Working with Github: version control and git explained

In our last session Kimmo Karhu (Aalto SCI) gave is a short introduction to Git and GitHub, some of the key contemporary tools out there to carry out open and collaborative projects. GitHub is mostly used by software projects to manage the code and contributions, however there is increasing evidence that these kinds of tools are of relevance for many other activities, sort of at the bleeding edge of contemporary culture, like this wired article (published only yesterday!) explains.

A copy of the slides(PDF) here

Git and GitHub means concretely more effective ways for designers (and other professions) to contribute to software and new media development projects, but in the long run it might mean also completly new ways of carrying on any kind of collaboration.

Thanks Kimmo for the intro and for holding our hands while writing on the terminal! It was fun ūüôā

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Lessons from Restaurant day mobile camp

Jonathan and Jyrki visiting our course

Jonathan and Jyrki visiting our course

We had the pleasure to listen to an enlightening talk by Jyrki Vanamo and Jonathan Ben-Ami about their experiences in organizing and taking part in the Restaurant day hackathon (mobile camp = 50 hours coding apps for restaurant day). A PDF version of their slides is found here.

The mobile camp was documented in this post on Futurice’s blog and in this video.

Thanks Jyrki and Jonathan!

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First assignment: Case studies of New Media for third sector and other social movements

We have made a booklet collecting the results from the first assignment. The students presented examples of movements similar in spirit to Cleaning day. These included e.g. Carrot mob, Beirut green project, guerilla gardening and much more! The summaries of each case are available in this PDF compilation.

Brainstorming while presenting Assignment 1

Brainstorming while presenting Assignment 1

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Getting people involved and engaged

Last session we had two nice presentations, here the links to the materials that Jaako and Sanna shared with us

How to get people involved (Jaako Blomberg) via slideshare. Based on Jaako’s experiences having participated, started, produced, followed and also being interested in all kinds of small and bigger “social movements”.

From Workshops to Hackathons (Sanna Marttila). Based on Sanna¬īs experience as organizer of few collaborative events and as design activist and promoter of Open culture and OpenGLAM activities in Finland.

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Third Assignment: Ideas for the Hackathon

The third assignment is built around collecting ideas, inspiration and practical information for planning, designing and producing our hackathon. The hackathon date is 15 of March (-+)!

1) Search for other examples on the web of past hackathons or hackday type of events. Analyze them: What happened? Where it happened? How was the day/days organized? Roles? Who did what? Are there some emerging formats for this events? Do this by collecting 1 or 2 cases. For each case you will write minimum 2 paragraphs describing the event your own words as comments to this post, including a link/links to the original sources of your info (You can e.g make a list of possible “good practices” you notice or a list of things to take into consideration, collect the good ideas you want to take from those experiences, share with the group why you pick the example and what can it teach us. Dont just copy paste what we ourselves can read from the website, add your thoughs and insights)

See e.g Berg Printing Hackday or OKFest Open Video Make session

2) Get familiar with some of the ideas that siivouspäivä team has had for siivouspäivä mobile app (read the document we will send you by email) and bring some others.

We will use all this material in our next sprint session on 22.2! There we will work on:

РMarketing the hackathon? (How do we get people to come? geeks and no-geeks, make  a FB event, posters, mailing lists )

– Inventory of Resources and focus (What is realistic to achieve? What code we have and what we need? What other stuff we have?)

– Logistics (Place, food, materials)

We have a small budget for organizing this! It will be fun ūüôā

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Second Assingment (Reading List 1)

Assignment # 2 consist of a series of  first readings + short summary, Due date 15.02.2013

Read all (3) three obligatory readings, then write a summary for one of them (which one for which student will be decided in class). Write your summary in English, length should be around 2 or 3 paragraph (max 1 A4) where you reflect on what you thought was interesting, worth noting or problematic from the reading and how you think it relates to our case. Make a PDF of the summary and send it by email to Joanna and Andrea no later than 15.02.13 10 am.

