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 7
Once this group convenes and develops its project focus and team name, this will tell you more about this group.

I don’t care what you say, only what you write.

Another delayed blog entry, still can’t  figure out why it’s so hard for me to write these entries. Anyway, missed my class last Wednesday, because I didn’t feel that well, bad for me since I had to research everything on my own, but that didn’t stop me. Delayed me, but didn’t stop which is the main thing. So what did I researched?  The answer is online marketing that could be put for some use. After reading some articles and watching some videos on related and totally unrelated topics. I’m ready to not write about online marketing.

                What have I learned from my marketing research about online communities and networks? Nothing that comes to mind, but I have been a part of lots of online communities. Online community on any topic for me is an addictive thing, I get sucked into conversations and discussions way too fast. Anyway, let’s address the topic on Innovating design. Online communities and networks are all about people’s ideas and opinion, which is almost the same thing as innovating if you “twist it” up a bit. Isn’t innovation about people’s ideas, creativity and opinion?  Online communities could serve perfectly for any new innovator or designer. People in communities share their opinion differently than in real life, designers could get some inside of what people think. For example, a designer may see better the flaws in his product and make it more crowd appealing.  Even better if it’s a designer community.  Teaming up with someone for bigger projects can have its benefits. In my opinion, online communities is a dangerous game, you have to find the right opinion and people who you can trust, but at the end the results can be amazing.

                The best thing about online communities is that anyone who makes a post in them is a part of it and helps it foster. The only principle that I can think of about fostering any kind of online community is to be as active their as you can. Giving your opinion on things only grows communities, somewhere someone will agree with you or disagree with you that will only develop your or other people’s personalities. In designing these things are important, because designers need to adjust them and their products to different kinds of people so its friendlier to everyone. In my experience, I have been right, wrong and totally in a different direction in many things, but only when I share my opinion about these things, I can adjust it in the way its needed. If I make a certain design of something, I will try my best to adjust it to the targeted crowd, but what if my concept of the targeted crowd is completely different then in reality it is? Then people will share their feed back, it may be harsh, painful to read, but it will give me space to improve. Even if people “lurk” – which is just reading what other persons are posting without an actual action, It can spread the word to people that may be interested. So my only principle would be to be as active in online communities as possible. Interesting, I just realized that I’m post things in online communities regularly then why is it so hard for me to write these blogs.

                I’m active in about 3 online communities, but keeping track on about 20. It’s hard to pin your interests when they are too many. I don’t know what I want to learn in future about online communities until I see it, maybe I should look one up about good blogging. Anyway, In ancient times, like 50 years ago, which is not that ancient, there wasn’t any online communities and people never really expressed their opinion worldwide if they wasn’t famous or important, but now everyone can express their opinion, which give so much opportunities, we just have to know how to use them. image

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

Goldfish do not live in the sea !

Although the sea in the picture below may be very attractive, I thought I should just point out to the other bloggers that are saying that goldfish live in the sea that if you put a goldfish in the sea it will probably live not more than 1 minute !

This is a picture I took back home in Mauritius :)

Goldfish are a man-made species. Originating from Asia, they have been modified and bred  from the wild Carp, into various shapes and colours. They are fresh-water fish!

The purple goldfish is a concept developed by Stan Phelps, and is based on how you can differentiate yourselves based on value. i.e: what is the “little extra” that you can give to your customers our clients.

In the case of our NGO (PAGE), the terms clients and customers don’t concern the same group of people. Indeed, PAGE’s clients are the girls that the organisation helps by providing them with educational opportunities. PAGE doesn’t really have customers but rather donors and volunteers that can kind of be seen as their collaborators.

Coming back to the ‘purple goldfish’, I believe that PAGE should focus on what they can give back to the people that help them out (that is the donors and volunteers). Something they can do to make them stand out from the crowd so that when people are searching for donating/volunteering opportunities, they choose PAGE to help amongst many other NGO’s.

Moreover, the fact that PAGE gives back to the community could be the “little extra” that PAGE provides . Indeed, PAGE is an NGO that focuses on developing the local community and providing access to education to girls and empowering them . 

