September 1-4, 2014
We are forming a new community. Why is tapping beyond oneself valuable? How can we use our community as an added aid towards the challenges of global issues?
Introduction to Project Communities
Project Community is both a project, a community and a set of tools for using online communities and networks for enhancing the design process in any context.
- It is a project, because we are using team projects as an action learning approach ‐ we aren’t just going to talk about using communities and networks, we are going to USE them.
- It is a community ‐ as we will be learning together: a learning community.
- It exposes you to a set of tools that you can use throughout your time at the University and beyond. By tools, we mean not only online technologies, but also frameworks for thinking about communities and networks, practices in working together and in tapping those networks.
At the beginning of Project Community you will most likely be a little bit confused. Don’t worry. That is natural because this course is as much an experience as it is a body of content, or curriculum. It is designed so that your participation generates your learning. We are here to help, but what you get out of it is, as they say, what you put into it.
At the end of Project Community, you will have new and/or enhanced online interaction technology skills, a strategic understanding of how communities and networks can support innovative design, real team experience and for some of you, some new insights into the role of design in doing good in the world in terms of the Millennium Development Goals. We have chosen to situate our learning in the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) world to give a little context and hopefully inspire some of you to consider applying your current and future design skills to making the world a better place!
Reflective Thinking and Writing. Each week you will be asked to write a blog post around a reflective question AND read and respond to your fellow student’s posts.
Worried about “teamwork?” Don’t worry. After our first conversation is underway, we will set the scene for our team projects. You will be assigned to a team you will work with for the rest of this course to learn together and produce a multimedia report. However, you also have half of your grade related to individual work!
Scene setting: One of several large global Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) has identified the need to nurture more community owned innovation in support of Millenium Development goals. They realize that people in developing countries and in other places not only have needs, but they also all have ideas, diverse understandings of challenges and resources. By connecting those with needs and those with ideas into a more global innovation marketplace, the NGOs hypothesize that there can be more ground‐up innovation to help reach these goals (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ ‐ these are the big targets that have been set globally to improve the lives of the poor).
These NGOs have commissioned a group, from around the world, of leading young thinkers at an innovative university (YOU) to “ground truth” their hypothesis. You will do this by doing a study of how these global online groups and networks are strategically supporting innovative design from the ideation through production and user/customer support phase for products and ideas that help communities reach their own development goals. We think that this way of approaching design challenges, not only for products, but even for projects or policy, may be more inclusive, efficient and more grounded in people’s day to day reality.
The four segments we are exploring include during the project and the course are:
- Idea networks ‐ How are product/project needs identified? How are innovative ideas generated using online tools and methods?
- Design work teams ‐ How can online tools and methods support global, distributed design teams?
- Crowdfunding networks ‐ How can online networks support crowd funding?
- Marketing and user/customer support networks – How can we get products to markets, support those products and encourage user to user interaction?
Each team will be responsible for a strategic review, giving advice to the NGO about how they might use these four segments in their work. What applies? What might not work? Why? Teams will research existing groups, networks and mechanisms in their specific field of expertise to understand their purpose, membership, technical architecture, social architecture and how they measure their own success.
The NGO requests that the team creates a multimedia report that can be shared globally with their constituency for feedback of no more than 5 minutes combined running/reading time. The report (via YouTube) should be in a format that they can present themselves in a webinar or can be viewed asynchronously. The presentation should be in clear, jargon free English as their constituency is global, many using English as a second language and most will not be familiar with many technological terms.
Learning Objectives: The students will get to know each other and the teachers while experiencing ‘community building’ and gain experience how the IDE program is set up and works.