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 4
Once this group convenes and develops its project focus and team name, this will tell you more about this group.

Week 7

During the past 7 weeks of Project Communities I learned a lot about online communities. We had different themes throughout this course: technology, teamwork, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and marketing. All these themes were very interesting, but some were more relevant for our challenge’s solution. I think it’s great to see how much I’ve learned and every week I wonder: “What’s going to be the next theme? What more can I learn?”

Technology is all around us. Every day, all day long we use it, there’s no escape! It is amazing how much easier our life is now because of it. We are always connected to new information, to people all around the world and that makes knowledge flows so much faster! Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are great examples of how technology connects and make things easier. It’s amazing to think that people can help support your project with ideas, insights and even money.

I’ve always used online communities and networks for my personal life, like talking to my family and friends, reading articles, watching videos, etc. But now with this project I use it a lot for research, communicating with my team members, sharing ideas and I feel much more connected to it. I can’t go through a whole day without checking my group page and my e-mail, there is always something to do.

What I’ve learned in this course is listening and sharing. When you work as group is very important to be open to other people’s opinion and also to collaborate. So I think the most important principle is respect. I don’t need to agree with everything that everybody says, but I need to listen to it, reflect about it and respect. I’ve learned a lot from my group and it’s amazing how our teamwork is getting better week after week.

One theme I think I would like to learn more about is Marketing. Creating, delivering and communicating value to customers is very important for a designer. If I expand my knowledge in marketing it would help me a lot with my future projects and delivering a more suited service for my clients. I intend to read more about this theme, and hopefully have opportunities to practice it in this course so I can improve myself.

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Camila de Carvalho Mello

Finish Line

Finally, week 8! Now, everybody is stressed and busy with finishing all the assignements, portofolios and movies. The word of the week is panic. My team is doing it’s best to have a professional presentation. The time pressure actually managed to put our brains in function together, like never before! We split in 3 groups of 2 people. We found this structure works best for us. First group was working on the storyboard, the second on narration and the third group was editting the video presentation.


I am part of the third group and Kiki is my colleague. Our job is to basically edit and put everything together. For the first part, we are going to use Prezi. It’s simple, fun, very effective and it’s for free. We chose Prezi because it offers dynamism when changing from frame to frame and also because we can easily work with pop-ups, key words and visuals while Kareem narrates. Oh yeah! I almost forgot; we decided that Kareem has the best voice for narrating. He has a pleasent, relaxing voice tone which fits perfectly in this kind of video. The second part will consist in screen capturing the Prezi animation and work it through iMovie. The background music will be some instrumental jazz or funk. The final adjustments like brightness, volume of the voice-over and some video effects will make everything to look nice and catchy.
One thing I noticed is that by dividing the tasks into small teams, we lost the sense of unity and complementary. Sometimes things wouldn’t correspond, like Kareem’s speech with the storyboard and frames of the video. We should somehow work together, but separately, in the same time. The movie process takes time. We have to go back through the whole research and highlight only the most important points. The order of the information is also of great importance for having a coherent and flowing presentation.


This is our final assignement and we will work hard to be proud of the good job we’ve made. I just can’t wait for feedback from our teachers and also from Maarten.

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Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Dan Alexandru Blog

Almost there!

Last post for Project Communities! It’s been 2 months now and a lot happened.

This course was a whole new experience for me for many reasons. This is my first time studying and living away from home so it was kind of exciting and scary, a lot of new people and different cultures together! The way things work at the university are also very different from what I’m used to, but a new point of view is always good. The blogging for instance, I still think it’s very hard to write weekly reflections but I can see my improvement and this makes me very happy. I also have enjoyed a lot working with my team and can’t wait to see our final video.

Oh yes, the video… so much to do!

We decided the platform we’ll use: Prezi. I’ve seen this platform before and I think it’s very cool, but unfortunately I don’t have any experience using it. The group decided Kiki and Alex will be in charge of the video editing using Prezi, Kareem and Aline are writing the narrations for the video, me and Eline are writing the content of the video. I’m enjoying this experience and I think the group is closer than ever. We worked really hard on wednesday and I look forward working tomorrow. Making the video is harder then doing a report, but I guess that’s the point. Pushing ourselves to doing different things, learning with different approaches and being innovative!

