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: Kareem's blog

The final blog!

The last blog for this Project communities has arrived.

Our group is very focused on delivering a video that meets all the criteria. Over the holidays our group hadn’t done much work. Therefore we decided to kick it up a few notches and really move forward with the video. 

We all agreed on a platform to create the video, which will be Prezi. We feel that Prezi does a good job of displaying information. Not only is Prezi good at displaying information, it also allows for a creative ‘swing’ behind the presentation. The visual movement that Prezi allows, makes the video stand out rather than a presentation. It was fairly easy deciding on a platform, as we all agreed that Prezi would get the job done.

Before we started the video, we decided to divide roles. This is something we learned during our project communities course, and we find it very useful. While we were dividing roles, two members of the group said that they agreed that I would narrate the movie. At first, I was a little surprised and did not understand why they chose me. However, after talking to them and the other members in the group, we agreed upon  reasonable conclusions for why I should narrate the movie. After we all decided that I would be the narrator, we divided tasks so that we can develop the movie. We divided the tasks simply by looking at the work that we have done through out the course. It would make sense that myself and someone else would write the narration. Alex, who has experience in movie editing offered to work on the movie making and Kiki who has experience with Prezi said that she would join Alex to make it easier for the both of them. Eline and Camila would work on content that would be displayed in the movie. This includes tables, images and even making sure that our solution is clear for everyone to understand. I was quite happy with the way our group handled dividing roles, as no one complained about not wanting to do a certain task. 

We then worked very hard and consistent, and got a lot of work done. Aline and I were writing the text (narration) which was a lot harder than I first expected. We both knew what we wanted to say, we just did not know how to say it in a formal and understandable manner. This made me extremely confusiastic. Enthusiastic as I am really looking forward to the final movie and of course confused because we did not know how to express our selves formally. We decided to give it our best shot and talk to other group members to make things more clear. During this Aline and I started to work more with Kiki and Alex. This is because we need the narration to be in line with the Prezi, of course. We were walking through slide by slide and giving each other information on what to put and how to put it. Having two extra minds thinking of how to express yourself, made it easier to form our words.

After about four hours of good productive work, our supervisor came to check on us. She gave us feedback on presenting the movie, how to combine the Prezi with the narration as well as general information on how to improve the overall video. We all found this very helpful as we could see our work from a different point of view. Of course our supervisor wants us to achieve the best we can, and therefore her input made our work a lot more clear. 

By the end of the day, we had worked for over five hours (some of us without a break), and were mentally exhausted. We had gotten so much work done that it was hard to think. I couldn’t talk to someone, without having to focus on what I was going to say. This was a new experience for me. 

I enjoy making this video and presenting our progress in a different way, rather than writing an essay/report. I have never had to present my work in a video before, and therefore I am intrigued by this process of creating the video. I enjoy working in our group and find everyone fairly easy to talk to. The process of making the video is not over yet, our group will have a meeting on Friday to finish everything, and probably another meeting to finalise the video and make sure everything is in order.

I think I have learned quite a lot about working together in a group. Things like dividing tasks, setting principles and being patient has helped me through out this process. At first I was very eager to jump into finding a solution, however I have learned that waiting for the right time to find a solution is a better solution. Solution is a key word as this has been our main task through out this project communities process. I look forward to finishing the video as a group, as well as watching what other groups have learned from this course. Writing blogs is also a totally new experience for me, however I have come to enjoy reflecting on every week. 

It has been fun, and thanks! :) 

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

Did we learn something? (design principles)

Did we learn something? Of course we did. Each week during our Project Communities class we learn something new. The themes of the week address what new things we will learn. Last week we learned about crowd funding, the week before we learned about work teams and in the third week we learned about technology stewardship. Each week, we discuss a new/different topic in class, and link this topic to our NGO and of course our challenge. 

If we combine everything that we have learned, and link it to online communities and innovative network designs, we can see why all aspects may be important:

Technology Stewardship is important for an innovation to become a success, as these stewards will have had enough knowledge about the technological needs. This should make the design of the network easier, as there is an steward involved. 

Crowd Sourcing as well will have an impact on network design, as the designer tries to get information from people who may know something about the topic of the network. The designer will try and get as much information as possible to help him/her with their design of the network.

