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: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

It has already formed.

Two hours ago, I decided to start writing my blog for this week. I spent two hours not writing a single word, just sitting in my chair and thinking of everything about the project from the beginning until now.

It does not mean that I don’t know what to write, on the contrary, I have a lot of thoughts in my head but I need time to arrange all the information in the order that you can understand easily.

Let’s talk about the NGO of my group. Our NGO is CNCPTMKR, an non profit organization supports social entrepreneurs with other strategic and practical advice on online marketing & communication founded by Maarten van Leeuwen . Our group project is helping him by giving advice on creating a network for anyone especially for specialists who are interested in sustainable agriculture and social innovation. At this moment, among the themes I have been looking in to so far I believe that the theme of Marketing/User/Customer support Communities will be the most use towards our group’s goal of solving the unmet need of our NGO. Why can I say that?

First of all, when Maarten wants to build a network for specialists, he has to have wide networks. I see that Maarten has been creating many channels to be able to connect with many people such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc. However, the information I can get from those channels is not so much. He need to think of using these channels in the marketing way so that people can know more about him and his project.

Secondly, Maarten is running the CNCPTMKR by himself. It means that if he creates a new network, he will manage this network by himself too. I have a feeling that he is doing too much and he does not have enough time for those activities. He may need somebody working with him. Marketing will be the best way to let people know more about Maarten and want to work with him.

I personally think that Maarten will play a key role towards success during the process. Although our NGO is the CNCPTMKR but actually it is about Maarten because he is the only person behind the CNCPTMKR, the person who has many ambitions of working on sustainable agriculture and social innovation. Because of that, before creating a network for specialists I think our group has to start from Maarten.

In my opinion, the first advice of mine should be Maarten need to marketing himself. He has been doing it but I think it is not convinced enough. He should present and advertise himself like a brand of CNCPTMKR. There may be many people or organizations pursuing the same ideals as Maarten doing. But the thing that make people want to come to CNCPTMKR or want to join to a network created by Maarten is himself. To do that, he need to take time to add more information in detail about himself and especially the purpose as well as the process of what he is doing in all the communication channels that he is using so that people can easily understand without confusion.

The second advice is Maarten should join to networks that have the similar purposes to the network that he wants to create in the future. He should join as the founder of CNCPTMKR. There are many benefits from being a member of an network. Firstly, he can use crowdsourcing to get more ideas, experience from other people which having same interests with him. Secondly, he can get the attention of a lot of people from around the world of what he is doing so that may be there will be many people want to work with him, want to help him or support for him. Thirdly, by joining networks like that he will learn and have more knowledge also experience about how to create and manage an online network. These knowledge and experience will be very useful for him when he start to create one.

If he has already done everything I have just said I think he can start to create the network. But not as the same way of creating CNCPTMKR. This network is a platform so the success of an online platform depends mostly on its administrator. In my point of view, I think he should put his personality on it. For example, if he has sense of humour, let’s it expressed on every words he uses. He loves food and drinks so I think he can share anything about food and drinks in a particular way in the network. That will make the network different with others because it bears the stamp of Maarten.

I am not sure that our NGO can read my blog or blogs of other members in my group. If he can, I hope he can find something useful. And if he can find something useful, that is the success of our group. Good luck for Maarten and good luck for us :D!

Thank you for reading!

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

I think I’ve known you (online communities, networks) :D

Like I said in my previous posts, before attending in the Project Community course, I did know much about online communities and networks except Facebook, Google+. Now I know some more such as Whatsapp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumbler. During the course, I have realized that if I use online networks in a right way I can gain a lot of benefits from them not only in daily life but also in innovative.

I keep in touch with my family members and my friends that live far away by using Facebook, Whatsapp or Google+ because they are very easy to use. By sharing updates, photos, videos, and messages, I can stay connected with them even if I am living half way around the world far from them. In this course I mainly use these networks to contact with my friends, my tutors and the client for the project.

Twitter is the networks that I can find people that share the best practices and resources in shorts bursts.

LinkedIn can help me to find professionals and experts in their fields.

And if I want to gain information or see many different viewpoints, ideas, opinions from a certain subject that I am interested in I can easily find a platform with that subject in the internet.

I have learned the value of each online networks I mentioned above during the project, they are useful for me in studying. And I’ve learned that when I say I use a network it means that I have to take time to make connection and contribution in that network.