Browse the list of further suggested readings and links – read as many as you want ūüôā
(Contact joanna or andrea for access to the dropbox, not all readings are available online)

Obligatory reading:

Vancouver Citizens Committee (2011) Chap 1 Community Organizing. In The Citizen’s Handbook
The chapter is available online here:

Botero, A., Paterson, A. G., & Saad-Sulonen, J. (2012). Introduction Towards Peer-production in Public Services: cases from Finland. Helsinki, Finland: Aalto University CO 15, School of Art, Design and Architecture.
Available from:

Castells, ¬†M. 2007. ‚ÄúCommunication, power and counter-power in the network ¬†society.‚ÄĚ International Journal of Communication 1(1):238‚Äď266.

Suggested further readings:

Gillmore, D. (2004) We the Media  РGrassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
Chapter 7: The former audience joins the party. Available at

Dobson, C. (2003). The Troublemaker’s Teaparty: A Manual for Effective Citizen Action. New Society Publishers.

Engeström, Y. (n.d.). Wildfire Activities: New Patterns of Mobility and Learning. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(2).
PDF in the course dropbox

Garrett,R. K. (2006). Protest in an Information Society: A Review of Literature on Social Movements and New ICTs. Information, Communication and Society, 9(2), 202-224
PDF in the course dropbox

50+ case studies about how activists have used information and new media to create advocacy campaigns around the world.
5 Social Media Lessons From the Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort In Mashable

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First assignment!

Today was the first class day. We met Pauliina and Jaakko from the Cleaning Day movement. They gave a very informative presentation about Cleaning Day: how it was started, how it developed, what are the current challenges… Jaakko’s slides will appear here soon!

The first assignment (Due date 1.2 @ 13:00) is as follows:

1. Choose two case studies (per student) similar to cleaning day or e.g. Restaurant day, the Occupy movement, …

2. Write 1-2 pages about:
– How is the presence of these movement apparent online?
– What tools do they use, and for what? (FB, mobile apps, blogs, wiki…)
– Who are the organizers? Is it clear?
– What are their online activities and what are the F2F/physical world activities? How are these related?

3. Add 1-2 images from the cases

4. Prepare a print out of each case and make a PDF to share with the group

The aim of the assignment is to bench mark existing examples (document and analyze their strategies, their tools, their actions) to create a library of resources, a common vocabulary and raise questions.

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2013 case: ‚ÄúCleaning day‚ÄĚ

Social media tools and services are revolutionizing how we conduct our everyday lives, communicate and work together. ¬†Drawing upon the experience, insight and visions of Cleaning Day citizen‚Äôs movement in Helsinki ¬†(Finland) during the study project we will explore the intersection between digital media and tools, service design and activism through design research. Thus the project will seek to investigate current and future ways of leveraging new/social media services, tools and technologies to disseminate, develop and perform ‚ÄúCleaning day‚ÄĚ.
The course is structured around 4 main activities 1) contextualizing lectures and readings that bring the ideas and themes of the course close to the participants, on practical and theoretical level 2) benchmarking and case studies carried out by students 3) field work: organized around the organization and participation on  a prototyping hackathon(*) for mobile applications (warming up)  4) Design through social media bricolage: concept design and planning of small scale interventions in Cleaning Day via bricolage and remixing of current tools (main result)

The study project starts on January 25th and ends on May 31st in a joint session where results of hackathon and concrete interventions in the Cleaning Day of the spring will be analyzed and reflected upon

1. Contextualizing lectures and readings
Schedule to be announced in the end of November (includes themes such as: social movements, collaborative and open design, etc)

2. Hackathon as co-design
Participants in the study project will be  organizing a 1-3 day(s) hackathon(*) aimed at developing a mobile application (iPhone and Android) that would enable citizen groups to document via locative media issues of interest to their own activities (As use cases for the mobile app, we will have the Siivouspäivä and kotikaupunkipolut activities). The hackathon will seek contribution from a broad range of people (including other Aalto students) and as resources could use the existing prototypes developed as part of the ComeUp project (see

3. Design through social media bricolage
Planning, proposing and developing a series of interventions that could make use of social media networks, digital tools and networked media in general to to disseminate, develop and perform ‚ÄúCleaning day‚ÄĚ.¬† Students will be free to propose areas of interventions (marketing, coordination, planning, side activities, etc) around the concept of Siivousp√§iv√§. A requirement will be that the interventions do not require extensive new development activities but rather take advantage of existing infras in new creative ways and configurations and could be eventually tried out in the spring edition of Siivousp√§iv√§ (25th of May).