Work Teams, Crowd Funding and Marketing Research also all have an impact on networks and specially online communities. 

Using online communities and networks can affect a designer or design team significantly. For example, communication through these communities or networks may cause some confusing if someone is not able to access the internet. This person can then miss out on something important that was being discussed and therefore will be behind on schedule which could cause problems. Communication in any network is very important, therefore if a team decides to use online networks they must be aware of the things that could affect communication via these platforms. 

My design principles for designing online communities or networks based on my experience during this course are quite simple. Communication is number one. Communication is the most important factor of success in a group I believe. This is because people must be able to share ideas online, make sure everyone is able to see each others work or be alerted if there is a meeting. With communication comes punctuation, however this is a sub category of communication. Another important principle is RESPECT. Respect, just like communication is very important for groups to be successful. Everyone should be open to others opinions, and hear what people have to say. If people respect each other and get along with each other, the working environment and atmosphere will be much better. A better working atmosphere = better production. 

I would like to learn more about marketing. Marketing aspects to a company like what is the best way for advertisement, how is marketing most successful and when is marketing most successful. I will look forward to learning more about this topic during this week as week 7 is all about marketing. We have had some examples about marketing like the purple goldfish to name one. I enjoy learning more about marketing strategies in the future.

Overall I feel like our group is really making progress, we have divided roles for pre-production to our video, as well as roles during making of the video. I look forward to see the end result that we will have developed.

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

Sourcing vs. Funding

Crowd sourcing vs. crowd funding. Obviously many would choose funding. Everyone wants money. However, is crowd funding really a better option? 

Another week has gone by and during this week we discussed and learned about crowd funding. Crowd funding is basically the same thing as crowd sourcing, only this time you are funding. Crowd funding is when a person who has an idea or innovation asks for investment from others in order to fund his/her project. There are many websites online that allow people to create this ‘funding’ system. Websites like kickstarter or 1%club are very well known websites for people to start their projects. 

Source: http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/crowd-funding-19009534.jpg

As we were learning more about crowd funding, during the hangout with Nancy and many other experts, I started to think if crowd funding would be applicable to the NGO that our group is working with, CNCPTMKR. At first I thought that Maarten does not really need any money for his company, he just needs us to help him find an effective way of mobile collaboration with him and his clients, and to help his clients move their project forward with mobile technology only. Although after that, I thought; why only focus on one aspect of his challenge. Why not broaden things up, and bring them all back together. So, I came up with an idea that CNCPTMKR could use with crowd funding.

During my skype interview with Maarten he told me that he gives a lot of seminars and presentations to help his clients. If Maarten’s clients are trying to improve their company, and with the help of Maarten they do that. It means that the companies make more money. However Maarten helps companies improve by giving seminars or presentations with companies. So if we (the people) fund Maarten’s seminars and meetings, it will allow Maarten to give more presentations, then the companies that Maarten helps will learn from his presentations and hopefully make an eventual profit. Although this idea is quite vague, and may not totally work properly. I thought it was a quite interesting thought that was worth noting down. 

Many designers also prefer funding over sourcing. A lot of people prefer working on their own in order to have a clear vision. This can be a positive for the designer as it allows him/her to understand what he/she really wants. It also helps the designer to get more credit on the final product, which could lead to more fame as well as money. However, as mentioned in my previous blog post, more than one person = more ideas. Before you make an invention an innovation and bring the product into the market place, you need criticism and feedback. When gathering information through crowd sourcing this help will always be there which creates more room for improvement. 

I think both crowd sourcing and crowd funding is important. However, it depends on the situation of the designer which is more important. If a person has a lot of money, they can fund their own project, therefore sourcing would be more useful. If a person has no money, but a whole team behind him, crowd funding will be more important. 

There are many pros and cons for both sourcing and funding. You choose which ever is more important. :)

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

A theory behind groups?