First is about the connection. I before used the network such as Facebook merely for reading, watching and listening. Now I see that is not connecting. I think at least I should click on the like button, reply to a question or leave a comment on a post of somebody to show that I know what is happening with them and I care about them.

Second is about the contribution. If everybody just joined to a network to gain information or experience from other people without any contribution how can we have a huge online source of information like we have today. So I think if I know something that may be useful for other people I should post it online. Its like a circle of giving and receiving. How much I give, that much I receive or more.

Above are what I’ve learned as a user. What if I am a founder. Connecting to my client in the project, he has an intention of building an online network for anybody who are interested in sustainable agriculture and social innovation. I and my group want to help him by giving advice on how to do that. In my own point of view, when I think of designing a online community or network the first principle is I need to know well of my purpose. I build this network as a place for people connecting and sharing interests with each other or I build this to marketing for what I am doing or for something else. Its hard to start without clarify the purpose because this purpose will tell me what I need to do and make the network different with others. Secondly, I want to design my network with applications that easy to use with everybody. The users can join and connect to the network successfully even in the first time. If I have to do a lot of steps or be asked many questions I don’t want to use this network anymore. The third and I think is the most important principle is thinking for the users. Thinking for the users will help me to have ideas that can help people gain benefit when they join to the network. And that may be the reason to keep they stay with the network.

Designing an online community or network is not an easy work to do but for me its not as difficult as keeping the network alive. There are a lot of principles for fostering online networks but I want to say the most important one, in my opinion, that is setting time for networking. It’s very easy to overlook networking or to let other duties and responsibilities take a priority. But in order to build a strong network I’m sure that there is a need to dedicate time for networking and connecting with others. The best way to be sure that networking will not be overshadowed by other tasks is to set aside time in the schedule specifically for networking. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time, but it should be a part of the daily, or at least weekly, schedule.

I think online communities and networks are amazing for anybody who know to use them. I just stay at my home but I can meet anybody all around the world, can learn anything, can help people, can introduce myself,etc. Many online networks I am using now mostly be introduced by other people. People like them and introduce them to others without any thinking like oh I am advertising free for that networks. This is exactly the thing I want to learn more about online network. How to make people volunteer to advertise for a network or my network maybe :D. I think that is kind of marketing strategy but I am not sure about that. What do you think?

Oh, I have said too much. Now its time for my networking :). See you later.

Thank you for reading!

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

Surprised with the support from the crowd.

Hi everyone, it’s me :).

In this blog I want to talk about crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, these are new concepts for me. Whenever I hear the word crowndfunding I immediately think of money, money, money. It is the good way to have an amount of money in a certain time without any special commitment. If I have an idea or I want to produce a product in large number, crowdfunding will be one of the best options that I can choose. However, using crowdfunding easily to make many designers have the inclination to “go it alone” and not seek the input of other designers or end users. Why is that? In my opinion, once the designers have their ideas, their plans and everything which is necessary to make those come to life except the money they will think of monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet. They just need the money to improve, develop and produce their products by themselves. The products can be considered as the designers’ children, no parents want to share their children with other people although the others may take better care of for the children.

It does not happen in crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an community. The most advantage of using crowdsoursing is bringing in mass intelligence to solve all kind of problems with affordable price or without any price. Let’s take Wikipedia as an example. Wikipedia allows a group of people to enter and communally edit bits of text. These bits of text can be viewed and edited by anyone who visits the Wikipedia. That means even I or you can come to the Wikipedia page to read what Wikipedia’s community has written. By clicking an “edit” button on an article, you are able to edit the article’s text. You can add or change anything you like in the article you are reading. Thank for that we have the biggest encyclopedia than ever before which from that we can gain a rich source of information especially the definition of anything exiting in the world. In the design field, it is no doubt that crowdsourcing is the most concerned option when you want to design something that may be simple like a logo for your class uniform or more complicated like a web page for your business but you don’t have much money to hire a professional one, don’t have time to do or don’t have any ideas . By using crowdsourcing a lot of people will work for you at anytime so you can have the best final result without taking so much time or money.

However, any coin has two sides. The disadvantages of crowdsourcing come from its advantages. The contributions of any kind of people may lead to the less credible product. Take Wikipedia as an example again. As any people can edit the text at anytime so I think that the information in Wikipedia may be flawed and its not 100% reliable.

