Hadil Marzouq FS
- 1 Reading Responses
- 1.1 The Messy Minds of Creative People, by Scott Kaufman
- 1.2 Ideas for Startups, by Paul Geaham
- 1.3 Harvard Business Review articles:
- 1.3.1 Design Thinking, by Tim Brown
- 1.3.2 Design for Action, by Tim Brown and Roger Martin
- 1.3.3 What is Strategy? by Michael E. Porter
- 1.3.4 The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy, by Michael E. Porter
- 1.3.5 SWOT Analysis I: Looking Outside for Threats and Opportunities| Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy for your Business
- 1.3.6 SWOT Analysis II: Looking Inside for Strengths and Weaknesses | Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy for your Business
- 1.4 Experience Prototyping | Marion Buchenau, Jane Fulton Suri
- 1.5 The Design of Everyday Things | Don Norman
- 1.6 Business Model Generation: Business Model Canvas | Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
- 2 Business Ideas
- 2.1 Global Mediation
- 2.1.1 About
- 2.1.2 A brief analysis of my approach
- 2.1.3 Examples of discussion topics to be discussed on the website
- 2.1.4 Potential Competitors
- 2.1.5 SWOT Analysis
- 2.1.6 First draft prototype
- 2.1.7 Second draft prototype
- 2.1.8 Narrative Description|
- 2.1.9 Site Map
- 2.1.10 Logo ideas and web pages mockup
- 2.2 Global Dictionary App
- 2.3 Phone-Free Zone device
- 2.1 Global Mediation
The Messy Minds of Creative People, by Scott Kaufman
My first time experiencing how messy creativity can be was in my freshman year of high school when I decided to build a protection system that can be installed on any machines with sharp blades to protect workers from getting injured. Despite the fact that later on I found out that very similar ideas have been already implemented in several countries around the world and my idea isn’t as original as I thought it would be this was certainly a learning experience for me that radically changed the way I look at creativity. I started thinking about this project after an accident happened to my neighbor in which he lost two fingers while using a saw to cut wood. It was a very basic idea I came up with. Eventually, the final product came out much simpler than I was aiming for mainly because as a Palestinian living in a conflict zone I wasn’t allowed access to certain sensors and advanced technology to use.
To being with, I believe that creativity isn’t a characteristic some people have and other lack; creativity is for everyone. Creativity became a very complex form of common sense in our modern world mainly due to how technologically advanced we became. Critical thinking and solving problems we face is simple and easy when we allow ourselves to think about possible solutions not go out to find already existing ones. Nowadays successful technology what provides us with designs that are easy to use, while at the same time consume the least of our energy and require a small portion to nothing of your time. Hence, people become increasingly reliant on technology and when others try to be creative “they are seen as weird, odd and eccentric.” like Scott Kaufman describes it.
Later in the article, Kaufman talks about the stages of creativity ــGeneration and Selectionــ, and describes the importance of developing our ideas into something valuable to the society as a necessary part of the creative thinking process. He also add that everyday creative activities is what helps strengthen both stages of creativity. Creativity produces technology that we need and this technology endangers our ability to be creative in return. Therefore, another stage of creativity should be: How to be find solutions to encourage people to think as well as solve their problems.
Ideas for Startups, by Paul Geaham
To startup we need a problem to solve, or a service/product to offer/produce which will address a need that nobody had called attention to before or find an already existing solution for a problem and make it easier to use/cheaper to produce. In our modern society, most things which worth profit or money are prioritized over anything else. Profit is made by producing what people like and want, and as Milton Friedman said: “There is one and only one social responsibility for business- to engage in activities designed to increase its profit”. I feel like here is when business becomes a problem not a solution.
Often times when we face a problem we tend to move on and find an alternative way to accomplish what we need, which is solving the issue without addressing it. Thus, developing the habit of the mind to always think about generating new ideas and thinking critically was one of the most useful tips I found in this article.
Harvard Business Review articles:
Design Thinking, by Tim Brown
As Tim Brown defines it, design thinking is a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos, which in return contributes towards stimulating market growth for the product. Brown considers the need for a market transformation from industrial physical manufacturing to knowledge work and service delivery to be more important than ever. This is mainly due to the absence of innovative thinking to solve important issues seen everywhere around the world, such as: education systems that fail many students, unaffordable health care, poverty limiting people's access to basic services and many others. Therefore, part of the solution is new and creative ways of addressing the problems we face. Identifying factors such as: the issue, the group of the population it is affecting, their unmet needs, their preferences, the constrains of the already available solutions, how to deliver the service/product to the targeted population, and so on. This will help the producer learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the idea.