Group work… Who knew that there would be so much theory behind the number of people in a group. The different number of people in a group can impact the amount of work done, the efficiency, the overall emotion, communication and many other factors as well of course. Chris Corrigan has a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-yATDNzV_I) that briefly explains his research that justifies the change in group production with different amounts of people in that group. I would have never thought that there is a big difference between working with 5 people or working with 6 people. I was also quite surprised that if one works alone, he/she will be more creative…

I always thought that if you work alone, things are more clear and you keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done. When it comes to being creative, we are usually told that ‘two is better than one’. However, it was interesting to find out that this is not true. Personally I find working alone easier as it is what I am used to, but I have to say; working in my Project Community class hasn’t given me much to complain about (besides people showing up late). [These must be my Dutch roots as in Holland, 12 o’clock means 12 o’clock]. 

Our group I feel, is trying to be very active right after class, or after a skype meeting. Our planning of work for every next week is very effective. We divide the work that needs to be done, and make sure that everyone is clear on what to do. I would say that communication in our group is also fairly successful as we have a group and chat on Facebook, as well as a Basecamp profile for everyone to share important information. Although our communication regarding work and sharing documents is pretty good, I feel that we can use some help in telling each other if we are going to be late to a meeting, or not showing up at all. I feel that communication is very important in any kind of group work, and therefore if someone comes late to meeting, I feel it is out of respect to let everyone else in the group know that you will be late. This was mainly an issue earlier on, however it has improved now. 

Although Chris Corrigan says that 5 people for a group is the best number, our group has 6 people. I feel that at times having 6 people can be a lot when we are all trying to share information or new ideas. Although it can be a lot more confusing with 6 people, I feel that it is also a bonus. One more person to divide work with, another person to fill a role and of course another brain to help with ideas. 

Because we have 6 people in our group, it would be expected that we have many different cultures. However, we only have 3 (and a half). There are two Brazilians, one Romanian, two dutch people and myself. I am born and raised in Holland till I was 11, I moved Dubai for 7 1/2 years, and on top of that I have an Egyptian father. This is why I consider my self as having more than one culture. The communication because of the culture difference however is still very clear. I feel that our culture does not hinder any of us to communicate or express something differently. Culture does play a big role in group work as it relates to morals. 

I feel that in the next coming weeks our group will keep doing what we have done last week. This is because changes in our group happened after we had a Skype call with Maarten and Nancy. Everyone feels more clear on the task and what work to do. We are also communicating better than the first 2 weeks, we know one another better as well which helps to group atmosphere and we just work done more efficiently. 

I am pleased with the way that things are going in the group. I feel we took a big step from week 3 to the end of week 4. I hope that his step will only benefit our group, and make the challenge for Maarten a lot easier to solve!

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

A week of stewardship, a day of interviews.

Spidergrams, Stewardship and interviews.

During the last week the group met on Friday to make a spidergram and discuss the tasks for the week. We felt that the first spidergram we made was not quite on topic and was very broad. We figured that getting a little more specific and keeping the challenge in mind, made it harder to make a spidergram. However, one that is more effective and useful.  

This week (4) the theme is: Crowdsourcing and online social structures. I figured that online social structures is something like a social media platform, however I could not quite figure out what crowdsourcing meant. The dictionary claims that crowdsourcing means: “to obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet”. This to me means getting a group of people, asking them questions through the internet and using their answers for research (through questionnaires or other methods of online investigation). I can understand why this is useful to a designer as well as a entrepreneur or researcher. 

As for online social structures I primarily use the basic social media networks. Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and YouTube. Although there are so many other social media networks out there, I feel that using only a few is much more convenient. I use WhatsApp for communicating with my friends and family, I use Facebook to see what my friends and family are doing as well as staying up to date with the news and school related work. I use YouTube primarily for watching videos of my interests, and giving YouTubers feedback on some of their videos. 

When using Facebook I scroll through my news feed, and then turn close it. I feel that Facebook has lost its main purpose and has gotten side tracked of just sharing (useless) information with many people at once. I can see what my friend post as well what information they share. This information can sometimes be of no meaning to me, and just fills up my newsfeed with garbage. This is why I find that using Facebook in a bounded group can give a purpose to using this social media network. For Example, the Open Innovator group on Facebook for IDE students is very useful to share interesting information or receive updates from teachers. I feel the easiest way of communication is through WhatsApp.