My reflection is crowdsourcing in design should be use in the final stage of a project when designers already have the products and they use crowsourcing to get some feedback on those so that they can have more inspiration to improve and develop their products. It should not be use to generate ideas in design because if a designer has already had his/her own ideas but he/she want to use the crowdsourcing to develop that ideas it will take a lot of time for him/her to select among many different kinds of opinion also bring confusing vision of the ideas. It is an interesting idea if a designer or any person can combine using crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to build and develop a project. It will multiple the benefits because they can both use the power of the crowd in the way of gathering information and money as the same time. The important thing is when use what, I mean if we can use these options in the right way, at the right time, the vision of success is not so hard to see.

This is my blog for this week. Thank you for reading!

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

The three trees and a mountain

There is a Vietnamese proverb:

“ Một cây làm chẳng nên non,

Ba cây chụm lại nên hòn núi cao.”

If a tree stand alone by itself, it’s just a tree. If three trees stand closely, they can together create a mountain. In the figurative sense, it can be understand as ‘three minds are better than one’. I think any countries also have some proverbs like this because no one can lives or works alone by him/herself, we need each other especially in these modern technology days. There is no individual success without the support of other person or a team and vice versa. I think working in group can bring a lot of benefits not only for a group but also for each of members. However, it can’t be denied that benefits come with challenges.

From the beginning of the Industrial Design Engineering program I mostly have been working in groups. For the Project Community, I have been in a group with six members. Six of us came from different countries( Brazil, Germany, Netherlands and Vietnam), we might be different in the way of thinking and working. I preferred a group of three or four members, because at this size its easier to know each other, to discuss and give decision because there are not many opposite opinions between members. But it was still good with six. We knew that was our first challenge so from the first time we discussed clearly about the schedule for group meetings( beside the time face to face in class we have two group meeting a week), assignment for roles( we have leader, manager, secretary), platform and communication tool( we use Whatsapp and Basecamp for communicating between group) , group’s principles( anyone who comes late for the meeting, he/she has to buy coffee for the others). We follow what we all agree about those things and it helps our project progressing steadily. As a member I want to share some thoughts about group work.

During the last four weeks, the first thing working well for me in my group is planing and managing time. The time for Group’s meeting is my top priority, I always plan and manage my time so that its can be ready to use for the group’s activities because I think may be I have not had any ideas about the project but my regular presence will partly prove my responsibility. Second is refining understanding through discussion and explanation. I may have had knowledge or understand about an issue before but through discussion and explanation with other group’s member I can broaden my mind by looking at the issue objectively with different angles.

However, like I said above benefits come with challenges. My challenges now are the communication debating skills. These two skills are closely linked with each other. To be honest, I am not good at expressing my ideas or feelings even in my mother tongue. I am a person of few words, I like doing more than saying. This is partly explain for my lack of debating skill. I know these are my weak points and I want to overcome them. I think I can start by trying to speak out my thoughts. It may be unconnected and inarticulate sentences but I believe I can make it because I have the determination and if my friends can patiently listen to me it will help me a lot.

One more thing is challenging me is the weekend time. For me, weekend is the time not for working but for family. I don’t want to hold the phone in hands all the time or facing with the computer during the weekend days. I want to spend my time doing some simple things with my family to let them know that I care of them and I love them. Because of that I think in the coming weeks I need to set some fixed time during the weekend for group work to show my respect to my group’s members and it may help to speed up process. This is the thing that I will do differently in the next coming weeks.

I have four weeks left working in the group for Project Community, I don’t know the result of the group work is good or not( I hope it will be good) but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all my group’s members : Larissac, Ronja, Sebastian, Peter and Tomas for cooperating with and supporting me so far. You are really nice! This is my sincere words and I hope that in the next left weeks we will have more fun time together :). Good luck to us! 

Thank you for reading :)!

Nguyen.

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

Nguyen’s network

Hi everybody,

Last week I talked about my technology knowledge. Today I would like to share a little bit about my network. Let me begin by telling you a small story.