Brown introduced three spaces, Inspiration, Ideation and Implementation, which any project goes through upon its completion. The Inspiration is the product of our reaction to the circumstances around us and our desire/motivation to find a solution. The second phase, Ideation, is the process of rethinking our initial solutions and proposing new ones by trying to address the issue differently and developing our knowledge of the situation. Implementation is the final stage where the path the product is taking to the market will be decided.
When a new product that provides consumers additional benefits or the same benefits as an already existing product but at a lower cost is introduced to the market consumers will most likely switch to buying this product, thus the producers gains a competitive advantage over his competitors. Innovative thinking, or design thinking, if practiced correctly, becomes a key to gain a competitive advantage in the today's market.
Design for Action, by Tim Brown and Roger Martin
Stanislavsky once said, “Generality is the enemy of all art.” I consider innovation to be a form of art and therefore, according to Stanislavsky, generality and innovation don't go together. Tim Brown, Roger Martin would agree too as they said in the article, "Innovation is a multistep process consisting of many small ones, not a few big ones."
Designing a new Peru example and Carlos Pastor's approach to trigger a social change through changing the education system was a great example thereof.
Involving all the relevant stakeholders, parents, students, teachers, businessmen, designers and many others in the process of thinking and creating a solution was the other very important technique Rodríguez-Pastor used to insure the success to his final project. This example reminded me of a CAPA fellow, Veronica Gunn, and a project she designed which failed to accomplish it's purpose due to the lake of stakeholders input during the designing process. Veronica Gunn, Medical Director of Community Services at Children’s Hospital and Health System in Milwaukee, said,"With health care, the literature indicates that solutions to our nation’s challenges lie in the creation of environments that enable and support healthy behaviors. This national ‘evolution’ of wellness will be motivated and sustained by a willingness to change at the community level." Veronica's passion to develop the wellness of the American society lead her to decide to build a playground for children to develop their wellness. After the project was completed Gunn discovered that this solution isn't suitable for the problem due to social factors she was unaware of.
New innovations are able to trigger social transformation as long as all the relevant parties are included and fear of the unknown is avoided during the brainstorming and designing process. This may bring new insights to the table which may lead to a new kind of business and introduce the need to involve more stakeholders. In innovation this isn't considered an end but rather a new start.
What is Strategy? by Michael E. Porter
Strategy as Michael Porter describes it is the creation of a unique valuable position, involving different set of activities which fit with and complement one another. A strategy won’t be distinctive or have a sustainable advantage without a set of activities that reinforce one another. Therefore, trade-offs are also an essential part of any strategy as they require change and choices to be made when the company’s activities are found to be incompatible. A unique strategic position attracts imitation and therefore an activity set functioning as a one whole system causes rivals to get little benefit from imitation unless they successfully match the whole system. Strategy helps companies to establish a difference in the market which, if preserved, allows them to outperform rivals. The job of a strategist is to understand and cope with competition.
Companies can base their strategic position on: ‘’customers’ needs’’, ‘’customers’ accessibility’’, or ‘’variety of company’s products or services’’. Whichever sources the company’s position emerges from cannot be mutually exclusive and have to overlap.
A misguided view of competition, organizational failure or the desire to grow is usually the cause of a company's failure to have a strategy. Often times, focusing on growth comes with an opportunity cost of undermines competitive advantage through creating compromises and reducing fit.
‘’’’’What is strategy not?’’’’’ Operational effectiveness in the market is not strategy. Developing and improving operational effectiveness is a necessary part of management. This requires flexibility and efforts to be directed towards achieving the best practice, as well as a continual improvement everywhere there are no trade-offs. Having a good strategy and failing to accomplish this creates vulnerability in the company’s position. On the other hand, strategic continuity goes beyond focusing on competition to using activities aiming to shift the productivity fortier, extend its uniqueness and strengthening the fit among all activities.
