Week X

Ladies and gents! We are almost on the finish line! We no longer count which week into the project – it’s officially a countdown!

This week was full of collaboration. At this point we are working with fellow watotos so well – we complement each other like the magical yin-yang of peanut butter and jelly. But it wasn’t always like that. It took us good 3 weeks to reach “Zen” of collaboration. I’d like to point out the fact that there are only two teams within our NGO group which was crucial for such an early onset of our strong cooperation.

10 people means more work done, right?

No. I’ve discovered that for us the biggest benefit of working in a larger group was not the amount of work done, but the quality of it. Having more minds on board allowed us to dig deeper in our research and more critically evaluate the challenges and propositions we defined for our NGO. Another great thing is that we are the “guinea pigs” of one of our own proposals to our NGO – the expansion of volunteer network. There are a lot of similarities between Stahili Foundation and our team in that matter. Stahili’s started of as a group of 3 with additional help of few wonderful volunteers, and with the amount of work they have right now they need to expand and diversify their volunteer network in order to maintain their rate of success. We, on the other hand, started of as two separate teams of 5 working on one goal, and very soon realized, that if we make it right, we will achieve greater success through collaboration. We tried different approaches in working in a large group before we discovered one that really suited us.

Our recipe to a successful teamwork

On Monday we gather together, review the agenda in the Manual and create our own interactive To-Do list. When we have defined tasks for the week, (for us it’s better to have two to three important tasks each week  – more tasks have negative influence on the quality of result), we split into teams of 4 or 5, according to one’s personal skills and desires. Afterwards we continue working within those teams throughout the week, and have whole group discussions at least twice during our meetings. There are several benefits of this practice – first, everyone gets to express their thoughts, second – each person concentrates on one team’s task, without having to switch between topics, and finally it builds up trust within our group.

Here’s some magic of our approach at work – last Wednesday our collaboration led to creation of a 2,5 m tall Storyboard.

Storyboard (flawless Manda on a stool for scale)

The evolution of our Storyboard

During the weekend everyone had time to reflect on the Storyboard we crafted on Wednesday individually, and one common thing that we unanimously agreed upon was that our story was too vague and complex for anyone outside of our group. We needed clarity. With few very useful insights from our teacher we created a guideline for the story we want to tell in the video. This time it covered not just the solutions to the challenges, but also explained why we chose these particular challenges and why is it essential for Stahili to address them first. Right now our Storyboard floats in digital space of Google Documents for each of the group members to see and improve.

What do we do now?

At the given moment, following our tradition, we split into two teams – one is working on the script of the video, and the other one is busy with researching technical aspects of our video-making. Every member has an assignment within his team that suits his or her capabilities best.

Above that, we are strongly cooperating with our NGO and look forward to meet with them again during our autumn break.

Life is sweet. So is my group.

Here’s something to read for desert – Watotomages – Reflection of week 7


5 thoughts on “Week X

  1. This is simply the ultimate end to a blog about collaboration between your two teams!! Bravo.
    As people that have been reading your blogs will know, your teams work really well with each other. What they can’t see, but is also true, is that you keep focused until the work is done. And done right. Even if that requires to take one step back and revise the work you already put a lot of effort in. Something not all teams can cope with.
    To give you a final collaboration challenge for the last week, my question to you all is: at the end of this project, what will your learnings be about balanced team / individual input? Your teams have shown to be open for collaboration outside the team, even outside the group – that is wonderful. However, don’t lose sight of the people closest to you – ask yourself how you can maximize each team members’ output to make sure that you do make use of all the knowledge, skills and energy that is available within your team. What ways of working can you identify that support optimal collaborative creation? For all team members.
    Enjoy your well deserved break!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good evening Marjanna, thank you for your respond! For me this Monday I realised something after your input. I was thinking that everything went great in both groups and everyone would be as enthousiastic as me, but it turned out that some people were not capable of expressing themselves as much as they wish to. For me I had that struggle in the beginning of this course, I was afraid of showing my thought. But this group made me feel confident about myself because we communicated a lot. They will let everyone speak for themselves and explain their ideas. We’re also honest to each other, which is very important. We’ll say when we can use something but we also give feedback if something doesn’t fit our suit us. This is something that more people in the group realize. That’s way they will speak whatever pops up in their minds but not taking notion of other peoples desires, some need some more time to formulate their ideas properly. It’s a miscommunication from both sides, some talk to much and to quick, others could be a bit more confident to say: hey I also have an idea! Today it went better, we dived into smaller groups so everyone could exchange their thoughts, we let everyone speak and gathered some really good ideas. I think the best way for our collaboration is split into two mixed groups, then you’ll have a fluent work progression instead of trying to mix 10 ideas into 1.

    Alisa you wrote a very clear reflection this week, we can feel the countdown on our shoulders. See you after the break, fresh and ready for our first filming session!


    1. Hello, Laura!
      Definitely! =) We’re not keeping our hopes too high, because all our NGO representatives are pretty busy most of the time and for good reasons (battling injustice in courts), so we try not to put too much pressure on them (Michelle in particular). We will make sure she sees the video by the given deadline, but I mostly expect their volunteer Gillian who is studying in our University to be there for the final presentation.
      As of now, Stahili’s are briefly informed on the content of the video – we discussed challenges that will be included in the video and brought them in on several solutions which will be described in detail in the video.


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