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Week 5: Theme 2 – Work Teams

Wednesday, October 1st


What online architecture, tools and processes support successful design teams? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments?

What does the ideal design Work Team look like? You will use your own team and it’s work to explore these questions.

This week we will blend the “insight i” with the third i, the i for idea; the experimenting towards potential solutions. Last week we began to make distinctions between ways individuals can participate alone and with others online in terms of group forms. This week we’ll dive into a “closer to the ground” practices group size and its impact on open and innovative design at the team level. Our main question for the week is “What size group is most useful for the design part of open and innovative design and why?” We will then weave in some secondary questions and observations about time, cultural diversity, and interdependencies between group members, and then begin applying these ideas to our projects.

Teamwork Activity: Analyzing Examples of Social Architecture

You’ve heard the aphorisms. “One is the loneliest number.” “Three’s a crowd.” “The more the merrier!” This week our discussion will focus around some of the variables in online social groupings, starting with size. Think about past experiences: when has it been easy to brainstorm and find ideas? Work on interdependent tasks? Think and discuss deeply? Toss around ideas casually? How big was the group? What was the context (online, offline, synchronous, asynchronous, culturally homogeneous or diverse? Was it slow or fast? Tell us a story and then let’s look at the implications for using online groups for open, innovative design and in the context of your project groups.

Analyze at least two online groups that apply to your area of research for your NGO.

  • How are they using group size effectively or not? How are they using cultural diversity effectively or not? What is the evidence of interaction over time and how is that related to the success of their endeavours?
  • Don’t forget you have access to 3-4 hours of “office hours” F2F where you can work together and share your ideas with the tutors (off- and online) and Nancy (online)
  • Google Hangout.

Personal Blog Reflection Prompt:

You are in week four of your group work (after the introduction week). What is working well for you in your group? What is challenging you? What is the impact of size? Culture? Task? What is one thing you might do differently in the coming weeks to improve your experience and the group’s work? As you write this, consider how to structure this reflection so it is useful to your team members.


The Dunbar Number as a Limit to Group Sizes (Life With Alacrity)

Community by the Numbers, Part One: Group Thresholds (Life With Alacrity)

Community by the Numbers, Part II: Personal Circles (Life With Alacrity)

resources in delicious tagged “group threshold” by Christopher Allen

The Group Pattern Language Project

Chris Corrigan on Group size (video)

Learning objective: Students can describe what the ideal work team looks like for their project and tell us why. Reflect according to the STARR (Situation, tasks, actions, result, reflection) method on what you should do differently. Students should be able to make their own reflections interesting to read. Students can analyze, explain, and evaluate what they have learned on all 4 themes 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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