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Week 4: Theme 1- Crowdsourcing and Online Social Structures

Wednesday, September 24th

Financiación colectiva - cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Colbrain:

Financiación colectiva – cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Colbrain:

We have talked about the technology. Now let’s consider what online architecture, and processes create successful innovative idea networks and marketplaces? By online architecture, we mean how the participation is structured and facilitated. What type of groups are useful for which kinds of activities? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments? I.e.

We have a range of options for online interaction today, so it is useful to differentiate what those forms and tools can do for innovation networks (as an example) and for your NGO client. In this discussion we’ll start by differentiating and analysing different online forms and how they might be useful. We’ll exploring how we usefully utilize the opportunities for innovation and open design and look at some crowdsourcing platforms as examples. Crowdsourcing uses the knowledge of many for innovation, information collection and to gain ideas. Where is the online empowerment of the individual (me?) most useful? Where is the bounded group or team best utilized?

Teamwork Activity

By the end of this week you will have completed the first weeks’ teamwork activities to articulate and define the scope of your team project. This week, your task is to understand where you can gain insights into your research questions, and who will do what in doing the research.

By the end of next week you should have:

  • Identified how the “me, we, network” continuum is present in your work for your NGO. How do individuals need to be empowered? How are groups and networks contributing? Give examples and if possible, tap your team’s connections and networks and get some first hand examples from other contexts that might apply to your NGO. Document this online somewhere and share the URLs with your instructors.
  • Identify who on your team will do what and demonstrate any insights you had in making those selections. How are you (or not) tapping into individual’s connections and networks? How are you defining project roles in groups and initial tasks and responsibilities?
  • Google Hangout.

Personal Blog Reflection Prompt:

Think about your own network. Do you use online spaces primarily as an individual, which implies you find and harvest information, but perhaps don’t interact much with others online? Are you a member of defined and bounded groups? Or do you interact along the way as you intersect with others in the wider network? Which is most valuable to you? Why? Which is most comfortable? Can you notice your preferences for tools and types of groups? Explain.


Technology of Cooperation (PDF by Howard Rheingold). A useful overview of how technology can support cooperation. See also his Network Literacy Short Course

Crowdsourcing Primer (

Crowdsourcing and Crisismapping (Change Assembly) — how is that different than crowdsourcing in design?

Six Months into Domain of One’s Own (Martha Burtis, UMW)

Learning objective: Students can identify different types of on- and offline group forms and illustrate how these can have an added value to their project. Students can describe how they would use crowdsourcing (for ideas, and other design insights) What are the strengths and weaknesses of crowdsourcing for their NGO challenge? Give examples of potential crowdsourcing options (at least 2 of each) and critically review the strengths and weaknesses of each, giving examples and reasons for your conclusions. Provide a final recommendation to your NGO on the use (or not) of crowdsourcing. Students can analyze, explain, and evaluate what they have learned on each weekly theme (this is the first) and demonstrate these skills in their weekly blogs.

Screening Room

Final Projects

Course Videos

  • Paul { Love it!! Maybe you should design a folding business card too! } – Oct 31, 11:20 AM
  • Tomas { Hey Ronja, I think you did a great job on the important roles! something we should definitly use in our final advice! Great job 🙂 } – Oct 31, 11:13 AM
  • Laura { I especially like the reflection on the teamwork! } – Oct 31, 9:55 AM
  • Laura { Love your reflection on the video making! Hey, I just bought that same tea! You won't die.... glad to see you lov'in it 🙂 } – Oct 31, 9:45 AM
  • Milena { aahhh we all really feel like this I think 😀 ... maybe the teams for tiny houses can establish our own Project Communities Village above... } – Oct 30, 11:24 PM
  • »»
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