NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2012) please see the main site for the most up to date information.


Smart Challenge

Today almost everybody has access internet, everywhere, everytime. Internet at home, internet on the smartphone, there are even planes which have a hotspot. Therefore it is helpful to have your project management on the internet if you are working in an collaboration but for individual work as well. You and your team members can easily look up the status and what have to be done. A good platform we’ve done research on to facilitate this is basecamp. 

It is impossible to work on a project only by using basecamp for communication but using it as a contact point to structure the tasks and providing an overview this platform is tremendously useful. 

For tasks I mentioned above I would absolutely use an online platform. For meetings and working in groups I would prefer a face to face meeting but I would probably add video conferences with Skype or Google Hangouts for long-distance work.

I’m not only sure about the usage of platforms because I’ve done research but also because I’m already using basecamp for a project of mine. I upload the recent concepts and we can discuss them and agree on features and changes. But the greatest advantage is that because of the world wide web we can access it from wherever we are. Best circumstances for Open Innovators!

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This was originally published at ChimpCommunity

New dimension, new rules, new problems to solve.

Monitoring - that is actually a good keyword! Since Project Communities not only contains research on online platforms but actually is taking place on the net I sometimes feel sucked into the monitor screen, into a new dimension.

Our communication, our work and finally our learning happens on the platforms. And by doing this we get to know how to use platforms effectively.

A real challenge for us is now to assign this to a example project of a NGO. While the focus is getting more and more abstract, the technical issues don’t take a break. Therefore I myself experienced the last classes as a real challenge but I observed that under this pressure all of the team members acted different. It leads in particular to problems of single group members at different points in time and different circumstances. While one would eventually give up without the group, the group members complement each other so that (by now) every problem could be solved. I found out that to strengthen this process of team-working it is very important to utter every problem but also contribute help and managing if you aren’t sure about if it is helpful.

Another point I believe in is that the team-roles should be at least a bit flexible so that a occurrence of a strong focus and reliance on a few members is avoided. Since it is group work everybody should be on the same level. The same amount of power but also the same amount of work and participation.

The group work isn’t always easy to handle and in regard to the subjects I approached on in this post I beside the work on the assignments try to balance the group and want to take more responsibility on topics I’m familiar with, like preparation and layout of our presentation.

What do you think about my findings? I would really appreciate to get feedback from my group members! 

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This was originally published at ChimpCommunity

Any ideas what this is all about?!

I wouldn’t say project communities is an easy course. I believe for all of us it was more or less confusing when the course started. We explore new terrain and have to multitask most of the time. Furthermore what doesn’t makes it easier is that english isn’t the mother tongue of most of us. Therefore facilitation is not only a nice to have but absolutely necessary.

Since we are people from all over the world it is obvious that there are misunderstandings and a lot of questions. 
The question in the heading above might be a bit exaggerated but i can say it is true that everybody in the course including the instructors were confused sometimes.

I believe that asking questions is one of the most important parts in human learning. First of all it is good to ask often and to be curious. Since I can remember I annoyed my parents and people around me by wanting them to explain something to me. As the consequence of this situation it caused trouble - either because it stressed people or because they couldn’t answer my question properly. Anyway, it was worth it. 

Secondly it is important to ask the right questions. To be in a learning group with people from many countries and cultures leads to different questions which would never be asked in a homogenous group. And it makes you ask them. 
Hard and different questions and confusion. That doesn’t sound like a facilitation, right? In this course we are literally forced to ask many questions and we have many different approaches. This in fact is a huge facilitation of the learning process.

I believe my approach on confusion is to analyze the circumstances. As I have technical knowledge and can easily orient in new surroundings (for example  unknown online platforms) I come up with specific questions and thereby contribute a new point of view. Like in this way everyone is asking different questions regarding to his own knowledge and strategy. 

Another point is that not everything in the schedule is predefined and sometimes even the expert, Nancy, doesn’t know the experiences we will have in during the lecture. This keeps it real and gives me a feeling of not only doing it for grades but for learning and new insights. In brief: We are creating value.

These are the reasons why I like the group work and love being in an international program. Even though wednesday often for me is headache-day I’m looking forward to it every time and I’m already curious which insights I will get next time.

PS: Keep on asking!

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Posted in All Students, Group 3, Work Teams
This was originally published at ChimpCommunity

Of offline conversations and other curiosities

My preference overall would be that more conversations are not online anymore but face to face (again). Compared to online chats in real discussions there are far less misunderstandings and faster and more human interaction. Overall: a better quality of communication.

So why is „again“ written in brackets? Well, many people, I would suggest especially digital immigrants, would tell you that today most people are typing on their smartphones and computers - and have less real face to face discussions. I believe that it is different. There are always times in live when you can not be with people you talk to. And in the past there were even more moments like this. Today‘s transport systems were not yet invented, most people had to work hard and were confronted with the same people every day. That is why I believe that today there are more conversations, enabled also by online networking. 

Non face to face conversations are far better than no conversations - one important point for me is therefore that the tool should provide a good possibility to communicate. I like the  development towards video conversations and coorporation platforms like google docs. I can imagine that in the near future there will be the possibility to share your desktop (the real one!) enriched by notes from the other members (Google glass?).

But now is now, so let us stay in the present age. Why am I not in a Google+ Hangout every time I want to speak to somebody who is not in the same room? Why am I using facebook? Well, the first point is that everybody is using facebook - and the reason why everybody uses it is already the second point: It‘s easy and it offers an overall package. By now it is to annoying for most people to be in a video conversation. They are not familiar with this new dimension of conversation and the technology is sometimes unstable.

