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 Tagged communication

(Don’t) Look back (in anger)

We are almost there, that’s the seventh week and the project is going to end. It’s difficult to have a resume of what I learned without having a resume of what I and we did and what I felt. That’s why my blog post will be about the whole path during this course and it will be pretty serious (at least I will try to do my best) and not whimsical (discovered new word, I don’t know if it is right, english dictionaries are generic) and funny as usual. I promise I will do a comedy-style post with the last one.

THE SUBJECTIVITY OF FEELINGS

That’s the first point, it is about the link between us, our NGOs and our four themes, a link expressed often as “confusiastic”. It is a general idea that tries to define a feeling that should occur in our progress, however it is very difficult to accept it. In fact the themes can provide different reactions in different people. Somebody can be very sure and enthusiastic about crowdsourcing and confused about work teams, somebody else can be very interested in marketing and doubtful about crowdfunding. What I am trying to say is that is not possible to define with one only word the whole course and all the topics. That’s a first lesson about media and network technologies and knowledge, they are different, deeply different and the common mean (the computer) is not enough to link them in their complexity.

Now, things are becoming more difficult. I think that some themes with some NGOs can cause fear, anger and confusion, not confusiasm. Let me explain it better with our (group 1) example: our NGO is difficultly reachable by an effective crowdfunding campaign. People involved are not “rich” and it is tough to make people donate because you can’t give back something with crowdfunding average donations. On the other hand you can give back something really “tiny” but donations would be too small to reach their goal. They want to build a stable and enduring community so they need a continuous amount of money. Now the theme “crowdfunding” was narrow for us, we needed to enlarge our horizon, our view and we needed to include big companies in our project. However that is not anymore crowdfunding as intended in the theme, we explored “microventure” and startups world. It wasn’t a real problem but it was obviously difficult to understand the exclusivity of that topic. That’s why I think that a theme as “fundraising" could fit the course better. You can include in it crowdfunding but not as only option.

A DACHSHUND THAT PRETENDS TO BE A ROTTWEILER

Big danger in marketing zone. Three strategies: value proposition (ok!), purple goldfish (great, I love this one) and “what can we learn from Cocacola” (and here is the problem). Even if the example of Cocacola could be, reflecting a lot on it and stretching it, useful there is fundamental contradiction (and I think that’s why in group 1 nobody choosed it). That’s something really similar to philosophical disprove; even if you could use it in NGOs (and it is difficult) the big problem is that we are trying basically to compare a HUGE multinational company with a small, local NGO. It is a big generalisation in terms of dimensions and goals, are we sure that we can do this step (even if Melinda Gates says that is possible) and are we sure that there are not strategies that can be more suitable for our NGOs?Moreover watching at the video of Melinda Gates I think that it wouldn’t work;

1- Many NGOs are acting with single events, single initiatives. That makes completely impossible the real time data. Cocacola is continuing to sell bottles every day, they can have precise data and know the flexions of their market. For a NGO is more realistic to collect and analyse data at the end of an event but that is completely different.

2- Local entrepreneurial talent. That’s just obvious, many NGOs (as Tiny Houses) are local. Dealing with local entrepreneurial market is the first thing you have to do.

3- Marketing. Sure, saying it so generally it seems right but can we really compare the marketing actions of a NGO with marketing actions of Cocacola? I hope no! That would spoil NGO goals and existences.

On the other hand the Purple Goldfish Strategy is kinder, is more general, from the small store to, why not, a NGO! I hope that you understand what I mean, we need more adaptable strategies like this one, not the ones tested only by big companies. Here is another important lesson, adaptability over big results. They are obviously welcome but adaptability will allow you to create networks and systems that can be used by more people and help them in a proper way.

DIFFERENT MEANS DIFFERENT USE

Now we can introduce another important lesson about all your work. There is a specific mean for each work you have to do. Passing through the complexity of social media you will have to recognise the useful tools from the fancy but useless stuff (*cough!*… facebook hashtags… *cough!*).

FUTURE STEPS

Now, what I would like to learn more? I would like to deepen my knowledge about fundraising, about startups creation and the ways to start your own business. Also, I would be very interested in the world of online design contests and related community valuation of projects. 

Anyway, now we are finishing our lessons and, even if I gave just some advice about what, in my opinion, was too confused and less enthusiastic, I am happy about this course. It helped us to know how to contact and to deal with a client and we started to understand how are groups working, these are probably the main results and I think that are the best results we could have. 

Well guys, see you next week, stay connected for the last post for Project Community! Bye bye! :)

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain

An alternative to a bank robbery

YEARS OF CATERPILLAR FLU

Fellow designer, the new century has just begun to show us its modernity and its progress with an impressive rate. We just discovered computer viruses that could destroy technology, islamic fundamentalism that could destroy western technology, bird flu that could destroy human society, swine flu that could destroy human society, Apple iPhone that could destroy human society, etc… By the way, I predict that this year’s flu will be caterpillar flu, just to keep you informed.

CROWDFUNDING

Now, in a world in which huge companies, viruses and groups are fighting each other how can we imagine to stand out with our tiny, nice product? Well, a bank robbery could seem a great idea but there are definitively easier and softer ways. One of them is crowdfunding, that for designers is very simple. You have a product, you need to create your company to build and commercialize it, you go on internet and you gather money from people donating giving them back, maybe, that product. They pay it less and have it before all the others and you get enough money to start your business. It seems heaven isn’t it? Well there are some limits, and they are really important.

