Our first theme (of five – learn more here) is the place where we first scratch the “itch” of design, where initial ideas are hatched. Idea networks. Open Innovation marketplaces. Crowdsourcing. Design competitions. They have many names and come in different “flavors.” What matters is they are wide and open enough to hold the diversity needed to really crack open an idea.
The #1 groups on Idea Networks get to explore what make these communities and networks useful — and where they are problematic. You will take a critical eye, ok? Here are a few questions to get you started.
What online architecture, tools and processes create successful innovation marketplaces? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments? I.e. http://africannewschallenge.tumblr.com/
What examples might you share of other idea and innovation networks? Add the links in the comments below.
Successful online communities need to be easy to use. No one is going to use a really complicated online community when there are other easy ones to use out there, they also need to be accessible easily. While using an online community someone needs to be able to do whatever he wants, socialize, find interesting things etc. easily and efficiently a point older communities did not really grasp so people stopped using them when something easier to use came out, that being Facebook.
Right now all of the communities that are actually being used are easy to access, use and share so people will chose them over the older ones and possibly new ones coming out without the efficiency the already existing ones provide.
The point I’m trying to make is that an online network needs to allow a user to be able to do whatever (s)he wants with ease and without much hassle if it’s going to be successful.
Throughout this course I’ve seen many different online communities, in all forms and sizes, with many different goals and subjects.
All of these communities have something in common: in one way or another they facilitate a gathering of people with a similar goal or idea. Whatever the community your looking at, the core thing a community means to the people in it is the specialized facilitation to perfectly nurture their needs in order to reach their goal.
The more successful a community is at facilitating those specialized needs the more popularity it will gain. Therefor a good community, to me, is a place where not only one idea or goal is the basis for that community but multiple goals or idea’s get a place.
That’s why social networks are so powerful they give everyone the possibility to create their own space and share their own ideas and goals, but still every one is at a social network to “socialize” (a common goal) but Facebook for instance now offers several other services such as group pages file sharing event pages etc.
These services attract people with a different goal to the site as well, for instance they might want to keep track of the latest party’s or maybe they want to collaborate with a group in a informal way.
In conclusion, by the end of this course I feel i have gained a greater insight online communities their troubles and solutions, big networks are mostly powerful because of numbers and small communities might be very powerful as well because of the focus on 1 idea or goal.
After these weeks working with the online communities, I can say the design and the structure on the online communities are really importante. Now a days is really easy to find a lot of online communities and platforms, but from my point of view they are never completely useful, because most of the cases they focus just in one thing ( for example twitter is just for sharing ideas and pictures, or skype is just for video chats) so I learnt that it is better if you design an online community that includes everything that a online person could want.
On the first place, to design an online community, you need to ask your target group what they want and what they need. A really good community would be a place that reaches several target groups with different interests, like Facebook, that reaches any topic that you can imagine. The only problem with facebook is that you can get lost with all the extra information. That is why my online community would be reaching a lot of topics, but it would be well divided.
For me another important part that you need to think about when you design an online community, is to decide how the users are going to communicate with each other. This is an important point, because you need to pay attention on how the users are going to get feedback and information about the pictures, articles, videos or documents that they are posting
From what I’ve learnt during this course the most popular online communities are the ones that prove to have the most functionality and ease of access. I will mainly be relating this post to Facebook a it is at the moment the most popular online community on the web.
Why do other online communities not have the innovation that Facebook managed to grasp? This is a question that I don’t think people think about. Before Facebook there were multiple social networks such as Skype, Bebo, Messenger, Myspace and more. The difference is that however good these social networks were, they didn’t have much ease of access. Certain aspects were blocked if you weren’t a “premium member” or finding people you knew was difficult. This is a main principle that online communities should think about.