A powerful phrase Stan Phelps mentioned in his video is

"Social Media is not the answer, it is only part of the answer"

This can be directly applied to PAGE’s situation. Indeed, one of PAGE’s challenges is raising awareness. Although PAGE is active on twitter, Facebook and has a website a lot of people still don’t know about it. This may be because instead of focusing on a local level , these social media platforms are directed to a more global level. Indeed, as mentioned in one of my previous posts, most people in the Appalachian mountains don’t have access to internet at home . Moreover, for those who do, may it be in North Carolina or across the globe, you need to give people something to talk about on social media platforms and then the use of social media platforms will be successful in raising awareness. Thus, people need to become acquainted with PAGE on a rather offline basis and then cooperate with PAGE online if needed and share the word !

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Thinking locally to Act locally before globally : Insights from Coca-cola talk by Gates

In her TED talk ” what Non Profits can learn from Coca-Cola” , Melinda Gates mentions the importance of real-time data.

I believe this can be related to the monitoring and evaluating strategies I discussed in my previous post. Indeed, as described in the video, this involves a continuous feedback loop in which real- time data is collected and worked upon simultaneously.

By using such a strategy NGO’s such as PAGE could learn and improve on a simultaneous thread and also be able to measure their progress and success.

The importance of keeping this simultaneous and up to date, is in regards to time. As a matter of fact, when evaluating something it is usually done to late to actually use the data from the evaluation/feedback constructively.

When implementing our recommendations, PAGE should evaluate continuously so that improvements and alterations can be made and the implementation of the proposals can be successful and useful. 

The second point Gates addressed was the ultimate need to tap into local entrepreneurial talent.  How this concept can be adapted to PAGE is by adapting locally and focusing on the local context as a start. Truly what may work on an international level won’t necessarily work on a local level. In that  respect, when recommending proposals to PAGE we should take into consideration the importance of the local community surrounding PAGE. An important point to take into account for example is the fact that Internet is not available for most locals .Therefore to reach out locally before globally, our proposals should be adapted and focused on the local - social media as an example would not be a good recommendation to raise awareness locally but it would be internationally.

Its all about understanding the local community !

Moreover, when marketing it is important to show the audience what is in it for them . For example for PAGE’s donating campaign, if they want people to donate they should show them how they will benefit from giving their money. Make them understand by donating/giving these people aren’t only helping the girls at the school, but are also contributing to the world they would like their children and future generations to grow up in , a developed world with equal opportunities for everyone.

image

Source : http://pixdaus.com/local-transport-of-coca-cola-on-the-beach-of-matemwe-in-the/items/view/21619/

This is the type of thing you would see in my home country Mauritius.

Last but certainly not least, the fact that we are analysing the marketing of  Coca-Cola which is based in a different sector and adapting it to our context shows that crowdsourcing is important and magical ! Indeed, by learning from every sector that is different from ours we end up with great ideas and insights.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

Getting there

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed,...
Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: SilverBlogging

Monitoring and Evaluating: Key and useful concepts

A Monitoring and Evaluation strategy is needed when preparing and implementing the recommendations we are proposing to our NGO to help them solve the challenges they are facing.

Indeed, as I recalled in one of my previous posts, it is important to measure (that is evaluate) all of our proposals in order to determine whether they will be feasible to be undertaken by our NGO’s, and to what extent they will enable them to overcome their challenges - i.e: do they create enough intended impact for them to be implemented ?

In order to propose feasible and sustainable ideas to our NGO, it is a must to evaluate these accordingly so that when selecting which proposals our NGO would like to carry out, they can refer to our evaluation made on them. This will influence the decision-making of our NGO regarding which proposals they would like to implement.

Moreover, I believe it is very important to develop such an evaluation strategy as this enables our NGO to see our proposals are really worth carrying out. That is, to which extent they will they be able to enable the expected outcome to be met ? - How significant will their impact be ?

In order to evaluate our proposals, I created an evaluation model, inspired from an existing measurement strategy entitled "Circles of sustainability". I previously used this model in one of my blog posts when questioning the feasibility of our teams recommendations to our NGO.

Here is the link to that post: Will the Future of our proposals be sustainable ?

Regarding the evaluation strategy I developed, it works by assessing each proposal based on several evaluation criterium : Sustainability & Efficiency, and Relevance & Impact.

Each of the two combined criterium, have sub groups which are evaluated on a 6-point scale, ranging from Critical to Excellent.

Below is an example of the evaluation strategy used to evaluate one of the proposals our team will recommend to PAGE.

The proposal evaluated above is to make PAGE form a sort of alliance with universities/schools in their region. That way they can attract more volunteers as many students attending certain university programs or IB schools are required to do a certain number of hours of community service/volunteering. Thus, creating this alliance could enable PAGE to get access to a larger pool of potential volunteers. This would help PAGE overcome its challenge of getting people more involved in the organisation by volunteering.

