Rounding up

   Progress & thoughts about moving towards the final project…

  • Through this process of six weeks of learning and interacting with each other we were able to come up with a solid idea which took time and a great amount of discussion. The idea generation development took time and there were many ideas which were eliminated as the cons outweighed the pros. Although finally after reaching week 6 we were able to develop one idea which Shorty liked and was ready to proceed with.
  • The discussion and team work with our group is on track and definitely improving each week. Although, with the other tiny house group there needs to be more progress and more discussion on a daily basis to improve the final output which is the presentation and video.

What did we learn the most from all the past weeks reflection?

  • During all these weeks we learned the importance of each member and how effective it will be if each member is able to carry out their role well.
  • Communication with the community member Shorty and our advisor Nancy helped us keep on track of our main task and understand in which direction we should develop our ideas. Their feedback kept us motivated and helped us comprehend the Tiny House community better.
  • We were able to collaborate together better as the weeks went by and able to utilize our strengths together to achieve maximum output.

Collaborating with Tiny Innovators

  • Our group has already come up with the basis of the story board for the final presentation which is the solid idea of having workshops for community new-comers and enthusiasts by experienced people such as Shorty and other members. They can also earn some amount of money through this concept to help sustain the community and introduce more people to this new lifestyle making it easier to promote the concept. The script of the presentation has been outlined, but the storyboard is still to be improved within the week.
  • We wish to make the final presentation in the form of a video. Our team feels a video has several advantages over animation and it would speak more emotionally to the audience. The other tiny house has a different concept of having an animated version of the presentation. This is the area in which our opinions clash and we are yet to find a compromise.

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Why film a video?

  • Our team ‘Found in Transition” felt that the idea of having a realistic video will be more effective in having an emotional connection with the audience and they will definitely be able to relate more to the idea and concept. This is a much more structured idea.
  • We think a video is relatively easy to make even with rudimentary skills in cinematography, so we could spend more time on detail and quality and it would be easy to correct any mistakes and re-film anything that we got wrong.
  • Making a video would be more of a shared team effort and the work would not have to be left to the only one in the team who knows how to create an animation.
  • With little skill, videos can be made with diverse interesting methods, that can completely change around the mood of the presentation.

We are looking forward to making the final presentation video and collaborating with the other team. We will be in touch.

Sincerely,

Found In Transition

Expending our horizons…

This week we were concentrating on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding as a possible options how to help our NGO. We researched few websites and made pros & cons to get a clearer shot.

Crowdfunding

Kiva Zip

Pros

  • Cost %
  • A great community of lenders

Cons

  • Low loan amount
  • Speed of funding 3+ months
  • Some businesses don’t get funded because of lack of lender support, even though they have good endorsement.
  • Invite your own lenders
  • Specific loan terms
  • 15 days to invite the required number of lenders

Overall a great option if your business only needs a small amount and can wait for few months.

Chuffed

Pros

  • Keep 100% of what you raise even if you haven’t hit your target
  • They support 8 different categories which are devided
  • 100% free

Kickstarter

Cons

  • Their goal is to help new artists, musicians, designers not communities
  • If you don’t hit your funding goal in the specified time frame, you don’t receive any of the funds
  • You have to make a video about why you want to raise money

Crowdfunding is not that easy. It comes with a lot of effort and dedication, but if one puts in the necessary work, they can become successful. Crowdfunding is a great opportunity how to introduce yourself and your vision to the larger market and audience. Besides getting the financial support you can receive useful comments, feedback, ideas or find new loyal customers. But of course not every story ends happily and you have to take into account possible risks or failures.

Crowdsourcing

  • Ideaken – collaborative crowdsourcing
  • Innocentive – open innovation problem solving
  • Ideaconnection – idea marketplace and problem solving
  • Onebillionminds – online (social) challenges

Crowdsourcing can be very useful, because it can help in many different ways, for example:

  • Finding solutions
  • Collecting, organizing new ideas, opinions
  • Gathering knowledge
  • Connecting with different people around the world
  • Finding workers etc.

