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March, 2012 Monthly archive

I’ve played around with the sound of an egg frying. It’s more a test than a concept. A go at creating an emotion from soundclips that have nothing to do with to feeling I’m trying to create.

The feeling is eary and avantgarde :) And it might be a bit to long

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In my tutorial Wednesday, Jonathan told me that there was research to what the ideal group size should be. I find this very interesting so I’ve been looking around the web and found a couple of post regarding this issue. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar has done some of the leading work on the subject, he has come up with the number 150 as the maximum number of relations that people can keep up with.

These two post by Allan Kelsey and Ross Mayfield look very helpful, I shall dig into them and see what I find for my project …

 

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Day 5 (Monday the 5th of March).

We gathered the students to tell them the result of our voting. We started out by announcing the winners and explaining the grounds for our decisions. The winning projects were the following:

Project 1
Project: Birdhouses that look like famous buildings from the area near the construction site (Nørrebro).

Project 2
Project: A giant sun dial that uses one of the fences of the site to cast a shadow on the other fence.

Project 3
Project: A large printed banner with portraits of doves on the site next to Copenhagen’s City Hall.

All projects won because the were very site specific in their own way. But we made it clear that all of the projects needed to be evolved before being executed.

The Start-Up

The three winning groups were now asked to take 30 minutes to talk amongst them selves on how they wanted to pitch their projects to the remaining students. All projects needed a much larger workforce to be completed and for the two projects where real physical work needed to be produced it was very crucial that enough people joined their groups.

Like in a real Start Up project, each group pitched their projects for the remaining students. They told them what they needed done, group 2 needed a new design for their projects because we had rejected their original graphics. This meant that people joining this group would be able to form the creative output more. Surprisingly this was not a very big turn on for most of the students who rather wanted to join the two other groups where their roles would be more predefined. The group pleaded for some more help and ended up being around 15 people.

The distribution of the students ended up like this:

Nørrebro birdhouse group (project/group 1): 30 people
Giant sun dial group (project/group 2): 15 people
Dove Hall of Fame group project/group3): 17 people

In the rest of this blogpost I will describe my learnings from their process – I will focus mainly on group 1 and 2 because these two groups were under the most pressure because they needed to finish, produce and build their entire projects within the week. Group 3 “only” needed to create a printable file.

We let the groups get back to work, as mentioned all projects needed to be refined. Also group 1 + 12 needed to make shopping lists for the material they needed buy to create their projects. In Group 2 some of the newcomers redesigned the graphics for the sun dial.

Day 6 (Tuesday the 6th of March).

My co-teacher and I started started the day separate places – some students from each group were in charge of buying materials and we decided that I would meet up the the students buying paint and brushes and Bue would meet up with the ones buying wood supplies and tools.

Group 2 was acting very homogeneous, they had met up 4 people and were very confident about what colours they needed, the students that had turned up were both some from the original winning group and newcomers. In contrast only one person showed up from Group 1,  no specific plan had been made from the group on what to buy.  It should be mentioned that more people from this group showed up to buy wood supplies with my collegue.

After buying paint and brushes I dropped of the the paint for Group 2 at the site, the students were already ready to get started with their project. I dropped of the rest of the paint a the school and I was picked up by Group 1. They told me that at this point they were still not sure how they wanted to decorate the fence behind the birdhouses, but they had bought wood and screws and were started on building houses. A lot of people from the group were missing.

A mentioned before Group 3 only needed to produce a print ready file so they were not as stressed ad the other two groups, like group 1 everyone was mostly focused on creating their own doves, but several of the newcomers also took responsibility for the project, it seemed though that this was a group that a few of the more lazy student hid in.

Status:

Group 1: The original four group members were struggling to leading the project and the rest of the students in the group were concentrated in working on their own personal part the birdhouses. No real structure, and there was no single person leading the group.

Group 2: Working very much as a group. Very energetic and everyone in the group felt like an important part of the project. Also, one of the students had taken a clear leadership of the practical process (though not creatively) which the rest of the members of the group seemed very happy with.

Group 3: Quite homogeneous, because they only needed to hand in a printable file the group clearly was under less stress than the two other groups, but they were having fun and everyone new what part they needed to play to get the job done.

Day 7-8 (Wednesday the 7th – Thursday the 8th of March)

These days were spent producing so I’ve decided to report about them together.

Group 1: When I arrived at work Wednesday I decided to start my day with Group 1. Only six of the 30 people were present in the morning and the four people leading the group came up with the idea were very stressed and asked for my help. I decided to write to all the members of the group and remind them that it was crucial that they took part in the work because otherwise they might not meet the deadline. More people showed up during the day but there were always people absent. It seemed like people were less engaged with the project as a whole than the participants of Group 2 (and Group 3). It should be mentioned that a few of the newcomers in the group were working extremely hard on their birdhouses and had spent most of their night at the school also, but there was in general never they same group ethic as in the other groups. It seemed like participants were more occupied with building their own birdhouses and focused on their own role,  than how the finished project would end up as a whole. But, as they got closer to their deadline, more people from the group started working much harder and both Wednesday and Thursday night there were many people working late, at times people were very stressed. Despite from this they ended up creating great work and actually, in the end only a few people did not deliver.