The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy, by Michael E. Porter
Competition for profit goes beyond competition with established industry rivals to include: ‘’customers’’, ‘’suppliers’’, ‘’potential entrants’’, and ‘’substitute products’’.The rivalry resulting from these five competitive forces helps shaping the nature of competitive interaction within the company and defining the industry's structure as Michael Porter explains it. The set of economical and technical characteristics of an industry determines its structure and the strength of each one of the five competitive forces.
Understanding these competitive forces and their underlying causes provides a framework for anticipating and influencing competition and profitability. Understanding the way industry structure is shaped is also important to develop an effective strategic position.
‘’’Analysis of Potential entrants as a force that shape competition:’’’
I choose to summaries one of the five forces that shape competition, potential entrants, as I personally relate to it at this stage and it introduced me to new ways of thinking.
Normally, new entrants face to an industry struggle on their way to gain market share, which threatens their entry. The barriers new entrants face should be assessed in relation to the capabilities of potential start-ups, foreign firms, or companies in related industries. There are seven major resources to barriers new entrants face:
- Already existing firms producing at larger volumes and lower price- supply-side economies of scale.
- When buyers’ willingness to consume a product is influenced on other buyers who also patronize the producer- demand-side benefits of scale.
- Customers switching costs; the higher the switching cost the harder it will be for a new entrant to gain customers.
- Capital requirement: large capital investments may be required in order to compete can deter new entrant. However, the extent to which capital requirement deters new entrants is highly influenced by how attractive the industry returns are, if they are expected to remain attractive, and how efficient the capital markets are. If the market atmosphere seem promising investors may offer to provide new entrants with the funds they need.
- Incumbency advantage independent of size: Incumbents sometimes have cost and quality advantages arising from proprietary technology, preferential access to good raw materials, geographical location, brand identity, or the ability to produce more efficiently due to more experience in the market.
- Unequal access to distribution channels: the more limited the wholesale or retail channels are, and the more that existing competitors, the harder it is to secure distribution of the product/service offered and thus the tougher entry into an industry will be.
- Restrictive government policy.
Understanding the five forces that shape competition is a crucial and very important point for developing a strategy; mainly because they reveal significant aspects of the competitive environment and also provide a baseline for sizing the company's strengths and weaknesses up. This will help the company to position itself in the market where it is easy to defend competitive forces or where these forces are weakest.
SWOT Analysis I: Looking Outside for Threats and Opportunities| Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy for your Business
SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
Strengths are capabilities that enable the company or unit to perform well.
Weaknesses are characteristics that prohibit the company from performing well and need to be addressed.
Opportunities are trends, forces, events, and ideas the company can capitalize on.
Threats are possibles events for forces outside of our control that the company needs to plan for/decide how to mitigate.
External analysis is the essence of formulating a competitive strategy. External analysis involves relating the company to ts environment, all the stakeholders and regulators, as their actions in the market can impact the profit potential of the company. < br />
Some external factors companies study to help them understand and uncover threats and opportunities: customers, pricing constraints, competitors, distribution issues, technology, macroeconomy, regulations, workstyle trends, major uncertainties, suppliers, potential suppliers, potential customers.
The workstyle and lifestyle trends are likely to affect a company's growth potential and development. This topic analysis is mainly important for travel, restaurant, hospitality, and mobile computing and telecommunications industries. Understanding the price sensitivity of customers and elasticity of demand is important to predict the customers response to price change. This could be determined by questionnaires and direct experiments in the local market.
Defining the arena of competitors involves answering the questions:
- Where is your company competing?
- Who are your competitors?
- How much do you know about their strengths and weaknesses?
- How attractive is the competitive arena?
- Are you aware of emerging arenas of competition?
Your competitors are the other industries who try to steal your best customers. Defining the arena of competition is a very important part of examining the external environment and building a competitive strategy.
Technology is a major driver of the modern economy. Technology represents both threats and opportunities to any industry; threats in the sense that new technology may undermine the existing technology used in your business and technology can provide powerful opportunities for companies that commercialise it in ways that provide clear benefits and value to customers. Finally, no external analysis is complete without discussing Porter’s framework. This framework is a tool companies use to get an analytical grasp on the state of competition and the underlying economics whiting an industry. It also allows the strategist to expand their analysis of forces who may affect the industry’s potential profitability and growth beyond current competing rivals. These forces could be threats of new entrants and the bargaining power of suppliers and customers and substitute products or services.