First, it is not enough to create your campaign on Kickstarter. People need to know about it, you will have to use all your cyber-power: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, “Friends”, “Relatives” (important social networks), you have to spread the word. You know, it is not like making people aware of your ideas. If you write a status about the next caterpillar flu and 1000 people read it, well, you did it, 1000 people know what you think about it. If you make 1000 people know that you are gathering money for something, you will have a final effect of 30-40 people donating, that is a good achievement but is not enough, so you will need to reach 10.000 people and you will have great possibilities (well, if you find a cure for caterpillar flu you would probably reach 10.000 people donating, scared by newspapers and TV shows).

Second, you have to be sure of your results. You can’t make people donate for something you have to develop and you are not sure to achieve. If you want to design a flying chair be sure you can do it! Otherwise you will have lots of cyber-addicteds really angry with you.

DEVELOP YOURSELF

There are other ways to gather money, similar to crowdfunding but deeply different. When I write “Develop Yourself” I mean to change your perspective. While with crowdfunding you develop your product with startups you can develop yourself and then your product creating a stronger result! There are a lot of websites as microventures that can make startups and investors meet. Here you can create your own small and wonderful company in order to come out with a lot of new products and ideas. Sure, the limit is that you will have investors but in “normal” crowdfunding is not that different. Moreover governments are investing a lot of money in financing startups and you have special spaces like “hubs” where you can increase your awareness about this new magical world. In Italy we have some great experiences in Piemonte and in Veneto regions in which these hubs are working very well, not being affected by the economic crisis (and that’s an unbelievable result in Italy!). That’s way I think that this investors finding system for startups is the best mean to stand up in design world. After that entering a startups hub is another way to "stand up together" that is easier than trying to do it individually.

OUR NGO WILL DEVELOP ITSELF

That is why we suggested our NGO to create a startup, to think itself as a startup. It can give a service: providing new environmentally and socially sustainable spaces for companies and people. In the Tiny Houses community we can create a great opportunity for individuals and companies to make each other better. People can join this community to learn and try new experiences both on the working and on the living side. The workers of that companies would work in a relaxed green place, with trees and fresh air. Inhabitants of this community would gather money and experiences from companies. Moreover a startup won’t have any legal problem with the government that would be able to finance it. For them it is easier to start on Microventures than on crowdfunding campaigns.

WHAT TO DO NOW

As a group we defined the economic part of “having a real community”. Now it is time to define how can this NGO/Startup make people aware and how they can develop their calendar and activities to make the community work. We are thinking to a sort of internal regulation for the Tiny Houses hub, internet cafè and events. Stay connected for the next week post, now I have to see the first episode of American Horror Story 4, so I will leave you with a picture of your worst enemy this year! Bye!

image

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain

‘Digital Antiquity’

I’m like an old style thinker, I believe that everything that takes shape in the future has also a base in the past. Well, it’s not that difficult as it seems, for instance take this example : Do you guys still know how that old and full-of-dust pencil case look like ? It was the ‘thing’ your parents might or might not bought you when you get into the first grade. Colour pencils, pens, erasers, markers, sharpeners. It’s not about how many you got,it’s about the connection between them,how you combine them,how you’re making your life easier with them. Ok, now, let’s think about a team. It has the same roles to fulfil. This is how I imagine those connections in my mind, the creative and imaginative part is taken by the colour pencils, while a pen is defined by being associated to the fixed ideas. Also the eraser is the voice that takes care of mistakes and is recreating the true form of ideas. All the ideas are carved with the help of a sharpener, it is the tool that creates perfection and also an impulse for the mind. What I choose? I choose to be creative, to see the world from a completely different perspective. I have to confess that I’m not a good speaker, I’m not sure how I have to make research, so I will try to learn how to act, how to prepare for a connection outside the ‘membrane’. I guess this is what I want to be for the team. Here is the interesting part. You can’t progress if you can’t communicate with others and learn from their experience. My team has an unyielding purpose and is incredible how in just a short time we are ready to fight for the same reason. How can we relate with each other, when our suitable mates are spread around the city/the world? Communities and networks, the main factors of sharing experiences and evolving. Moreover they are gifted to give you the itch you need to create. I’ve never been awake about the importance of them, until I came in The Hague. This is the start of the “why?,what?,who?” chapter in my life, the introduction to the step-by-step transformation to become a designer. 

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

Project communities 1: We will do it

This is my first post about the course "Project communities" at De Haagse Hogeschool. Well, at first sight it was shocking, looking at the preparatory documents they sent us I just saw tons of different instructions about everything in various pdf’s. I tried to absorb as much informations as possible with poor results, then I just thought “Enough! I will see tomorrow what is all this about”; definitively a good idea.

Today I just had to get over the daily “find-your-classroom” desperation and I finally was able to understand the purpose of the course: to learn to use technology, to learn more about crowdfunding, to learn to interact with a NGO, to learn to work in a group, etc.. While I was grasping the meaning of all this stuff I started to think about what I have to do, what I will have to do and what have I done!

However we had our NGO and the first group work solved many problems. The NGO is “Tiny houses enthusiasts” and in the group each one has now his own role, each one expressed his ideas and we had a productive time, I think we will do it! I am the team leader, a worried team leader but I will manage to coordinate my group. The topic is not simple and we are still struggling to define what we want and what we think about it but probably the first call with the NGO and our next meetings will solve many questions.

Now, after this short story about the fear and confusion turning into determination (and courage maybe?), let’s talk about my expectations.This is the hardest part, what I expect from this course? Well I thought about it:  I want to deeply understand how to interact with organisations, to know how to get the informations I need to work and I expect to learn how to lead a team in the best way.

It’s a lot of stuff, isn’t it? However, I repeat, I am sure we can do it (me and my team) and we will.

Now it’s dinner time and I am hungry, see you everybody! Don’t miss the next post and "buon appetito"!

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Posted in Community, Group 1, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: A road to the plain