Week 3: Work Teams

Week of September 14, 2015

flickr photo by Budzlife  shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

flickr photo by Budzlife shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Learning objective

  • Students can describe what the ideal work team looks like for their project and tell us why.
  • Students can analyze, explain, and evaluate what they have already learned about the themes:
    1) Work Teams, 2) Technology Stewardship and 3) Idea Networks, Online Social Structures and Crowdfunding/ crowdsourcing, (starting now) and continue to demonstrate these skills in their weekly blogs.
  • Students can learn from previous reflections and build on these so that the knowledge grows instead of repeating the same mistakes.

What does the ideal design Work Team look like?

Last week we began by meeting the NGO and finding an “itch”.

Now you need a strong team to respond to the itch. This week we will blend the second “insight i” with the third i, the i for idea; experimenting towards the start of potential solutions.

We’ll dive into issues such as productive team practices, group size and composition and the impact on open innovative design. Our first question for the week is therefore, “What size and type of group is most useful for the different aspects of open and innovative design and why?” How does this show up in your team? What might you do to make your team stronger?

Then we will weave in some secondary questions and observations about time, cultural diversity, and interdependencies between group AND team members, and then begin applying these ideas to our projects.

Teamwork Activity: Analyzing Examples of Social Architecture

You’ve heard the aphorisms. “One is the loneliest number.” “Three’s a crowd.” “The more the merrier!

This week our discussion will focus around some of the variables in online social groupings, starting with size.

Think about past experiences: when has it been easy to brainstorm and find ideas? Work on interdependent tasks? Think and discuss deeply? Toss around ideas casually? How big was the group? What was the context: online, offline, synchronous, asynchronous, culturally homogeneous or diverse? Was it slow or fast? Tell us a story and then let’s look at the implications for using online groups for open, innovative design and in the context of your project groups.

Find and analyze at least two online groups that apply to your area of research.

How are they using group size effectively or not? How are they using cultural diversity effectively or not? What is the evidence of interaction over time and how is that related to the success of their endeavours? What kind of tasks, or jobs, do the different members have? Do these come together in a group Sweet Spot?

Don’t forget to be in contact with your NGO and with Nancy and/or Alan each week.

Personal Blog Reflection Prompt:

What is working well for you in your group? What did you learn from the past week’s reflections? What is challenging you? What is one thing you might do differently in the coming weeks to improve your experience and the group’s work?

During this course, we will look at the individual posts on the team’s blog discussion. Which discussion will catch the most comments or generate the most valuable feedback? Which blog will have made the most impact at the end of the course? We will be asking you this as well.


The Dunbar Number as a Limit to Group Sizes (Life With Alacrity)

Community by the Numbers, Part One: Group Thresholds (Life With Alacrity)

Community by the Numbers, Part II: Personal Circles (Life With Alacrity)

resources in delicious tagged “group threshold” by Christopher Allen

The Group Pattern Language Project

Chris Corrigan on Group size (video)

Week 3 Tasks

Team Project Leader

Responsible for:

  • Manage effective and efficient workflow.
  • Track tasks (completed, pending, etc.)
  • Ensure balanced team effort, making sure that everyone has a valuable input/production.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Check the week’s specific tasks on the ProjComm website and ensure you understand them. Get help if needed.
  • Facilitate the team meetings and go through the action list. Has the work been done? Does anyone need help?
  • Watch the week’s video with the team. Help field any questions or follow up required.

Client Services

Responsible for:

  • Initiate and manage communication between the team, tutor, Nancy/Alan & NGO (voice at hangouts/skype sessions).
  • Ensure knowledge about the NGO is shared between team members, between the various teams working on the same NGO.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Give feedback on the blog and other teams’ blogs around the client work.
  • Share updates about your NGO verbally and on your team blog.
  • Find out what questions the team has for the NGO and hold for the next NGO meeting.


Responsible for:

  • Visually and/or textually document the design process, including the challenge being addressed, client information, weekly accomplishments, and remaining tasks.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Draw and describe the team sweet spot as learned in Personal branding. Only now on your team log as a drawing. Thus making visual which Passions, Gifts and Purposes you share in your team.
  • Communicate visually the needs of the NGO on the team blog.
  • Capture key images, audio or video that might be used in your team’s final video. You may wish to tag material with key ideas for easier finding/organizing in your final video.

Technology Steward

Responsible for:

  • Help select and set up technical tools to support your teamwork, especially the team blog .
  • Technically set up and support hangouts/skype meetings.
  • Provide technical support to your team members.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Check to see if the individual results are visible on the team blog. Ensure proper use of categories and tagging for aggregation.
  • Assist teammates with adding blog posts.
  • Technically host team hangouts/skype meetings. Make sure meetings are recorded if needed and links to the recording are shared on your blog.
  • Begin to identify tools needed for video production. Figure out how the production team will learn/use these tools.

Production Manager

Responsible for:

  • Look for ideas and materials for the final production during the entire 8 weeks of the course.
  • Assist in identifying useful groups and networks that can be tapped as resources or references for the final video/product.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Communicate how the team sweetspot helps your team during your investigation into the ideal work team for your NGO?
  • Discuss with your team and describe this final ideal work(design) team for your NGO in the blog.
  • Understand and explain STARR reflections with your team .
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