Every new hire receives the book “Bowling Alone”. My group partner, Guri Venstad, and I both took inspiration from this book for our final in Strategic Innovation in Product & Service Design. The book documents the decline in social capital in America. The example (and inspiration for the book title) is that although bowling has been on the rise since the 1980s, the actual number of bowling teams has decreased. There are fewer people sharing the sport together, which results in missing out on the community that can form around a team. Essentially, Meetup is trying to rebuild these relationships. I found myself thinking that my project with Guri was just a different answer to the same question.
There was a full day of orientation at Meetup, and while a bit dizzying to take it all in, was nevertheless very useful. One of the early parts of the orientation was with Scott (the CEO). He didn’t lecture us, and he didn’t show us a powerpoint explaining why Meetup was producing a better product than company “X”. Instead, it felt very much like he was trying to instill in us the ethos of the company. He talked about what he believed Meetup was, how our best ideas were yet to come, and he asked us genuine questions. I came away thinking that Meetup provides the tools for people to form communities. But first you have to gain these people. Individuals must see a value for themselves, before committing to a meetup. That’s the importance of groups, they provide a premise and a common interests for strangers to meet. Although people come for a specific interest, they end up staying for the relationships formed. Guri and I tackled similar problems in our strategy project.
When the CFO explained the Angel funding and the rounds of venture capital invested, I understood this from my entrepreneurship class. Which, coincidently is being taught by two great VCs from Union Square Ventures who funded Meetup’s last round of investing.
So there we go, I am working with Meetup to better improve user experience using basic interaction design skills such as wire-framing, mockups, and other visual design tools. But I am also thinking about what I learned in my strategy class, and I am understanding and appreciating Meetup in a way I don’t think I could have before tackling a project based around the same goals. And if I am appreciating and using my skills and knowledge from classes already, after only one semester, I can barely imagine how the next three will go.
There’s this trend with internet companies to rebuild relationships on a local level. Things like meetup, and activmob, and to a certain extent skillshare. I like to believe this goal is so popular because lonely suburban kids who felt disconnected from their physical locations are in the workforce. Probably not, though.
Obvs, I’m in charge of all the psychoanalytic slides in the pitch deck.
UnBox Fellowships provide an opportunity for chosen fellows to travel and work across a diverse selection of projects hosted in different parts of India. Anchored and led by domain experts, selected projects for 2012 include understanding sustainable lifestyles in Auroville, collaborating with craft groups in Rajasthan, sourcing fashion inspirations in the local textile traditions of Kutch and several other projects, each of which are at various intersections of design, development, technology and entrepreneurship.
UnBox Fellowships are a chance for a multi-disciplinary group to collaborate, reflect and work on projects while immersed in real-life contexts. The projects are designed to inspire and inform participants about the power of interdisciplinary thought and action and give a window into the complex and challenging landscape of India. Fellows will be sharing their experiences both online and through workshops and exhibitions at the UnBox Festival, providing an avenue to continue the conversations within the larger community.
Fellowship durations range between 10 days to a month and are scheduled to happen between January 01, 2012 to February 01, 2012. Selected fellows will be entitled to:
- • Fee waiver for UnBox 2012
- • Domestic travel and accommodation support for the period of the UnBox Festival (Feb 2-5, 2012)
- • Support for most project related expenses including travel to fellowship site, accommodation during the fellowship and production costs
There are no restrictions as to who may apply as long as you are able to demonstrate your passion and interest for interdisciplinary work. The DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS DECEMBER 20TH, 2011 and RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON DECEMBER 25TH, 2011. Some fellowships are slated to start as soon as January 01, 2012 and so applicants are requested to bear that in mind while applying for those projects. Also due to limited resources, all international applicants must make their own arrangements to reach India.
Please go through the description for each fellowship below - it is important you read through them carefully and understand the outline for each. Once you are done reading these, and are interested in applying, follow the link here to fill out the UnBox Fellowship Form. PLEASE INDICATE YOUR TOP THREE PREFERENCES- while our attempt will be to provide your top choice, it may not always be possible given limited seats per fellowship.
We are looking forward to hosting our 2012 fellows and growing the community UnBox patrons
See you soon !
Travel! Do service design! Good times!
Some people … say design is about solving problems. Obviously designers do solve problems, but then so do dentists. Design is about cultural invention. There are some people who want to reduce the domain of design to listable, knowable stuff, so it’s easy to talk about. Design is a glamorous, glittering world and this means they can engage without having to actually risk themselves on the outcome of their work. This is damaging. It turns design into something terrified of invention. Design is about risk.From an interview with Jack Schulze, co-founder of the highly influential studio Berg—a group of designers completely unafraid of the word “invention”. Interview responses #5 and #6 are pure gold. (via craightonberman)
How is this real?
We started LOOKBOOKS to empower creative professionals to grow their business with still and moving images. Our passion is architecting great tools that communicate the brilliance of our clients’ creative work through the web and social media.LookBooks. This sounds like a try-hard incubator project. Still and moving images? Such luxury.