*A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in whichparticipants collaborate intensively during a short period of time (1 day up to a week) to produce working and usable software prototypes around a joint topic or application area.

Open to all Aalto students (use Joopas agreement if you are outside ARTS). To receive the credits you need to register to the course, using Oodi


Students interested in participating ONLY in the Hackathon have to register for it: Workshop II: Hackhathon (2 credits) – (use Joopas agreement if you are outside ARTS)

Info: Andrea Botero and Joanna Saad-Sulonen

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Meeting notes: kick-off on 17.10.

Juho took some notes, which I copy-pasted from the email to here (thank you Juho!):

Here are some notes from our meeting. Action points for the next meeting are at the end.

1. Course blog. The communication during the course would be done using whichever platforms and channels we see fit, but the primary hub for the coursework would be the (public) blog. Everyone will have admin rights to the blog to rearrange it and submit content as they see best.

2. Design consulting vs. brief-based contract design work. We discussed that this project would be more about practicing design consulting, rather than the traditional brief-based contract design work. This would entail having a close dialogue with the client in defining what the work should focus on.

3. Aidbrella. Ilona gave us an excellent presentation on the current state and goals of Aidbrella. She also agreed to share the presentation file with us for further reference. The presentation also included Ilona’s views on design requirements, focus areas and possible ‘separate projects’ to work on. These were discussed.

4. What are the important questions to address? We discussed the different approaches we could and would like to take to the design consulting project and what questions would be the most important to consider. Questions that were brought up were:

  • Who are the users? What are their motivations and needs regarding the service?
  • What kind of information can users share through the service and how is it structured?
  • How can users interact with the information?
  • How is time considered (i.e. how does the service recognize that some information may be out of date)?
  • How can the service motivate users to share/contribute information?
  • How does the service integrate with other services or social media platforms?
  • What are the assumptions that we (aidbrella) make in our design choices? Have they been verified?
  • What would the minimum viable product be? How could it fail?
  • What’s the value we (aidbrella) provide?

5. We agreed that we should think about which methods we should plan to use to develop the service further (hint: check book). These were discussed briefly as options:

  • paper prototypes
  • business model canvas
  • user-oriented models
  • co-creation
  • service canvas
  • benchmarking

6. Action points for everyone participating in the project, due next Monday or sooner*.
Think of three questions about Aidbrella and send them to Ilona (*)before Sunday. She’ll answer them in Monday’s meeting.

Think of what the next steps should be for the project (e.g methods?). What would you like to do and focus on?

Add your details on the blog’s “People” section. If would rather not appear under your own name, choose a pseudonym/avatar but let us know what it is.

Thanks for a good meeting. Let me know if I missed something.

See you next Monday!

Nest meeting will be on Monday October 24th, 5th floor, the room next to the Meccala cafe.

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Study project Autumn 2011 starts on Monday 17.10. at 12:00: Case Aidbrella

We are ready to start a new study project under the umbrella of the New Media Concepts for the Third Sector. To get familiar with the objective and the history of the New Media Concepts for the Third Sector it is good to take a look of the About -page of this blog. You may also find interesting the earlier blog posts from the earlier cases.

This autumn case is rather different if compared to the earlier projects. In previous years we have been working with large organizations, such as the Amnesty International Finland and World Health Organization. Earlier this year, during the spring term, our partner was the¬†Crisis Management Initiative ‚ÄĒ a relatively young NGO but already with certain establishment.

This autumn we will work with a startup NGO, called Aidbrella. From discussions with the people behind the Aidbrella I got an impression that they have a clear vision what they want to do. With startups, however, one should be fast to¬†change the strategy if needed. To test their concept it would be important to launch the first version of the service. I assume that in this we may also help ‚ÄĒ in a way or another. On the other hand, I want to keep the original idea of the course alive with this case, too: the focus should be in the exploration of new concepts.

We will have a half day (4 hours) kick-off meeting on Monday 17.10. starting at 12:00 in TaiK, Media Lab, 3rd floor lobby.  I will bring some lunch.

Meanwhile you may take ownership of this blog: Add yourself to the people -page, edit the the schedule -page and start posting to the blog.

Posted in Aidbrella | 3,347 Comments