Well, as of now I know week one to be “What if? Scratching the itch”. Although I am still not completely clear on what this all means, I have found this state of confusion I am in (as well as quite a few others I’m sure), to be the purpose. And how have I been able to reach a deeper level of understanding about what I am doing? Through my online networks. Yes, it’s all starting to make sense. As designers we have a large database of information all around us- through our peers, our lecturers, and of course, our online networks. I have found that the first thing I do when I want to “scratch the itch”, is go online. Confusion makes us curious to find answers to our questions, and one of the simplest ways to gain new knowledge is to open our laptops and go online. Online communities and networks allow us to gain new perspectives, connect with other designers, market and test our ideas, and much much more. There are many things I personally would like to learn as we explore the application of online communities and networks in industrial design engineering, and I came up with a few learning questions of my own…
- How can the use of online communities promote diversity of ideas, as opposed to the use of only offline communities?
- How can online networks connect designers to the resources they need to market, fund, and get support for their ideas?
- How can we as designers learn together from using online communities and networks?
Through the platform of Facebook, I was able to gain some perspective on my questions from other students. But one thing I realized through doing this is that as we explore more about online networks, I would like to learn more how to best use online networks and platforms in a way that is useful as a designer, opposed to simply chatting through “social networking” on things such as facebook and twitter. As for responses from others to my questions, they were all quite similar, and positive. Most students agreed on the fact that online networks are a great way to gain new information and resources. Through online communities one individual may be connected with many more people than through offline communities, and thus you can learn new things that you may have never thought of. Furthermore it is easier to contact people who think differently than you, and is therefore an effective tool students can use to learn “together”, because online networks allow each of us to be a database of information that reaches much farther than simply a textbook or information from our peers. Access to a variety of different platforms enables designers to get new perspectives, and these perspectives are essential to the development of unique and interesting ideas that will make an impact. It is clear that online networking is a critical part of open innovation design, and students also agreed it is essential for marketing, funding, and support. Basically, if there is a platform where a designer can present valuable ideas in an effective way, then there will be somebody ready to fund and support them. Some common sites that came up in order to raise support were “kickstarter.com” and “angel.co”, and these allow designers to find support, funding and marketing. Finally, through social media designers can get in touch with social and proffesional networks of investors/ engineers and so on.
So to sum it all up, by getting a better idea of how we as designers can utilize online networks most effectively, we can further understand how we can learn “together” outside the classroom, how to “brand” ourselves on online networks, and how to gain support and funding for our ideas.