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Juan Jimenez

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Do you know any online collaboration best practices?

Following Joe Delsen's lead and inspired by the TED talks, conversations and community we set out to create a collaboration which aims to help join passionate and conscious people with causes of global impact, such as: peace, hunger, poverty, climate crisis, education systems evolution, etc...

The idea is to help the world becoming a better place and faster. There are plenty of causes that have very unique takes on current global concerns and way too much people that wants to do something about it, we believe that a great way to contribute is by helping them get to the cause that better suits them.

One of the ideas is creating a database of current causes, creating a 'quick' profiling test/quiz that allow us to direct people more effectively to say 3-5 causes that they can choose from. This would mean long term relationship between the person and the cause that they choose.

One of the challenges we are facing today is that we've never done this before. This is why we are asking the TED community for help. Any best practices, tools, resources, tips, ideas, etc... that you feel or know can help us in this endeavor are welcome.

Right now we are using TED conversations, email, google calendar, google docs, shared mind maps (mind42) and skype as tools and resources for this project.

Thanks in advance for your time and participation!

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    Aug 30 2011: The most important advice I can give about collaboration is to make the experience as seamless for the users. Think of it this way, if there is a manual step in the process to collaborate then it is a point in which the process will break down. When selecting the tools for your collaboration project, they do not have to be the most popular, expensive, or even the best looking... they just have to work. Think in terms of workflows, what are the user roles (administrator, participant, etc.) and their functions (enable new members, initiate a process, progress a process, etc). If you can not pass the required information or content automatically through from one step to the next, you are likely to lose some people in the process.
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      Aug 30 2011: Thank you David. Any recommendations for the organization structure?
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        Sep 1 2011: Do you mean the structure of the body of people that would support the development effort? OR do you mean the structure of the technologies it would take to meet the goals you have in mind?
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          Sep 1 2011: Both structures David. The immediate need is a web design and web designers or app design and development for the seamless integration into social networks, as you suggested. Initially we can make lists of NGO's and categorize it based on people's interests. The interesting part here is assessing NGO's impact and influence. Perhaps the ulitimate goal is a rating and organizing sytem of NGOs that’s socially directed by people in many levels.

          Your idea of seamless integration is the key I believe and it’s the key in many levels. First in assesing our personal activities (living, learning, working, socialzing) and integrating aspects of it that contribute to our ultimae goal of justice and sustainability. Second in designing a collaborative model that is based on volunteer resources and third in utilizing open technologies. The immediate details are not yet within our grasp, hence our questions.
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          Sep 1 2011: David thanks for your active participation, to complement on Joe´s answers all help is more than welcome, if you feel you can share anything else, any type of information, tips or best practices in the topics that will be needed along this project please be our guest.

          What is your area of expertise? As stated before we are open to all help, specially in finding more people that share this drive.

          We are eager to learn and keep growing!

          Best regards,

          JJ
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        Sep 6 2011: send me the details about the mindmap and whatnot. I will be glad to help. I am an enterprise architech who can likely help with the organization and necessary components. Once the project is underway, someone (program manager) will have to take over the oversight of the code development. You will also want a lead developer that can oversee the development effort and ensure consistency and continuity. Ideally, the code base will adhere to a set of standards and development methodology so that it can continue to be maintained and developed despite transitions in the development team.

        davd.h.greenstein at gmail
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      Aug 30 2011: Thank you for that great advice David. Can you help us further? Do you know of any great tools that work well for collaborations? We're still in the process of organizing our team and we're using mind42.com to map our ideas and workflows but perhaps there are other great tools out there.

      This conversation of course is an open invitation to our fellow TEDsters who wish to explore translating our great ideas into collaborative actions. While we continue to converge and clarify perspectives in our conversations, perhaps we can at the sime time collaborate for specific projects that interests us? Aside from TED, what other great projects or NGO's that we are helping?
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        Sep 1 2011: "One of the ideas is creating a database of current causes, creating a 'quick' profiling test/quiz that allow us to direct people more effectively to say 3-5 causes that they can choose from. This would mean long term relationship between the person and the cause that they choose."

        This resonated with me in the first place and was why I responded to this. I view this as an application to be built on an existing social network. (IE: Facebook, Twitter, both) and enable people to get in touch with a group behind a cause to work towards. This can also act as a location to store internet links to related resources and go so far as socially tag and "like" content to establish relevance and importance to the groups' members.

        As far as developing and sharing the ideas, I like using SkyDrive to store a MS OneNote Notebook. I know I will likely get crap for suggesting a purchased product, but this one has proven to be MOST flexible and helpful to me when organizing complex projects with a loose structure. Once more defined, then there may be better tools out there.

        I am not sure I adequately answered the question... although there is nothing wrong with the best-of-breed solutions you have chosen for managing the team. Once you start developing, you will have to chose a language/platform/standards/methodology/etc. That may drive you towards sites like sourceforge, etc.