In everyday life this is therefore not yet the best choice but we are planning to use Google+ Hangouts and are already using Skype in our group work. While not every group member is living in Den Haag this is a way to communicate as natural as possible.

Furthermore we use Basecamp to manage our project. The To-Do lists and milestones help us to keep up and it provides a space where we can collect our documents. Not everyone likes that we also work with another platform than facebook and I, of course, would like to increase the usage of platforms like Hangouts. Therefore it is important to communicate (I believe you notice how important communication is in general) the needs and problems with the group members. Another idea is to propose a different platform to the group by presenting it and it‘s advantages to the group. The Hangout test run I started with a fellow student (other students could join) is an example of how you can promote a platform. 

Finally connecting all these platforms and keep up while working in a group on facebook is a great challenge for me. Every platform has it‘s advantages and disadvantages and everyday you spot new issues. Even hardly noticeable properties can show up in a serious problem. For example that posts in a facebook group are rearranged depending on new reactions can lead to confusion and stop of the work flow. 

Technology is pushing us forward - but we should not forget to communicate face to face, offline, everytime when it is possible.

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Posted in All Students, Group 3, Work Teams
This was originally published at ChimpCommunity

Spidergram Basecamp Group 3

Spidergram Basecamp Group 3

Posted in All Students, Group 3, Work Teams
This was originally published at ChimpCommunity

Once upon a time in group work…

When you see this article for the first time you possibly will ask yourself :  ‘What is this weird comic picture about?’

You will figure it out – but first I have to tell a little story.

Once upon a time there was a plant. The plant had many ideas of new directions of growing and evolving. But there came a day on which the almighty coordinator sent the people to come up with a report about a certain webpage. It was a precise assignment to research the features of the platform. All the shapers immediately started to work and after short time they gathered around the coordinator to present their work. Meanwhile the plant still sat in front of a blank page and struggeled with finding the purpose in the task. He himself couldn‘t believe that he wasn‘t able to just write down what he found out after analyzing the webpage.

In this way or in a similar way it could happen in a work group. Of course, the story and the picture exaggerate and don‘t display the reality - but honestly for me it seemed to be like this. 

We in our group have considerate team members and a coordinator who empathizes with  the group members.

Actually this article is not about complaining about this situation - it just analyses how group work in a diversified group work or might work.

Like Chris Corrigan said in the video there have to be edges on the circle of a group. With this diversity on the one hand come different solutions and new combinations but on the other hand also various types of approaches and strategies on tasks.

I feel certain about that people with different roles in a group, resulting from the certain attributes people have, take advantages in certain activities.

For example in case of report and precise research tasks it is easy for the shaper to just work on the assignment and provide a perfect and detailed outcome. But the easier a task is for a shaper the more difficult it can be for a plant.

Therefore I believe that it is important to see the things from the perspective of every group member and communicate aspects beyond the work itself what includes of course the assignment of tasks but furthermore rising the awareness that everyone is different.

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Posted in All Students, Group 3, Work Teams
This was originally published at ChimpCommunity

A new network

I usually only used facebook for communicating with my established network. I asked and answered questions from fellow students in high school, talked about the latest news and rumors and made appointments for meeting my friends.

Now, since I’m in The Hague, my new home, my usage of facebook heavily changed. Everyday is different – different tasks, different challenges, different places and different people as well. As I meet more and more new people there is a new network evolving.

Facebook is a great help in building up a new network. There are a lot of people you get to know and it is hard to remember everyones name, their contact information and where I met certain people. With the help of Facebook it is easy to find the people you are searching for. You only need basic details of a person, like parts of the name or knowing someone who knows the person you want to find.

The new network grows and grows, but what about the old networks? My observation is, that I started to use other online features beside communication. As I’m not able to meet all my old buddies anymore I use the online network as a replacement of the real-life community. In this way I stay connected with my hometown.

I didn’t notice that I use Facebook different since I’m in The Hague. It’s not like I want or do not want to use this social online network but I realized that it’s already a kind of experiment. It just helps me to manage and organize my real-life networks.

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This was originally published at ChimpCommunity


Tracy was born unexpectedly Jan. 8, 2007, at Chimp Haven. Her mother was a chimp named Teresa, in her 40s, who had been born in Africa. Her father was unknown at first, because all the males who spent time with Teresa had had vasectomies. DNA testing pinned down her father’s identity. He was a chimp named Conan, who, once identified, had surgery to prevent further unwanted pregnancies. Teresa died around Tracy’s fourth birthday, but Dr. Brent says Tracy has become attached to other adults and is doing well. Since her mother was born in the wild, she was able to teach nest building and tree climbing skills to Tracy.

Well, guys as you saw, it’s easy to distract someone.

Distractions aren’t bad overall. When you do brainstorming, or want to collect ideas, distractions can be very inspiring because they let you think of many different things at one moment and therefore create a new mixture of thoughts.

However, when it comes to working things out any distraction slows down your work progress and although some people say they are good in multi tasking, humans aren’t able to deeply concentrate on more than one task at once. Besides reducing your work speed it also confuses you, and in extreme cases it can lead to blackouts.

Online networks are likely to be very distracting. For example, if we talk about facebook most people are using it for leisure time topics. Therefore, you can find tons of more or less funny but useless stuff. That’s why it could be very difficult to use such platforms for working.

That leads to the question:

If we want to use online communities and networks properly for improving the process of open innovation design – what do we need to know?

I believe that it is very important to find out how you can use an online community without getting distracted. To do something great, often you have to do it outside of your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a place without noises that doesn’t let you focus on the things that really matter.

Do you agree with me?

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This was originally published at ChimpCommunity