I will propose this evaluation strategy to my team members during our next meeting and see if it could help us propose solutions to our NGO that are as feasible, sustainable, relevant and efficient as possible.

Moreover, it is important to have a monitoring plan to create a framework for our NGO to implement our proposals. Indeed, it is important as when recommending our proposals, we should take into consideration how these proposals are going to be implemented by PAGE and also by who within the organisation.

In order to try and forecast the above, a framework which addresses management and control, and enables future monitoring is needed.

Through my research I came across a system called "The Logical Framework".

This framework outlines the roles and responsibilities needed to implement our recommendations when monitoring and evaluating them. It also acts as a ‘planner’ to organise the undergoing of the needed activities.

Source: UNICEF, Programme Policy and Procedures Manual: Programme Operations , Evaluation criteria : Section 1.

The figure above emphasises on the importance to define the inputs and activities needed to implement each of our recommendations, as well as the intended outcomes and objectives we have forecasted when our NGO will implement them.

This is what I think our team lacks - we have great ideas but we haven’t spent enough time on thinking all the ideas through. By this I mean we haven’t actually considered HOW our NGO will implement our proposals and the resources/means they will need to have to do so.

By discussing with our NGO to fill up the logical framework table (shown below) for our proposals, this would enable us to recommend proposals that are feasible for our NGO - that is they have the required ‘inputs’ to make it happen  such as resources, time and personnel.

Source: Monitoring and Evaluation Plan template 

The “Indicators” cell in the table is needed to measure monitoring and evaluation. Indeed,as clearly explained in the template "Indicators are how we measure progress towards a specific objective or goal.  After you’ve laid out the various levels (input, output, outcome, impact) of your activity, you can then begin to decide how to measure progress towards achieving your objectives and goals by selecting appropriate indicators. "

When using such a framework for monitoring, it is also possible and could be very useful to monitor the performance of our NGO when implementing these solutions. Indeed, the progress made when doing as such can be measured which will enable the NGO to improve where needed and enable short-term adjustments to direct the proposal towards creating the expected/designed outcome. A ‘Learn and adjust as you go’ approach can thus be followed.

So here we go for the evaluation and monitoring system approaches that can be useful to our team and our NGO !

More to come on Marketing and online communities soon !

Ciao

Emilie 

x

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Emilie's Light Bulb Moments !

It’s not all that bad!

We’ve reached the final part of our project, so it’s time for a little recap. Starting out, my knowledge about online networks was, let’s say, not the best and I found the whole thing being a bit odd.

During the course we’ve learned about a lot of different techniques to use online networks in order to reach your goals. For example, asking people for their opinion by creating a survey and then using all your networks (facebook, twitter, etc.) to spread the word. Or just in general if you want people to know about something, put it in a group, post it online and it will reach at least some of them.

Especially last week when we talked about crowdfunding and -sourcing, I discovered how online communities work. Still, I am sceptical (I said this before) because I don’t want people to have a say on what I’m doing. I guess my design principles would be to listen to my customers needs in order to fulfill their wishes about the design they want me to do, but still make it ‘my’ design. I don’t know if that makes sense.

When we were trying to find the best way to help our customer in this project, it took a while to figure out thier actual needs and, most importantly, their capacities. There are a million of good solutions out there for your problem, but you have to be able to realize them as well. So we had to narrow down our suggestions to the ones that were actually realistic for PAGE to put in place.

I think the course got me a bit out of my comfort zone as I’m an ‘offline person’ as I like to call it. I prefer direct contact and don’t feel comfortable to put my thoughts and ideas ‘out there’ for everyone to read and judge (again, I wrote about this in an earlier blog). However, these last two weeks showed me that sometimes it’s not that bad to persue your goal by using online communities. For me personally especially crowdfunding was a big myth before this, so I’d be happy to learn more about that, although it’s not necessarily my priority to do so.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Allie vs Alex

Organize the chaos

This world is crowded, full of information, full of expectations and desires. How can we filter all of them? How can we organize them? How can we relate with them? Those are the questions that pop up in my mind. Connection. This is all about. Have you seen Avatar? Do you remember the way Neytiri made the connection with other avatars and with nature? Science fiction we said, but think that we already have this path between human beings. Social networks, platforms, websites. Life is a congregation of feelings and ideas and we have the power to “read” them. I heard many guys talking against social communities and then I realized: “Hey, they don’t know what we know”.

