Open, innovative design engineering is not a solo sport. Diversity of ideas, connection and learning with other designers and users, places to try ideas and find support are a critical part of the process. Our own learning together in this course is a concrete example. It is a reason to find multiple ways of “being together” beyond our physical classroom time and place. Without an “itch to scratch” we simple have software and empty online spaces. But with purpose, that itch, we begin to have possibility. What if we did X or Y?
In this course, we’ll explore a continuum of possibilities of tapping into communities and networks. Ready? Check out this weeks assignments.
Purpose: Establish a way to think about “purpose” and develop project purpose statements from among these variety of functions. Instead of starting with a conceptual framework, lets think about real life. Think about someone who wants to design a new innovative urban gardening system, or a safer child-toting bicycle. What do they need to succeed and how can other people in online environments help her succeed? What happens early on? What happens once an idea starts to take form? Let’s imagine we have an idea. Where do we start? Where would YOU start? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
- Open Innovation marketplaces (crowdsourcing, competitions) “itch” – 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/
- Design teams– what online architecture, tools and processes support successful design teams? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments?
- Fund, fun, support-raising (i.e Kickstarter, https://angel.co/, etc) – What online architecture, tools and processes successfully help connect designers to funders and investors? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments?
- Marketing products What online architecture, tools and processes successfully help designers connect their products to markets? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments? (Book: Finding the Sweet Spot)
- Customer Communities and Networks: Supporting selection and use of products What online architecture, tools and processes successfully help customers productively use the products the designers created for them? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments?
Team Assignments. After our first conversation is underway, we will set the scene for our team projects. You will be assigned to a team you will work with for the rest of this course to learn together and produce, as a way of demonstrating your learning, a multimedia report.
Scene setting: A large global NGO has identified the need to nurture more community owned innovation in support of development goals. They realize that people in developing countries and in other places all have ideas, diverse understandings of challenges and resources. By connecting those with needs and those with ideas into a more global innovation marketplace, they hypothesize that there can be more ground up innovation to help reach the millennium development goals. They have commissioned a group of leading young thinkers at an innovative university to “ground truth” their hypothesis by doing a study of how online groups and networks are supporting innovative design from the ideation through production and user/customer support phase for products and ideas that help communities reach their own development goals. Five teams have been identified to do a research and practice sprint over 8 weeks. The five segments they are exploring include:
- Innovation marketplaces and contests
- Global, distributed design teams
- Global, distributed funding and designer support networks
- Global marketing networks (with clear links to local marketing mechanisms)
- User/customer support networks (with clear links to building online → offline connections)
Each team will research existing groups, networks and mechanisms in their area to understand their purpose, membership, technical architecture, social architecture and how they measure their own success. The NGO requests that each team create a multimedia report which can be shared globally with their constituency for feedback of no more than 15 minutes combined running/reading time. The report should be in a format that they can present themselves in a webinar or can be viewed asynchronously. The presentation should be in clear, jargon free English as their constituency is global, many using English as a second language and most will not be familiar with many technological terms.
Teamwork Activity #1
- Get to know your team – who they are, their interests, and networks. How can each person be an asset in this project?
- Review your thematic area of responsibility and prepare a draft of what you think defines the value and purpose of your innovation area online group/network. What questions do you have?
- Identify some exemplar online groups or networks you might use as your research targets.
- Identify where your group will work online and post your answers there and then leave us a link here with the URL and group number. Thanks!
Personal Blog Reflection Overview:
Each week you will be given a writing prompt for you to respond to in your blog. The blog is viewable by all the students in this course and the instructors. If you have an existing blog with an RSS feed, you may blog there, tag it commproj12 and let your instructor know the URL of your blog. We can aggregate external blog posts into our site if your blog has an RSS feed. If you don’t know what this is, then just use the blog we offer you! 🙂
Your blog post will be reviewed as part of your final grade, looking for clarity of thought and expression and how well you back up your ideas with evidence (citations, etc.) You will also be asked to visit the blog of two other classmates, one within your team and one outside your team (you can pick, but we suggest you vary these week by week) and read and respond to one of their posts. This might be to reflect on what they wrote, offer ideas or other perspectives, or even a resource if appropriate. Why? Because design is not a solo sport — the networks we weave and interact with are part of our “capital” as designers.
Blog Prompt #1: Developing your/our learning agendas
Your first reflective blog post prompt moves from our general idea development to more concrete assessment: What do you/we need and want to learn as you/we explore the application of online communities and networks to open innovation design?
Instead of doing this as a discussion on our Blackboard forum, we are going to use your first blog posts as a way to try out “thinking individually in the open” and see what happens. Go online to your networks and take 24 hours to get their ideas and advice about what we should learn together. Capture the ideas and note where you got them and how you got them (what questions did you ask, what clarifications did they ask for.) This might be via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other social network you use.
For fun, you could even ask someone … IN PERSON! Post in your Tumblr blog your top 3-5 learning questions and a reflection on what you asked, who you asked and what happened WHEN you asked your network for their input on your course learning agenda. Please post this by 18:00 Friday, September 14th. Your instructors will summarize and share the collected set of questions next week.