Back to the Future (Week 1.4)

There we were, full of enthusiasm and ready to make substantial progress. Everyone was excited to get started on this week’s tasks and what we had planned for our NGO. We were sitting in our Delorian racing full speed towards our final video. But instead of going through the wall into another time, we crashed right into it.

Our NGO asked us to come up with a social media campaign to increase awareness and gather young people with the same love for water to help the IWF. So we started researching on social media, planning campaigns etc. The we, as one NGO group quickly realised that we need to dig deeper. Way deeper. We had to start asking why. Not just once but several times. Once we had done that we quickly figured out that the social media campaign was just a piece in the bigger puzzle. A step to get towards what we actually wanted to achieve.

In order to help Francois we needed to first understand the NGO and its orientation and structure/activities. Nancy’s spidergram video proved itself to be of fantastic help. It answered questions but also raised a lot of new ones. We quickly understood that it was necessary to create 2 different spidergrams as the youth’s orientation differed quite a lot from the NGO’s current approach. (Spidergrams will be on our blog shortly after the visit of our NGO – watch this space)

If that is not an amazing lesson to be learned this week, then what is?  You need to crash and burn to learn. It’s as easy as that. Redefining our itch and starting point opened a lot of doors for new ideas. We had to take a big step back and control our speed to realise that we had been looking at the wrong challenge. We were trying to find technology first and then figure out how we can use it. The way better approach is – understand first, then see how technology can help you achieve what you want to do.


One man to rule them all

 The first thing we had to realise when working with the IWF is that it currently is pretty much a one man show. Francois is taking care of all interaction with other NGOs as well as website and contacts. This makes it extremely difficult for him to also be a tech steward in his growing (planned) organisation. We have to find ways to realise a social media campaign at the scale our small NGO can manage.

We are currently aiming to use Facebook as our main tool to connect young people in local youth groups and share their enthusiasm about water. At this stage we are still working on ideas on how young people can support the IWF and from there on will further evaluate our social media choice.

Several things play an important role when choosing the right technology. We need to take into account that the social media landscape is constantly changing. There has been a decline in young users on Facebook already and while we still aim to start off using this platform, our strategy needs to cover different outlooks for the future to take into account this fast changing environment. Have a look at this brief article linked below, a great insight on what is happening (even if you don’t notice it yourself)

Where are all the young people on Facebook?

Teamwork, teamwork, it’s all about team work

 This week we also approached a different team work structure. As we have agreed to work on a common outcome as one NGO group, we found working in role teams to be very efficient. It allows for a better connection between all 3 working teams and all results are shared with the smaller groups. Again group size of 3 people made it easy to discuss and get ideas going in order to then share them with the group.

Want some tech?

200_sThe core of all our work is Google. Google offers a complete solution from task lists, emails and chat to online collaboration on different documents, surveys and much more. The key to our productivity is making it all work seamlessly together. It takes some practise to get the hang of how all these tools work and are integrated with each other. If any team wants to boost their productivity or structure their work beyond the basic google tools – come talk to us. Also, please comment with what you think of the google suite! Do you use some of their solutions?


Screenshot at Sep 22 18-50-48This week has been full of learning for us. Understanding technology stewardship has helped us get the bigger picture and adjust our working style. The practices introduced aided us a lot in structuring our work and coming our existing technological knowledge with a better way to help our NGO. Francois will be visiting us on Wednesday and we have already prepared a full day of interacting and gaining more insight to further understand our NGOs opportunities and from there recommend them the appropriate technology.


10 thoughts on “Back to the Future (Week 1.4)

  1. As I read through the group blog posts this week I’m REALLY impressed, and yours is terrific. Seeing where you are learning, not just the technical steps, but the breakthroughs and HOW they happen as a team — wonderful reflections! I’m smiling big.

    In your NGO interactions I can see you ARE going deeper, understanding different perspectives. One thing you might consider is doing some probing about how other small, “one person” NGOs manage their work and leadership. Is there a community of such people that could be a resource to your and/or Francois?

    Finally, you are so lucky to have Francois come to the Netherlands. I confess, I am a little bit jealous, as I have yet to visit one of the ProjComm classes in person. That said, the hangouts have been so great, I feel like I am “with” you across the miles. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for the input! Finding people in the same situation as Francois and connecting him with them for exchange of knowledge and experience is a fabulous idea. I think we are focussing quite a bit on what we can achieve rather than how. I hope next week will give us a bit more insight as how to utilise networks and crowdsourcing to get our NGO up and running.

      Good to hear our blog helps you understand our work better – we aim to be as transparent as possible so people can have their input and contribute if they want to.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s good to hear that you guys got back on track after hitting a wall! Every team will hit that wall once, we had it our second week! Take that one step back and you’ll go forward two steps every time!
    For a discussion point: why don’t you consider another social platform if all the young people are leaving Facebook? Maybe you can think about instagram or twitter? If you choose Facebook you can also buy some advertising spots. It doesn’t cost that much and you’ll reach a lot of people. And while you’re thinking of google I’ve got something that’s a bit off track but maybe usefull: maybe your NGO wants to use google adds (so you can raise money) and google tags (to get the NGO’s site higher in the list when google search for water foundation)


    1. Hi Esmee,

      Thanks for your feedback – good to hear it is not only us that crashed 🙂

      We are looking into other platforms but so far non has ticked all the boxes for us. We need one that young people have easy access to and offers different tools to connect.

      We also need to be careful in how fast we want the network to grow – Our NGO is just one person and a huge network would consume time to cultivate. Rather count on quality than quantity here.


  3. It’s interesting to see that you chose to reogranise your group this week – we, the Stahili’s decided to try out this approach for research purposes and if that will be effective, we will look into forming solid work teams (so do keep us updated on that! =) ).
    I’m also interested in what was the process of division into these teams – did you split according to your assigned roles or did you focus more on personal skills and personality?

    We use Google Docs to write our reflection posts – recently writing them became a collaborative experience for our group. We also tried using it for brainstorming ideas for our NGO project, but we found that we work a lot more efficiently in presence of each other (otherwise we lack enthusiasm).
    As Client Services, I use Google to communicate with our NGO – most of it is e-mailing, but we also use the Drive to send pictures, videos and files.
    To communicate within our team and our group we use Facebook. Main reason – every one of us is used to it (it’s like a natural habitat), everyone get’s notifications right away and it serves our needs well.
    I’m curious about those “beyond-basic” google tools – where and when can we contact you on that matter? =)


    1. Hi Alisa,

      We actually split according to tasks and found that the experts (e.g. team leaders) worked most efficient together. Also having the production managers collaborate created more and better output.

      If you want to fin dout more about Google, just email me on We can organise a hangout and record it for others to see. What do you think?



  4. Hi there IDE Collaborators! Your team reflection looks great and finally you are on your way. I share your idea of using Google. This platform allows everything organising structure inside of our team, group and NGO. The InterHague also suggested to Stahili to use more Google calendar and Google docs.
    We also came up with splitting our group into another 5 people groups, as we have 10 people and 2 main challenges. Hope it is gonna work for productive generating of ideas, Because when it was whole group discussion we jumped into absolute mess with thousand ideas but no solution.
    Hope we gonna keep in touch about organising structure of our teams.
    Good luck:)


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