Coming up with a solution for our challenge wasn’t easy either. We couldn’t do a lot of skype meetings with Maarten, sometimes his answers were very vague and we don’t know much about his clients. So basically, we created possible clients and worked with different solutions for each one of them. I really wanna thank Janneke and Nancy for all the insights, because sometimes we were kind of lost and you helped us a lot!

We are doing our best and I have great expectations for our final video. I hope that our advice is relevant for CNCPTMKR and Maarten, can’t wait to see everyone’s presentation!

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Camila de Carvalho Mello

Summary

In 7 weeks I learnt more than I could imagine. Actually, I can’t believe this! It’s not only about Project Communities, but all of the courses, the entire IDE programme. My bag of knowledge is getting rapidly filled up with loads of information. Everyday I gain more and more experience. I can see that thigs are building up, step by step, day by day.

It has been a hard week. We are getting close to deadline and our final assignement, the video presentation of the advice for our partener, Maarten van Leeuwen and his NGO, CNCPTMNKR. During the whole course I learnt how to make use of the online space in my favour and how to work in a team, efficiantly. Now, I have some basic notions about marketing, how to organize working groups, how to use crowdfunding to help develop my ideas or why is important to follow a theory of change when starting a project. This is all about making the right connections between people, ideas and money. One thing I find really useful about networks is that today we are no more limited by distance. Once you go online, you are connected with everyone. Also you can make use of all the awesome tools, computers and other devices can provide you with.

Nowadays, Internet holds a significant role in our lifes, especially in the working enviroment. Can you imagine a company doing business without having a website, eployees without e-mail or mobile phone? This can only go in one direction: BANKRUPTCY. It may be sad but true. We rely on digital technology. This is the future. Online networks and communities just make things easier for everybody. They are the answer for many “unmet needs”. A good example can be the crowdsourcing. the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

For the next weeks, I would like to assist to a conference with a successful businessman/woman and ask him/her how they made use of all these tools(theory of change, communication platforms, crowdfunding, open space innovations) in a well-knowed company.

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Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Dan Alexandru Blog

The finale

The end is coming very close and we are working hard on our presentation, which is exciting. We all really took a week off so yesterday we had to dust ourselves off, pick up where we left off and work on it! And I must admit that I very much enjoyed working with the team, so thanks team 4! I probably liked it better because we were more productive than ever before and we really got some work done. So I discovered that time pressure can be a driving factor, pushing us in the right direction.

As we didn’t have a clear plan yet, we started thinking about the storyline of our video. What is important? What is less important but needs to be mentioned? What order to we put things in and how are we going to work on this; together or separately?

We decided to split up the groups and me and Alex where in charge of starting up the Prezi presentation.

We didn’t really have a discussion about the tools that we thought would be best to use, as Prezi is a great tool for making our ideas and vision clear, and I knew a little bit how it works from last year (I did discover a whole lot of new effects and smart ways to get more out of working with this tool so I’m happy about that!).

In the end we will probably combine prezi with imovie, add voice narrations and some soft background music.

We started thinking about how we could make this movie interesting and fun to watch. We want to keep everyone’s attention, and bring across our vision of helping CNCPTMKR with providing its clients with a better and more productive way of mobile collaboration.

 So we divided our team in 3 couples of 2 working on the narratives, the final advice and the prezi, but we were still able to collaborate at the same time. At one point we started the narratives and the prezi, which gave us a lot of insights on how to improve our work. This showed us that a regular check up works very well. A short break in between also helped us to get a fresh sight on everything. It has been a tiring yesterday, I think we are at about half way through with our video. But then again, we shouldn’t underestimate the amount of work there is left in the final touches (knowing from experience…).

source: group 4 :)

In this past 8 weeks I’ve learned some important things about working in groups and my own position in this. I’ve learned that planning is crucial for our group. If we don’t have a clear plan, no work will be done. Clarity is needed to make any kind of progress. As for myself I’ve learned that I work more productively if I can work towards a clear goal. Knowing what we are trying to achieve helps me. At the beginning of project communities it wasn’t very clear on what Maarten wants from us (we still don’t exactly know but we found a way to deal with the unknown) but in this last weeks I’ve experienced how quickly a project can move towards an end. 

I truly hope Maarten and his CNCPTMKR can use our advice and that we somehow made a difference. I have learned from it, and above all, enjoyed working on this project. 

Thanks for reading my blog! 

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

Last week routine: making video & drinking coffee

Hi guys!