That’s why right now we are considering ways in some of these sites could be useful to our particular cause.

ngo

This Wednesday we also had a chat with Shorty about our newest ideas. We have two of them, which we already shared with her and later in the evening they will appear on the blog. Throughtout the entire week we met up as a group to discuss our ideas and possible actions, which helped us to get a clearer look on our goals and NGO needs. This week seemed the most productive, because we finally sorted out the bunch of ideas we had and picked out the best ones. Hopefully the next week will be even more productive.

Week 4 review

In week 4 we’ve decided to go in the financial problem direction. We have a few ideas. One of them would be to create a YouTube Channel. With all the ads that are shown, they could make a decent profit. It could be a solution to make the community more self-supporting. For the upcoming week we are planning to get in touch with some other Tiny House communities. We want to find out how they make profit and achieve self-support. We are also going to introduce some ideas for social platforms they could use to get more attention. We also thought of workshops as a way to raise some funds. But first we are  going to present the social Media Platforms we were thinking of:

What, tech-wise, can we offer our NGO ?

  • Youtube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • A mobile app
  • Google Ads (a proper website with information, rentals, offers, market platform, include all social contents)

If we talk more about the challenges our team must face during the year 2015 we found out that the approach we took regarding the Investor funding is on point. Our main goal to this is to establish independent businesses. Providing them with social networks we are taking a huge step forward because its basically the ground of any business to be established promo vise. Our ideas include renting the tiny houses or showing them around, raising awareness of these as we see it future home places for people that concern in living sustainable. Of course every legitimate business needs a proper establishment so we’re thinking to create an outside business of Brokers who could help a starting tiny house community. We view it as a very open market to do so. It actually should be a governmental concern but since it’s not we will take matters in our own hands. We already some landmark improvements to make them legitimate and sustainable (showers, public area, common kitchen, pole of postboxes, flag system to pay taxes being off the land.) Being students gave us the question how to adapt the Tiny Houses to student life. As well it’s in our challenges. We thought to start a small project in Scheveningen, Den Haag. There could be a relevant place to make use of this program.

In addition to this we would like to show you the paraphrased Interview with Shorty Robbins from last week. It shows what our main goal is.

S = Shorty

G = Group (Found in Transition)

G: „Could you send us some extra information about the community?“

S: „I will send it to you, it’s a description of all members of the group. What we all have in common are the Tiny Houses. There are truly crazy people out there in the Tiny House world. But that’s not us, we are just normal people in normal houses, downsized, and live affordable. We don’t want to change the rules. The younger people of our group are not conservative but responsible.

G: „What coasts do you have each month ? How can we make you financially sustainable ? “

S: „Our monthly payment is around 2000 U$ for the land for our community per month. Something simple, that’s what we are looking at.

G: „Have you already rented out Tiny Houses ?

S: „We don’t own the property yet, we’re still looking. We are probably 6 month to a year far away from the property.

G: „Have you found any options ?

S: „Oh yeah, there is lots of stuff available. There is a opportunity to take over an old Trailerpark. Where people living in Motorhomes. And not as nice as Tiny Houses. But they go out of business.

We have to decide if we want to change the neighborhood as well. There are options to work with the city. The own the land and you buy it back. There are many options looking where we want to go. We want to have space near water. I wouldn’t be nice in an area where it’s dangerous. We want a nice neighborhood.

G: „Would it be possible to take a Tiny House to an event to show people?

S: „Do you guys celebrate earthday ? For this event we had 4 Tiny Houses and over 2.000 people came. It was great. But there are only a couple of us moving round easily with their Tiny Houses. I mean i don’t mind, so i could move around. I want to travel with it. But a lot of them build houses with wheels to get it to the place where it should be. They just move it if they need to. They’re not planing to be as mobile as i am.

G: „Ok will give more thoughts on the financial aspect. And how to be sustainable.

S: „ That’s the big thing for us, how can we be self-supporting ? Don’t want to pay 1000 U$ per month. Then we could still in the big houses. Before we move in we want to make sure it is self-supporting.

G: „We were also trying to find a Tiny House Community in the Netherlands.“

S: „I haven’t been to my new sister’s house. But the old one was like a Townhouse. They don’t have any side yards. They are all build together on a street. But we don’t live like that here. I don’t think that the concept is as interesting for Europeans as Americans. Because you guys are already living in that. The closest thing to us would be a gypsy community. Except we don’t travel around together. We stay in one place.

