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.

Posts From Group 1
Once this group convenes and develops its project focus and team name, this will tell you more about this group.

Over my shoulder

The past couple of weeks it has been crunch time. Hectic and sleepless days. But we have reached the end with loads of knowledge and ideas in our proverbial suitcases! To run things down I’ll look at the areas that are of the most use to our NGO, the Tiny Houses.

For any corporation or organization there is a need for structure to reach targets. An organization such as Tiny Houses wants to create a community in the flesh. To reach that goal there are several obstacles. The organization has a current group of core members. This means that there is a need for work teams to tackle the obstacles.

having a work team will be crucial as different people with different skill sets are brought together and utilized to fulfill their roles which allows the organization to grow effectively and efficiently. The role of the technology steward and its value has been extensively discussed. It is a role that requires many qualities, such as passion to have consistency in the output, and awareness to be in the know of the latest developments in online communities/platforms, and of course also having the knowledge and skill to realize the needs of the organization when it comes to online presence. If the work teams are constructed wisely it can harvest results which would have otherwise been inconsistent and/or lacking in quality.

Having work teams adds organization and structure seeing as the tasks and goals are grouped and divided for the teams in the first place. it gives a direction to the members and shares the workload. This can translate into the results showing positivity and a clear push forward in terms of progress. The groups must be managed attentively to assure results and activity on all fronts. The right people must be put together with qualities that complement each other in order to insure optimum results. Otherwise progress can stall and things will go slower than if it was done individually. The sizes of the groups must also be managed with consideration.

Working in teams is beneficial to the quality of work when the members are critical toward not only their own work but also that of their fellow team members. the members can act as a sounding-board to each other as well, allowing the others to bring out their thoughts (or even encourage them) and developing them together at the same time. having to work in a good team also forces the members to work at a good pace. I have experienced that when I am working alone the amount of work done over time is very inconsistent. But by working in a group and regularly meeting the work will be done more efficiently while also having a high quality.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Untitled

Marketing and the internet era

It’s fair to say that I was more than a little confused about the marketing models. I always thought, and still do to some extent, that all the business and marketing equations have mostly been developed through common sense. That gave me the impression that it therefore must also be easy to grasp and put into practice. That is how it looked like from the outside. After this week I know that that is simply not the case generally. Marketing ‘strategies’ is the more apt term that to me also implies that analysis and evaluation is involved.
Having said that, it is obvious that I am not very knowledgeable about marketing. I do understand that marketing is not only advertising but consists of research to for example find environments where the product can be placed for exposure. After looking at the Coca Cola, purple goldfish and value proposition models I came away with ideas based on them associated to our NGO. The Coca Cola model wherein the brand is presented in the local fashion does not apply to our model as Tiny Houses aren’t a global brand. However, the other two models fit well. The purple goldfish strategy focuses on the brand presenting their service in a way that shows how it is unique and different. We can take the downsides of other forms of housing where the tiny houses actually have their strong points. So how would the tiny house community be different to a standard living area. In a somewhat similar way, value proposition can be used to highlight the benefits of tiny houses.

During this course we have looked at implementing online communities, platforms to organizations. And we can also look at the marketing from this angle. One of the advantages we have in the internet age is that we can release content and promote by ourselves and still reach a large number people. However, simply reaching them is not enough as after reaching the target group their attention needs to be gained for them to actually see what your service is about. They need to be convinced that they need the product or in this case the community. Further on, online tools must be effectively used, such as ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’. This lets the audience that is interested present it to their own social circle. Seeing as people in social circles tend to have similar interests then this can increase the likelihood of the organization to receive their next ‘like.’ All possibilities for gaining exposure must be exploited. Another factor that must always be considered when promoting is consistency. The page should not be active for a month by posting content, information about the developments and progress of the organization, while disappearing for an extended period of time.
The online tools and platforms need to be effectively used and content must be consistently produced for the audience to maintain relevancy. A Facebook group that lets enthusiasts present their projects or the houses they own. It is also a way to measure interest and size of audience. Crowdsourcing-funding let people get involved and feel connected to the community and the ongoing project of growing the community while providing ideas/knowledge and funds for the community.
Regular blogs can be posted about the progress of the community and general news and also other developments that could be of interest to the community.
With all that, it starts to become obvious that it is no small piece of work to take care of promoting and content distribution online. Therefore a technology steward is of considerable importance.