After Facebook, Google tried to come out with their own social network as well, they called it Google+ (G+). I joined this social network because their promotional video really emphasized the functionality of the community. It also had a great function that other networks lacked: the option to host group video calls without having to “go premium” (paying extra money for more functionality). I was quite sad when i joined G+ because nobody else seemed to want to join it. This was mainly because people couldn’t join it. G+ was given to the public as a beta to see if people would like it or not. The only problem is that the only way to get the beta was through an invite. Not enough people could test it and the result was that nobody bothered to change from Facebook to G+ when it as released.
To conclude, the main principles to follow to have a good online community is to make it fully available to the public, make it easy to use, easy to share and easy to find people without the need to leech money of the public to make “premium” services available.
When given a challenge I always try to find out how to solve it myself first. I think the best way to have a go at something is to try it on your own because it shows your true beliefs and what you think looks good. It shows how you work on your own and how efficient and effective you can be. If I really get stuck I would research potential solutions on the web.
With a finalized design I would to ask an online community as a form of research to see how I could further improve my work. When I know I have a good design and the public enjoys the product, I can then move towards publishing the design on another online community such as Kickstarter to develop my product and get it out into the public.
Yes, I would definitely get involved in the online communities we’ve been researching and my choice will be heavily dependent on the design challenge I’ve been given. Our team has been looking into Facebook and Kickstarter. Kickstarter would be amazing for the fund raising part. It’s very easy and simple. Facebook has a much wider community, so it would be easier for people to share my idea to their friends. By doing so, my design project will get some free publicity and I can get a small community talking about it. Sometimes it’s hard to get in touch with the desired market through Facebook.
I could use one of these two websites mentioned above but I would also think of researching into a more specific website for the design I want to do. I will need to define the targeted community and do my research accordingly. Which forums/imageboards/blogs are they using? I’ll have to get familiar with their networks and come up with a way to appeal to them.
There are a lot of online communities you can go on if you have a design challenge, depending on the type of thing you want to design you can choose a number of different communities depending on the people using those communities. Of course the project would start off on facebook as it has the biggest community, after that I would narrow down to the ideas i think would be the best and find forums that specialize on those kind of things and some more relevant forums from which I would be able to find some ways to make the ideas even better, after going through those forums and facebook though I wouldn’t stop, from the forums I would get the specialized advice I needed but after that getting the idea down and putting it again on facebook and other online platform communities would be the best idea as it would make it more open and more people would be able to see it and give their thoughts on it making the whole run even better.
What if I had a Design challenge which I needed help on? Where could I find the best support and creative thoughts. There so many platforms out there which all provide for a different audience.
So having made that conclusion, I’d look at what kind of project I have on my hands and try to find a fitting platform for the problem I’m dealing with. Some choices are pretty straight forward. For instance you’ll probably get the largest audience via facebook since it has the largest community.
But maybe I’m dealing with a technical problem? I’m might try to go to Instructables.com which have loads of different DIY projects and a great community to help you out, although forums do great as well they are focused slightly more on a specific subject.
On the other hand I could be having a funding problem, in which case the obvious way to go is a crowd funding site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Finally collaboration works great on basecamp or google docs.
In the end every problem has a different solution, which is not strange since each and every problem is different. Though if you want to reach the full potential of your project you shouldn’t stick to one platform.
If I had a project I’d make sure it was available on a lot of platforms, so as to reach a wider platform, more and wider range of feedback and convenient for most any situation. Defining it more closely: a basis in Facebook (which everyone uses daily) a crowdfunded part to define and/or create a market with buying customers. And a blog! Especially the blog is important, since you can change the way in looks to fit you project, you can get feedback easily, and make it feel more personal.
If I had a design challenge of course I would join and participate in an online community, for example I would use Facebook, because that is the main online community that I have been working with. From my point of view Facebook is the most important online community, because a lot of people in the world use it, and you can find any kind of person, from almost any age, with different interests and different points of view.
For my design challenge, first I would find my target group, and after that, I would upload pictures or videos about my ideas so I can get feedback from the people interested on my design. Also I would put tests and questions so I can know everyone’s opinions and preferences. After seeing the results is going to be easier for me to be done with my design because I am going to know exactly what my target group wants.