G: „We will try to find more ideas and get in contact with Nancy. She might have some contacts for our ideas. Thanks for the info!“

This week in class we had to create a spider graph which shows the NGO’s priorities:Bildschirmfoto 2015-09-22 um 14.54.50

The most important is awareness for financial aspects. The NGO is looking for finances. We thought about Kickstarter, GoFund-Me or Google Ads. The next two on the scale are marketing and promotion on social media. The more people the community reaches out to, the more likely it is to find investors and new members in a shorter time. Creating and sharing content, of course, is the next step for gaining followers. All the above contribute to building a stronger network for the community. The last point, which is still important, although (we think) does not rank the highest, is getting feedback. It would help the community improve the content they share with the public and perhaps help shape their future plans.

A few ideas to begin with

IMG_0795We have been brainstorming this week and discussing ideas related to the Tiny House Project. One of the problems we wondered if we could tackle is financial support for the community, which is one of their biggest concerns. Of course, everything is still only on paper, but maybe one of these will eventually help raising some funds:

  • Renting out
    What about people who would like to go tiny, but have no idea if they can handle the alternate lifestyle? Why not try it out living tiny for a month or two before making the decision?
  • Community’s own workshop
    Organizing an open event from time to time to help the interested find out more about building their own tiny houses could also be a fun fundraiser.
  • „Peep inside a tiny house“
    Taking your tiny house on wheels to fairs and public events and letting people take a look inside for a small donation. Great way to popularize the community!</li
  • Making a catalogue
    Why not provide an insight – what materials to use for a tiny house and the approximate costs?
  • While not being the main focus, it wouldn’t be a waste to raise the popularity of this little community. Perhaps their own YouTube channel with a weekly “1 day in a Tiny House” video by various members of the community could prove an interesting advertisement.Besides funding, there is another obstacle that tiny house owners face – a house on wheels cannot be given a proper address. If you live in a tiny house, you may still need to be registered at a regular house or apartment, necessary for having a driver’s license, etc. Even though we are not yet certain that we can contribute in this field, the community could benefit from the opportunity to form, perhaps, an area where registration of tiny houses is possible. A small village, if you will, with its own post box poll and a community’s own flag raised high beside it and tiny houses parked all around…These are the first ideas on how this community could possibly evolve. As for our next steps – we will hear what our NGO representative Shorty Robbins has to say on everything so far and we will be sure to update you, our readers, as well.Sincerely,F.I.T.

P.S. Turns out photos cannot be added in the comments section, so here is an addition from our documentarian Elias. The team`s sweet spot, and the needs of our NGO:

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Tiny Houses Community. A start.

Yesterday we had a chat on Skype with Shorty Robbins – a representative of our NGO “Tiny House Intentional Communities”. Above all, we found out quite a bit about the community itself. They were founded in Florida, USA by a few enthusiasts. Even though they are quite small, consisting of approximately 10 families, they are gradually expanding, gaining more fans and members. This NGO is a community for people who are willing to go tiny.

What does going tiny stand for? For some going tiny means a drastic change of lifestyle. Members of the community live in tiny houses on wheels that are easy to move around. Such a lifestyle ensures a very small living cost, as you don’t have to pay a mortgage and things like monthly electricity bills are by far smaller than in your average household (possibly as small as $25). Not to mention that you simply don’t have space for that awesome yet expensive piece of furniture you saw in the shop the other day!

The idea appeals to a lot of people worldwide. Getting or building your own tiny house costs around $23,000, however, the house can be built in any stile you like. You name it! Some people, said Shorty, have sold a lot of what they own to finance the new accommodation. This small community Shorty Robbins is a part of, was founded about 3 years ago. The members are creative people who like to think out of the box. They started to set up the community through social media. The official Facebook page for Tiny House Intentional Communities expanded quickly and currently has around 3,000 followers. The community is, however looking for funding. Public areas, like a community kitchen, as Shorty told us, would come very much in handy for events and gatherings, for which tiny houses are not suited.

Now that the idea and situation of the Tiny House Community are clear to us, it is time for our team to start brainstorming and we are positive that in a short time we will come up with some good ideas to help out!