It has been very useful and informative for me look at this area of online promotion and presence. I will be using all this information and string of thoughts to apply to my own projects. There is definitely passion and motivation needed to consistently be active to help grow a brand or organization.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Untitled

Thanks Everyone

It has come to the point where we really finished our video. But looking back it feels like a lot more than just providing our NGO a short film.

It’s our way to actualy do what we can do in order to help people on the other side of the world that have their dream of a nice and working community. Even though the time passed by so fast I think we managed to offer them a great video (Thanks to you Giulio for the editing!!) and therefore a chance to spread a visualisation of their dreams.

Although I also have to say that our aims were not clear during the whole project. Sometimes (for me) it felt like we’re not moving forward even though the motivation was there. But as time, researching and checking out all different kinds of methods to help Shorty (like crowdfunding, -sourcing and networks) passed by, we knew how to deliver them an awesome, eye-opening product, our Video.

I am just curious about the other presentations and especially about the second tiny house groups. I really enjoyed our team and the whole project itself.

Let’s hope we changed something, 

Cheers

Alex

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: ProjComm2014 G1 Alex

Last post

After 8 weeks of hard work, this course is now coming to an end. During the last week of class we concentrated on our final project, which is the video we had to make. 

First, we showed the teachers our first draft of the video to get an idea of how far we were in the process, and what we had to change or what we could leave like it was. We ended up getting pretty good feedback, which required us to work more on the lay out and the form of the video (effects, colors) than on the content itself, giving us more time to work on the last details. 

To make the whole process easier and faster, we did like always and split the group in three small groups with three different tasks. While Guilio and Raissa were the video making team and focused on putting the video together, David, Leticia and Ali worked on the script of the video and Alex and me (as the graphic design team) perfected our groups storyboard.

to conclude I will say that I enjoyed project community not only as a class but also as an experience of working with an NGO and a team of students. I am glad our group got along so well, it allowed us to focus on work while still making it enjoyable.

A big thank you to all members of Most Wanted!! :)

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Projcomm group1

Chosen funding strategies

At the very beginning of our contact with the NGO we found out they had many unmet needs. The first one about zoning laws (concerning the minimun size a house should have); the second was about funding; and the third, about a certification program for tiny houses.

We chose to work with the second one, that was described by the NGO as follows:

"Funding: As a group, we need to be able to develop a company to invest in and manage a tiny house community. Purchasing an existing space zoned for small houses seems to be the way to go, but we have not been able to get it off the ground because there is not a central management entity.”

Therefore, the different kinds of funding was the topic we learned about that most fitted the needs of the NGO. Studying the case, we chose to suggest three funding methods to the tiny housers:

1 - Crowdfunding;

2 - Sponsorship;

3 - Rent of tiny houses for living and as offices.

Working with 3 different types of funding was our strategy to diversify the NGO’s sources of income so they are well covered in this area.

The first reason I find the funding subject interesting to learn is because we were able to get to know many different types of funding and, from there, choose which ones could be successful for the NGO.

The second one is that it is impossible to any NGO to survive without some kind of funding, specially in the case of the tiny housers, that had the wish to build a physical comunity. It was a must for our group to research and inform ourselves better on funding to provide them with good solutions for their challenge.

Finally, I have to say it makes me happy to know that with the knowledge acquired by the NGO in this whole process, they will be able to, after purchasing the space to create the community, maintain it and conquer more in the future, as other desires will appear when the actual community starts running.