Now getting back to our task. Last week we set up an interview with Maarten van Leeuwen in order to get some answers from him that were itching our brain. Unfortunately the group could not be there, so I was the only one to have a Skype talk with Maarten. I found this meeting very helpful as I got answers that our group wanted to know. Before the meeting started I told the group to give me 2 questions each, so that I will have a few things to talk about with Maarten. The answers that Maarten gave me were linked to our spidergram, so when I shared the information about the meeting with the group, we had a good feeling. Then an interview with Nancy came along.

At this time the group was all together and we Skyped Nancy. Nancy gave us a lot of information of how to move forward and what to get out of Maarten. She told us that getting activities from Maarten will help us a lot in the long run. Summary from Nancy:

Nancy White: mobile phone based - some clients don’t have laptops

Nancy White: Wants to combine everything on one - easier to communicate w/ clients.

Nancy White: Mobile collaboration most important thing

Nancy White: Research mobile collaboration platforms?

Nancy White: A way to combine or create a new one

Nancy White: Define the types of activities he needs to support.

Nancy White: http://technologyforcommunities.com/

Right after that interview, we (group 4) Skyped Maarten. After that interview we really got what we wanted. For me it was a better feeling to have the whole group talk with Maarten, rather than me asking Maarten the questions that the group gave me. It also made the feedback from Maarten more clear to the others. 

We are starting to leave the confused thoughts behind, and are coming more and more towards being enthusiastic.  

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

Another week of being confusiastic…

Since last week was all about learning more about our NGO and assigning team roles as well as principles. We hoped that this week we would get to the action.

The group had a meeting Friday morning to discuss team roles and principles. I found that this meeting went very smooth as everyone in the group seemed happy with their roles, and agreed on the set principles. We all wanted to find out what we will be doing with CNCPTMKR and Maarten van Leeuwen, so we decided to send him an email. The email contained information about the group, letting him know that we would be working with him as well as us explaining that we were confusiastic. 

This week we got given our challenge which is to: Create a blueprint for effective mobile collaboration: How can people effectively communicate and move their project forward using mobile technology only? At first, non of us were quite sure of what this meant. The first thing that came to my mind was to create a mobile app, that would allow potential clients as well as current clients reach and communicate with Maarten’s company. However we all later discovered that we should not jump to conclusions, and first brainstorm. 

We all agreed that brainstorming ideas would help us with this challenge. We then figured that we could ask Maarten what kind of things he would like us to do/solve for him with this challenge kept in mind. We created our brainstorm and attached it in an email to Maarten, asking what kind of things he would like us to do for him. We also asked some other important questions that were itching our brain. 

 As time goes by, we are working towards having a better understanding of what project communities is becoming all about. Although we still are confused, this will eventually become enthusiasm as most of us look forward to actually solving a problem and developing solutions to this problem. 

Our group will have another meeting on Friday to discuss week’s 3 task. 

I am looking forward to a reply from Maarten so that we can really dig deep into Project Communities. 

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

Intro to Project Communities

The first questions that were asked in our first #projcomm14 class were; Why are we here? How are we going to doing do it? and What are we going to do? These questions did not make much sense to us, as we all assumed that the teacher would tell us what we will be doing. The understanding I got of the Project Communities class was ‘how can we make use of online spaces’. Not only as a designer, but as a researcher, a entrepreneur and even as a client.  

During the course introduction video that Nancy posted on the project communities website, “the four design hats” spoke to me right away. The first hat: Idea Networks. The second hat: Work Teams. The third hat: Crowd Funding. Finally, as Nancy put on the fourth hat: Marketing the Product/idea, I realized that during this course, as well as in the future, these hats are a guide of steps to becoming a successful designer or entrepreneur. Something that you should always keep in mind (or on your head). The hats show different stages of what it takes to make an invention, an innovation. 

Although myself, as well as many others were still confused of what we will be doing during the Project Communities course, the questions asked to Nancy via Google Hangouts gave us a clearer idea. We have been given a NGO, and will try to give them advice on a specific challenge that is presented to us. 

CNCPTMKR with Maarten van Leeuwen will be the NGO that our group (group 4) will work with. 

Because many of us were so confusiastic (or which ever word the professors mixed together to combine confused and enthusiastic) I think the course will only be more funtresting (fun + interesting) to really learn what the course is about, how we work with NGO’s and how we share our thoughts on a blog.  

I am looking forward to learning what Project Communities has to offer!

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