say that these Facebook groups, for example Open Innovator 2014, are the main reason that I still own a Facebook account.

My grandmother on the other hand, tries really hard to keep up with the online technologies. She owns Twitter and Facebook account. And last week I visited and I had to explain about the RSS feed, which she now uses for random reasons. I am still really amazed by the way she gets it, for even my parents are not quite capable of understanding social networks. My father owned a Facebook account, but deleted it within the month mostly because he didn’t understand it. So when I visit my parents, they most often know what I have been up to lately. This is not because I tell them, but it’s because my grandmother follows my Facebook (and Twitter, but since I don’t post that much it’s less relevant) and sees me getting tagged etc. (This was the answer to last weeks’ question). That is a short story about my grandmother tapping the network and even supplying me with news on a daily basis.

So that was my blog for this week,

Cya guys next week!

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First Online meetings, Check.

Last week was mainly about communication, we had arranged online meetings with Nancy White and with Maarten van Leeuwen about our project. I was a bit nervous for this, since I absolutely hate speaking to people over the internet.

Monday afternoon we had a talk with Nancy over Skype. This was not working the way it was supposed to because Skype had troubles with the connection. In a few minutes we changed to Google Hangouts, which worked perfect compared to Skype. We had a conversation Nancy about different communities and their functions. We also got familiar with the tool Spidergram (which we should know about by now) and the term “Domain”. The domain is the reason why people join certain communities and what the users and the community find important. This Domain is very important when creating a new community, why would people join, what is different and good in this “new” community that we cannot find elsewhere. Hereby also pointing out that it’s not necessary to create a new one, there is also the possibility to join an existing network with a similar domain. At the end of the talk we were really happy that we talked to Nancy before we went on with the project, because she gave us a lot of insight on communities and their structures/needs.

The morning after we talked to Nancy we had a talk with Maarten on GoToMeeting (http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/collaboration/enter). In my opinion the talk went great, probably because we were prepared really well (thank you Nancy!). We got the information we were looking for and got a good impression of what Maarten wants from us in this project. First we asked about Maarten as a person; what he did before he founded CNCPTMKR, why he founded it and what his long term goal is as an entrepreneur. Second we asked about CNCPTMKR; its purpose, focus and the way it attracts clients. This gave us a lot of insight in the reason WHY he wants to create his own network of specialists. Next, we asked after the future’s network users and its applications. This gave us an idea of the site Maarten visualized. As I said above, I think both meeting went great and we learned a lot about our challenge and how to prepare for online meetings!

Last week there was one item on my to-do list, it said “create a Twitter account and start sharing”. So when I did, you’ll never guess who my first follower was.

Here’s a little hint:

  

Cheerio!

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Welcome to 2014!

Many of my friends are involved with blogging, twittering and face-booking on regular basis. While I read most of them, I never took the courage to start one for myself. The fact that I have no interest in random people reading my thoughts, or telling the world what I ate for dinner today might be one of the reasons. But now that I’m practically forced to start one could result in the development of a new blogging habit. “Welcome to the 2014!”

image

My name is Tomas Giele and last week I started studying Industrial Design Engineering at the THOUS in The Hague. Last week we started with the Open Innovator program with a very nice introduction week. What immediately became clear is that online communities, such as Facebook and Twitter, are very important. A few moments after the first introduction, students started asking for your phonenumber or facebook account. Heck, even the schedule, booklist and main events are gathered from our Open Innovator 2014 Facebook page. This not only displays the importance and handiness of social media for students and designers, but also shows the power.

As a newbie in blogging I would be more than happy to read some comments on how to be a proper blogger. So if you guys have any tips&tricks or comments, I’d be very happy to read about them!

On my to-do list:
            - Create Twitter and start sharing!

That’s it for now folks’,

Thanks for reading and I’ll be with y’all next week!

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