P.S.: Thank you to my partners from “Most Wanted” group. It was an enjoyment to work with you guys. Very proud with the final result!

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Leticia Fernandez - Project Communities 2014

Build your Toolbox

The start of any journey can be exciting but needs proper planning. I think that any new start up or venture by an NGO or designer needs careful consideration. Tiny Houses would like to build a physical community. There are lots of issues that they need to address.

The first reason for creating a work team is structure. Creating a core work team that you can trust will set a good foundation for a successful journey. Finding link minded people with different skill sets will be useful in building up your tool kit.  A group leader is needed, often the founder. Someone who is passionate about the project and makes the time to put it at the forefront of things. Creating a team will give direction and a shared workload. The size of the group needs to be considered. As I’ve mentioned before, group size determines limits for intimacy. Too big and the team may lose efficiency. Get it right, and you may see results quicker than you thought you would.

The second reason is utilizing tools. Work can be shared and completed far more effectively with a varied group of skilled people. Achieving the right blend of people will boost your chances of success. One important tool that is needed is a technology steward. For Tiny houses who struggle with awareness, possible misconceptions and funding, a technology steward is key. Somebody who understands Tiny Houses can pair the right online platforms to address their goals and issues and build their online community. This is someone who definitely needs to be in the toolbox. 

The third reason is professionalism. We can be our own worst enemy at times. We can have a brilliant new idea we want to try, but can often fail to be strict with ourselves and may take our foot off the gas. A group brings with it a positive pressure. You try harder because you have teammates you don’t want to let down. Regular meetings are arranged and progress is measured. A satisfaction comes with it, knowing that you are collectively working towards your goal in a structured manner. 

Writing up a game plan, as we have done for Tiny Houses will give structure, goals and direction. Finding the right tools for the job can help create a bright future for Tiny Houses.

image

Image: www.clipartbest.com

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Open Innovator

Week seven

Sry for beeing late but i was just hapy with my upgraded blogs from week 5 and 6. So I had the feeling of kinda having completed it for a while. Nevertheless I hope I can still add my blog for week 7.

We talked about marketing approaches, user feedbacks and measurement.

The final video will hopefully be a big part of our marketing. Because this is what the tiny house community could show to potential “newbies” and convince them of the advantages of the tiny house way of life.

Of course you have to enlarge the online communities coeval to create a bigger base and so on more public awareness. What I mean is that the video is kind of useless if you can only show it to 3 people.

My idea for exploiting the users opinion is to make a blog like this where evreybody can give his feedback and share his ideas. In order to keep the people interested you have to blog frequently and respond to the posts, of course.

The measurement is more than just boring numburs. It’s actually very important to a community like they are. By the time they have their own website, they could for example measure how the hits increased after publishing our video. There are easy tools which count the IP-Addresses.

Since we started this project I realized that online communities, no matter which, can be a blessing and a course.

In bigger groups of people, it’s most of the time just genious how easy it is to communicate to each other and spread ideas. But for the individual person it can easily become a curse by making you the opposite of a social person and only living in the cyberworld instead of taking place in actual life.

Cheers,

Alex B.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: ProjComm2014 G1 Alex

“Nocturnal”

I write this post after a night working on a video on After Effects even if I will publish it tomorrow morning, if I will wake up. If I don’t, tell my boyfriend I loved him and that I’m dead fighting for what I believed: that After Effects is a total, crazy SHIT!

Now, after this emblematic intro, let’s start with the real post.

"Nocturnal" is the very last post of this course. The title is inspired by the book of the Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio "Notturno" (eng trans: Nocturnal) that he wrote while he was temporarily blind. Well I am writing this while I am temporarily (I hope) in a catatonic state, almost dead because of the video finished (not totally) at 3 am. This is my "nocturnal".