Last week for Project Community, which means last post here. After a 7 days break, we are getting back to work on our challenge… and this time we have a lot to do!!

Yesterday I felt so proud about our group! We spent the whole day together making the video for the final presentation and I saw that everyone was really involved in the process. We decided to split the group into pairs so we could work in a faster and more efficient way. I worked with Kareem on the narratives for the video, Camila and Eline were responsible for some of the contents and Kiki and Alex were making the video itself.

We are using Prezi (http://prezi.com) to make our presentation because we have all agreed that it suits our purpose better than other alternatives. I personally don’t have any experience in making videos, not even on Prezi, but it’s good to know that some of the group members have, so we can count on them for this task. But even though I have some experience with narratives, during the process it became so difficult to come up with the text and express ourselves in the right way! Kareem and I worked hard trying to find the right terms to communicate better in the video, because it’s really important to get the message clearly. But there were some times that we got stuck with the idea in mind without being able to translate it into words.

So it’s time to have a break…

It took hours and we were all very tired at the end, but when I got home I felt pleased with our improvement! We still have things to do, so that’s why we’re having another meeting tomorrow, but I think it’s going to be really rewarding again. If we just keep up the work like yesterday, we’ll be able to finish everything and have good results.

Source: http://ridiculouslyefficient.com/the-bond-between-work-and-coffee-infographic/

So far, everything is a little bit new for me on this course: blogging and making videos are really different from the way I used to work. It’s difficult to adapt but, at the same time, it’s interesting to experience new ways of learning. The blog, for instance, helps you to practice the way you express your ideas and also allows you to get feedback on it. Making videos, in turn, is an extra feature that you learn and that can always be useful for future projects and assignments. Even though both of them are really useful, I have to confess that I’m still a ‘traditional report’ kind of person. I rather write the development and conclusions without taking it too personally, like the blog does. I feel much more comfortable working this way, maybe because - as I said before - I’m used to work like this and it always worked out pretty well.

Anyway, I see a good development of my blog and also a big improvement on our team work! This whole experience has been really rewarding and I know we can deliver some good insights with our video!

Thank you for reading :)

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

Visualize your research

This is not the first time I had to make a video for a grade, but I’m still not used to it. I rather write a 50 pages report than present my results in a presentation. I find it very hard to tell someone something that I’ve been working on for months in just a few words. There is so much to tell! The hardest part about making a short movie is to be convincing. No matter how much result you have or no matter how much proof you have, if you don’t sound convincing they won’t take your idea. That is the hard world of art and innovative industries. Some people have the gift to make something small so interesting. I’ve always looked up to people like that. I’m not a great talker, but I’m trying to improve.

During the last few week we were struggling, because we didn’t get enough information from our NGO. Cnptmkr was too busy to spend time with us. It seemed really unfair. The teams with the tiny houses had such great results when I asked them, but we were stuck with our own challenge. We had to come up with an solution which could be applied to diverse clients, because our NGO didnt explain what kind of clients he had. There were many solutions, so it wasn’t easy to put it in a small movie of 5 minutes.

It was hard to make a professional looking video. I never thought of using a PowerPoint presentation or prezi in for these kind of purposes. It really looks professional and the text and images makes the problem and solution much clearer, rather then just talk. It also makes you think how to visualise the problem. It isn’t only clearer for your client. It is also so much clearer for yourself if you try to visualise your problems. That is why I always try to draw my thoughts on paper if I got to make a plan for something.

The fulfillment of finishing your project is really great. We have results I’m happy with and I really hope our NGO is also satisfied with our solution. It was a great experience to see how a project would look like in the future as a designer, although we were missing a lot of communication with our client.

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: - Eline -

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

Dream on (line)!

Week 07: marketing 

Throughout the past 7 weeks that we have been studying this course we have explored many different themes. These include Technology stewardship, Crowdsourcing and online social structures, Work teams, Crowdfunding networks and this week Marketing. All of these different themes throughout the weeks have all be useful in different ways towards supporting our NGO. However there have been certain themes that have been more useful than others to reaching our goal.

So, what have I learned about these themes?

Nowadays almost everyone has a Smartphone, and everyone is always reachable. You might think we are dependent on our online world, updating your status, liking, tweeting, snapping and so on. I knew facebook and other social media for fun and connections, but for businesses and also for NGO’s, it’s much more important than that.