Group 2 and 3 worked very efficiently both of these days and did not need much help. It was very clear that the all participants of Group 2 had a strong feeling of ownership of their project.

Day 9 (Friday the 9th of March)

Unfortunately I could not be there for the final day of the projects. I was head of the crafts jury at the Danish Advertising competition Creative Circle awards. But I have received updates from students and my co-teacher Bue.

The last day of production was very efficient. The leaders of Group 1 had told all their participants that the deadline for the finished birdhouses was Friday morning, and two of the group leaders, and a third group member (+ Bue and I) had spent Thursday afternoon and night mounting fake grass to the fence at the site. This meant that everything was ready for the birdhouses to be mounted on the fence.

Group 2 and 3 a no problems meeting the deadline either (Group 3 actually finished their banner the day before).

And interesting thing for me, was to see how they credited their work. I told them that it was completely up to the groups to decide. Surprisingly none of the groups decided to give extra credit to the ones who originally came up with the three ideas, and all participants were credited equally.

Findings

  1. The project (group 2) that offered the largest responsibility and creative ownership had the biggest problems recruiting participants. But the same group had the best group dynamics and ended up being the most homogeneous.
  2. The project (group 1) that offered participants to play a smaller more individual role had the most luck recruiting people, but many of the participants felt less responsible for the project as a whole, and concentrated in their individual task.
  3. The participants of the project that had one leader were less frustrated during the process, than the participants in the project with no single leader.
  4. The original “owners” of the ideas had no problem sharing the honor.
  5. Most of the other students (except one or two people) were willing to take part in the creation of projects that were not their own ideas.

Conclusion

Surpringly, I can not conclude what worked best because end result of both types of processes were extremely good. Frustration can actually be a really good thing, and there is no direct link between quality of the finished work and the group dynamics. I guess it depends on what you focus on. If process is viewed as part of the result – then more responsibility and control of the outcome is really good – but if your focus is on the finished result it is not crucial.

It was very interresting for me to see how people loved the idea of getting a chance to create a personal contribution (Groups 1 + 3). It was clearly easier to recruit people for these projects. Even though they were not co-creating in the same way as Group 2 their project outcome was still social because they were working under the same framework.

 

80 meters of doves

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Here’s my log and thoughts about my co-creation experiment the last two weeks:

Day one (Tuesday the 28th of Feb.):

My co-teacher and I had put he students in groups of 4-5 people mixed between the three different courses that they attend in advance. The client (The Danish Metro Company) started out the morning by briefing all students on the competition that they were going to take part in the next two weeks, and about the different locations that they could use for their projects. The assignment was to create innovative and creative solutions for the decoration of the walls around three very different metro building sites. The students were told the three winners would be picked Friday, and that the following week all of them would need to work on the three winning projects. After a quick Q and A with the client, I briefed the students on the schedule for the two weeks and the went of to work in their groups.

Day two (Wednesday the 29th of Feb.):

The student had group tutorials with me and my co-teacher Jakob Bue. We insisted in talking with  all of the groups this early because of the limited time for ideation. Most of the groups were quite homogeneous at this point, but some groups were a bit fractured in preferences for the type of solutions that they wanted to create. The differences between the courses they normally attend were clear in these cases. We tried to talk to them about their differences and help them build a bridge between their preferences and talents. The most homogeneous groups were either: A group with a “leader”, groups with different “leaders” on the three different projects, and some groups just hit it off easily and had a very open attitude towards each other. Some of the more troublesome groups seemed more homogeneous after the tutorial with us.

Day three (Thursday the 1st of March):

This day was spent creating layouts and presentations of their ideas for Friday. Most of the groups had an effective day and created some very innovative and impressive ideas. The groups that were the most homogeneous were not surprisingly also the most effective and also having the most fun with the projects.

Day four (Friday the 2nd of March):

Presentation day. We had the client back in and the groups spent the whole day presenting their projects. As mentioned before the most homogeneous groups were the ones that had maneged to create the most ideas (and the best ideas) in the given time. Only one group didn’t manage to fulfill the assignment which was to do ideas for minimum two out of the three sites that were given. Some of the most interesting presentations were the ones where you could see the difference in the group members talents. E.g. Some of the interactive design students had created 3d computer visualizations of their projects. After the presentations, we asked the students to leave the room. The two representatives from Metro and my colleague and I then chose three winners. I facilitated this process quite easily by handing out different colours of post-it notes for all of us. Amazingly only one project for each site ended up with four posts-its and after a short talk through we decided to choose these four projects as winners.

To be continued: I will write about week two and post pictures tomorrow (I cant find my camera cable, so I need to get hold of a card reader).

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