TOOLS

Our tools for video making are Illustrator (for single pieces) and After Effects (to make them move, etc..). At the beginning everything seemed ok, normal, After Effects looked a normal software able to do everything. What I didn’t know was the timing…

With an average of 4-5 hours of work per minute it is probably the slowest tool you could ever use for video-making, even stop-motion is probably faster! Moreover even if it seems very user-friendly you can experiment terribly different results, you don’t know why, but After Effects does.

I forgot to mention other important tools: coffees and cigarettes. With an average of 7-8 coffes per day and 7-8 cigarettes I managed to finish this video without collapsing on the computer (and maybe I would fix it because it is slowly dying too).

RESULTS

Now I have a video, that is not finished yet, that I hate even if it is not that bad. We still have to put the final part with group picture and credits. Nothing special or difficult anyway. On the other hand I am completely not living without coffees or cigarettes (I know it is called addiction but it is such a bad word) and now I finished both so be careful tomorrow (today?) morning! In my apartment I had a reenactment of the Korean war with packages of American cookies, speculaas, chocolate everywhere. A chair is now in front of the sofa and I don’t remember why. Tomorrow I will take some picture.

REFLECTION

I want to use After Effects once more for Personal Branding because I don’t have time to learn another software but it will be the LAST TIME. I discovered that with Prezi it is way easier and faster! Moreover the result is definitively better. There is plenty of softwares that are actually better than After Effects, maybe somehow it is better if you really know how to use it but I don’t, I have just learned since 2 weeks what do we want to expect? 

Anyway, now I calm down and I go to sleep. I have to say that I am a bit happy. I managed to learn a new software, and I used it even if it was terrible and I produced something in two weeks. Maybe the result won’t be so perfect like if I would have used prezi or a camera or stop-motion, etc… but it is a result with a lot of effort behind so, I think it is worth something, even if only personal. 

Now I will go to sleep, I finish this project even if not in a perfect status, I am worried and a bit tired but I am also motivated to go to the end of it. I will do it.

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain

Online Innovation

In the past few years the role of online communities has completely changed. Not only its implication in our daily life has considerably increased, it also became one the best type of platform to promote anything from a cause to a new product. 

Indeed, social networks allow anyone a fairly easy access to interaction with basically the rest of the world. That only makes online communities a nearly perfect platform for innovative design because they allow designers to put there product out there, for the world to see. For instance, nowadays Facebook and Twitter are a better option than creating a website for starter designers. Furthermore, online communities offer more than visibility and promotion to innovative design, they can also be the source of funding for ones project, as we saw last week with crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. “KIva Zip” and “Kickstarter” are two great examples for the concept of crowdfunding, they both allow people to create funding for the entrepreneurs they support. 

Lastly, let’s not forget that the whole project we are all working on for weeks already is based on online communities. Indeed, Facebook, Skype, or even Google hangouts, allow us to keep in contact with our NGOs (which are based all the way in the United states for some of us) and share ideas and solutions with them.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Projcomm group1

Crowdsourcing and Online Social Structures

According to what our NGO needs I believe that what was approached on Theme 1 - Crowdsourcing and Online Social Structures is a way to solve the unmet need of the Tiny Houses Enthusiasts. That’s basically part of what my group is purposing on the final solution.

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. So by using the right online social structures, crowdsourcing can be really efficient in order that technology has fundamentally changed what means connections. And it goes that people working together with same cause and interests can reach followers to raise the project. Because you are able to talk to people from different zones and you can have access to this huge world of diversity. Which means our group focused on tasks working to learn the community needs and trying to be practical using the networks that is the door to make the world know about their purposes.

So I think a simpler and also effective solution for our NGO would be using the online social structures (because there’s a world of these networks in the web) to help to build the people community, make people aware and fundraising. Because of the network environment enable people to:

  • Express their identity by posting things about their community
  • Participate of networks communities in all over the world and get to know people
  • Discover and appropriate useful technologies that can connect them to other communities

Networks are for everyone and are really easy to learn to use and manage. But it requires dedication.

Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Project Community