I’ve learned that some company’s and businesses are really dependent on online social structures, and online social networks can help them with more than just acknowledgement that they exist.

 This is where we started learning about crowdsourcing. When I first heard of this word, I thought of Facebook, how sometimes you see someone starting a Poll and anyone can share their opinion by choosing between a few given options.

This is a crowdsourcing on a low-scale. I found out that this way of gaining knowledge could be something very valuable for designers as well. Especially if you’re designing for the people, why not ask them what they want!?

Yes, It’s that simple, but amazingly effective.

Crowdfunding is a possible way to fund a campaign, project or product of which the ideas are all developed but the money is still missing. Through online structures it is possible to enable its production and anyone can donate money. Sometimes you get the product or some sort of return for your gift.

While doing research about the possible platforms we will advice Maarten to work with, I found out that there are so many ways of communicating these days. Thousands of platforms, all a little bit different from the rest. I’ve learned about this communication platform called Tibbr, which is an amazing enterprise social network and media platform for companies and groups of people working together. It’s linked to facebook, twitter and some other social media which makes it easy to connect not only professionally but also socially. 

image

source: http://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/1b4a1f3dccee2022f748d44222e89e62.jpg

Tools like these make the Internet a working environment, where everyone is connected. Producers and consumers, experts, designers, they can come together and make amazing things happen. Everyone is suddenly reachable, no matter who you are or where you’re at, you’re easy to find and it’s also easy to contribute. So I’ve learned that online communities and networks are very valuable for innovative design and designers because they have to design or make something that doesn’t exists yet! It’s a tool to get more ideas, knowledge and feedback from anonymous or known people from all over the world. More and more people start working in online communities for a good reason, as it’s also (mostly) for free.

As for myself as a designer, I would like to learn how to broaden my own network and how to apply everything I’ve learned in project communities so far to my own life. I often don’t know how to express myself, so blogging is something I’m not comfortable doing. The only way to get there is by practice. Besides that, I would like to learn how to find my way around in this gigantic online space. I’m quite chaotic, and if I even think of all the websites and the endless amount of interesting information, my head starts spinning. I have to start somewhere though. I would love to improve my skills with online communities, and the only way to do this is to continue working with online platforms in groups I guess. There is so much more to this online space than I know of, and after I find my way around, I would also like to contribute in some way or another, maybe starting a blog or posting more of my own work.

I think the only way to achieve this goal is to start explore. Read a lot, and then just read some more. And then work it! 

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

Why communicate as a designer

Now that I am working with a real NGO and a team makes me notice how important communication is. Our NGO and Nancy give us the needed information what we need to have in order to fill in the questions that we have in order to make the product that our NGO needs. If we didnt communicate at all we might have found a solution, but it would NOT have all the options or be vaible for the client. The product has to be the product our customer could use, not us. Of course we learn from the product and make use of it ourselves. BUT the highest priority is that it will suit your client.

Now that Maarten can’t be reached, because he is busy. That makes us stuck with the problem: “Does he needs this in his product or that.” We have to think about what kind of customer he has and what kind of communication he has with them. We have to find solutions for different scenarios, which isn’t that easy.

Not only the product we making had influence on how I thought about social network. The teamwork did also a lot to me. I used to do projects at someones house and used email if we needed to share something. Since I started here in The Hague I used so many more programs to share information. Like I used to use facebook and skype just for sharing things with friends. Suddenly I see so many more options. My team comes up with ideas I wouldnt have thought of and reversed. Of course listening to others isn’t always easy when you have your own solution, but in this team we didn’t really have a problem with that. I think communication makes a small idea into a BIG plan. 

I can’t say I’m a big expert on social networks, but I learned a lot during this course. I see now how important it is to use networks as a designer. How you have to be active, promote yourself and share your progress to your client. He will see what he is missing and maybe more possibilities to improve himself and the product. 

The thing I still want to learn about communicating is that I want to be able to present myself to clients. I want to help people with my products later on, so I want to be able to communicate with them and understand them in order to do so. I want to learn how to get the most out myself and the clients to get the best results. It’s still a bit hard for me, but I’m learning! I hope in these years I will learn it bit by bit. 

I am a perfectionist and I’m proud of it! 

http://www.kristianstill.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/peanuts-cartoon-about-listening.gif

Posted in Community, Group 4, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: - Eline -