In the past, when I had questions about some particular issues I usually asked my parents, my teachers, friends or read some books to find out the answers. The answers that I received might be correct, might be totally wrong or even extremely funny. For example, one time I asked my mother where I had been in the my parents’ wedding picture, why I hadn’t seen me in it. My mother said I had not been in there because I had been sleeping in her toe :). Now I see that’s a funny answer but back to that time I believed it because there was no source for me to confirm the information.

It’s different now. With the rapid development of technology, I can find a lot of information/ideas/experience for one issues that I want to know. Just go to the Google website, type the keyword I can find a lot of information from diverse sources. I am using Google almost everyday and I agree that Google is the best online website for searching information. However, what Google provides is just the links to other websites that may or may not have useful information. I have to choose among many results offer by Google that sometime it takes me long time to do that.

Because of that I prefer to join some online forums, platforms or particular websites to find and harvest information. I have an account on Facebook, Google+ and I am a member of some groups on that. For example, when I started my study in Den Hague I joint to ‘Vietnamese student in Den Hague’ Group on Facebook to make friends, ask questions and find some recommendations about studying as well as student life,etc. In my opinion Facebook or Google+ are useful tools for me to interact with other people, keep contact with them but if I need to gain a lot of information I want to participate in wider network such as a platform or website where members share their real experience. I am a member of website called webtretho.com, this website at the beginning was just a forum for the mothers could come to share the experiences about giving birth and raising children. Gradually this forum developed to a website for everybody sharing everything. Members can post, comment on discussions, give advice or collaborate. I often access to this website whenever I need to know the experience of people about something. For example, if I want to know about the ‘cost of living in the Netherlands’, I just need to type this keyword and I can find many from old to updated information from other members. I think that makes me feel comfortable the most because I easy to find what I need quickly without losing time on looking around or creating a new topic that may have had already.

As you can see, I don’t have a wide network and my network mostly with Vietnamese people so I hope that I can find and join some online groups/websites in the Netherlands to know more about the people as well as life in here.

Thank you for reading :).

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

My technology knowledge

My technology knowledge:

nguyentxho:

When I was 18 year old, I left my family, moved to another city and started my independent life. At that time I always felt homesick so that I used YahooMessenger or Skype to video-call with my family all the time. I thought how magic and wonderful that people could talk and see each other at the…

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014

My technology knowledge

When I was 18 year old, I left my family, moved to another city and started my independent life. At that time I always felt homesick so that I used YahooMessenger or Skype to video-call with my family all the time. I thought how magic and wonderful that people could talk and see each other at the same time. It was as a present for me and I thanked the inventors of those tool with all my heart. 

Until now, I till use Skype ( YahooMessenger was gone) beside other useful tools such as Face time, Google+Hangouts( they are what I know :)) to connect with other people. I think with many kind of tools like this we will have advantages in working as well as studying. For example, last Friday our group had a chance to talk with Nancy about our challenge: build a platform or use the already have to collaborate well with all kind of specialists around the world. We called her by Skype at the first time but it did not work well so we changed to Google+Hangout and it worked better. Thank for that we could discuss with Nancy and received some good advice from her. In addition, we were lucky to be able to meet Maarteen through GoToMeeting( that was the first time I heard about this name) and we also had a good conversation. And I thought Whoa! is was great to be use something new. Before that, I posed a question for myself: there are many tools, what makes me decide which one to use beside the one I am familiar with? Now I think the answer is the convenience. We use which can bring the best efficiency.

For the group’s choice, it is applied the same. At first we contacted with each other by email, after that we had a Facebook page. However, some of us did like to use Facebook to because it was quite difficult to find and read the old posts. So at this time we all agree to use the Base camp from the introduction of our tutor Janneke. Base camp has proved it is a good project management tool because we can set the meeting, split tasks, post information, meeting notes,etc. On Base camp we can create To-do Lists and to add specific item and assign for everyone. I think its useful because I can check what I have to do and what is the deadline for me. It makes me more responsible for myself and for the whole group. I and my group were also introduced about MeetingWords.com at class yesterday. New things always bring the feeling of enjoyable so we will try it definitely. 

I know that I am not a technology steward for sure but I am on my education, I learn a lot from my group’ members. They are so active and help me a lot in using online tool. Thank you all of you. What I learn or know I am willing to share with anybody and I think this is the most interesting part of this project.

Thank you for reading!

Posted in Community, Group 5, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Nguyen Ho's ProjectCommunity2014