image

Source:http://justaspoonfulofsass.blogspot.nl/2013/03/where-one-life-ends-another-begins.html

What we know is what we learned in this 7 weeks. Social networks are there to help you. It is like an entertaining encyclopedia. My advice: learn everything you can, focus on your interests. This is what I did so far. Is interesting that we have the ability to create a mind map unconsciously but it will be easier to explain this to you with an example:

image

Source:http://tatehandheldconference.pbworks.com/w/page/19520900/Mind%20Map%20Working%20Cross-platform

We started as individualists, sharing with others who, what we are and what we can do as persons. Then the process started. We kept continue uniting step by step.

  • First as a team, then with the class, with the teachers. All this connections were fortunately face to face.

  • Secondly, we as a group initiated an uprising progress establishing connections with the NGO, and then with people from all over the world. This was one of the most important step, when we realized we have to make research if we want to find out the channels to communicate with others. As I write in another post, you need a purpose to be totally involved in the procedure. Our purpose is the girls from the Appalachian mountains, so we looked for channels we had to take in consideration the location, the region, the people which can be involved in this NGO, even if they are donors, volunteers or just participants.

What I found also during this course is the force of some goals, how they can transform you. Have you ever thought about how you can ask a question yourself? I didn’t till now. I learned how to be reflective , how to ask myself questions to obtain a good result. Is harder than it seems. Is hard because it is not about you, it is about other persons and you don’t want them to be collateral damages.

For this week I have a conclusion: Connections can be dangerous, unsafe this is why we have to pay attention to every aspect and to keep searching and searching for ways to evolve not do devolve. Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangout, Skype, Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, Catapult, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Linkedin etc. etc. are all source of inspiration, ways to obtain new ideas and a step forward to design interpersonal connections.

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Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Laura Lezeu (Project Community 2014)

Crowdfunding is NOT fun

               5 days without internet are fun in a weird uncomfortable way, lets hope its not too late. Anyway crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are the topics for this week, but what exactly are those?  I would say that crowdfunding is project funding by raising money from large number of people.   Projects can come in all shapes and sizes, but the whole concept of crowdfunding depends on people funding those projects.  Crowdsourcing is something completely different. Crowdsourcing is obtaining ideas, concepts and content from large groups of people.

I see crowdfunding on 2 ways. Raise money for charity organizations, where money helps people who need it, but can’t get it. The other way is the way, I feel kind of bad of. The other way is raising money for projects, whose people can’t afford to fund the projects themselves. This other way, I feel that people would use crowd funding only because they can’t find enough people to believe their project, and if they can’t find those people they don’t believe their project themselves or because they are too lazy to get the money themselves. In both cases the fundraising don’t justify the cause.

                So I’m kind of in a confliction here, by thinking why a designer use crowdfunding would. The way see it is that a designer isn’t a good person and only uses a crowdfunding to get money for his own projects as payment or salary – which he could earn if he was a good designer. And the other way which a designer would use fundraising is that if he wants to do something good for society, but then fundraising should be the last resort and if it’s the last resort it’s not that good to raise money for.

                Crowdsourcing is a whole another thing.  I believe that creativity can be taught or it can be talented ether way it needs to be learned or perfected, but not everyone can perfect it alone and inspirations are needed. I think for a designer crowdsourcing could is a “must” that needs to be used. Designers work is largely depending on people – what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Crowdsourcing is the way to answer these questions. To know what people want is designers work and how other way designer can know what people want is to ask them.

                I don’t see any cons for crowdsourcing. Its designers job to find large groups of people and find out what they want, but in nowadays society any creative designer could find them easily.  However, designers have to be careful at what groups they are targeting.  If a designers targets a group that isn’t so educated and builds the project on that groups results the whole project can be useless and be just a waste of resources and time.

                To sum up, I think crowdfunding isn’t the way any designer should get funding or popularity, because if the project need crowdfunding it is not that good project to begin with, the money can be used to help charity. Crowdsourcing however should be the only way designer should find out about what society wants from him, but the designer should know to what crowd he targets.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

Check this out: very good explanation about what crowdfunding is…



Check this out: very good explanation about what crowdfunding is and how can it help a new business idea

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Laura Lezeu (Project Community 2014)

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The...
Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: SilverBlogging