SWOT Analysis II: Looking Inside for Strengths and Weaknesses | Strategy: Create and Implement the Best Strategy for your Business
Knowledge of the inner world imparts a practical sense about what company goals and strategies are most feasible and promising. Some factors internal analysis should include in order to evaluate the company's strengths and weaknesses: core competencies, processes, financial condition, and management and culture.
Core Competency refers to a company’s expertise or skills in key areas that directly produce superior performance. A core competence is a potential foundation for any new or revised strategy. Answering the question what are your company’s core competencies should not be simply stating what the company does. The answer should determine what the company is uniquely good at, what are the key activities that turn inputs into outputs and the customer value of your product or service. One way to assess the relative power of your core competencies and core processes is through ‘’benchmarking’’. Benchmarking is rating one’s activities against similar activities performed by organizations recognized for the best practice. Benchmarking helps to identify opportunities for process improvement, and strengths and weaknesses in the areas that matter most. Brainstorming among the company’s personnel is one way to obtain this rating. However, the voices of salespeople, defectors from rivals companies, and consultants should also be taking into consideration since employees views may lack objectivity and suffer from incomplete knowledge.
The analysis of the company’s financial condition is important especially if the intention behind conducting an internal analysis is to build a new strategy. The CFO should provide information about the cash flows, access to outside capital, other scheduled capital spending plans, hurdle rate of new object and the financial performance of current operations to help assessing the current financial strength of the company.
Sometime a shift in the company’s direction is needed which requires both management competence and organizational culture to make this change successful. Any company should be ready for change. In other words, companies should should be adoptive and prepared by structure and temperature to discard what is not working in their strategy and move to new strategies capable of better results. Usually change-ready companies have the following characteristics:
- Managers are respected and effective.
- People feel personally motivated to change.
- The organization is nonhierarchical.
- People are accustomed to collaborative work.
- There is a culture of accountability for results.
- Performance is rewarded.
A Method for Evaluation Internal Strengths and Weaknesses Step 1: Select an individual to facilitate the analysis. Step 2: Create a SWOT team of knowledgeable individuals from different functional areas of the company. Step 3: Brainstorm the company or unit’s strengths. Step 4: Record all suggestions on a flip chart. Step 5: Consolidate ideas. Step 6: Clarify ideas. Step 7: Identify the top three strengths. Step 8: Summarize company’s strengths. Step 9: Repeat step 2 through 6 for the company's weaknesses.
Experience Prototyping | Marion Buchenau, Jane Fulton Suri
Prototyping as a design practice is not promoted within business communities as a key element in innovation.Experience Prototyping is any kind of representation, in any medium, that is designed to understand, explore or communicate what it might be like to engage with the product, space or system we are designing. Experience Prototyping allows the designer explore by doing and to engage with new problems in new ways. On the other hand, it gives clients and users the opportunity to get a better experience of the product by themselves rather than using a demonstration of the product.
Activities within the design and development process where Experience Prototyping is valuable:
- Understanding existing user experiences and context: identifying issues and design opportunities as well as demonstrating context.
- Exploring and evaluating design ideas: at this stage of experience prototyping efforts should be directed towards the exploration of new solution and designs, and the development of the user experience. Experience prototyping can provide inspiration, confirmation or rejection of ideas based on ho the designer or client experience them.
- Communicating ideas to an audience: the audience should be able to feel the subjective importance of the product by experiencing it.
Experience Prototyping is mainly helpful to develop new ways of solving design problems by providing a common ground for establishing a shared point of view between the designer and his audience. Defining the audience for the product influence the prototype we create and the degree of context provided to them in order to frame the experience. Design methods, other than Experience Prototyping, may be required in order to form a better understanding of other's views of the product. Also, one prototype is never enough to fully understand people's experience with products and systems. Therefore, understanding and communicating the experiential aspect of the design ideas are central activities in design.
The Design of Everyday Things | Don Norman
Design is concerned with how things work, how they are controlled and the nature of the interaction between people and technology. The human-machine interaction is what determines if a design is good or bad/overly complex. One of the reasons that impose limitations on the interaction between humans and the machine is self-imposed restrictions by the designer, often to reduce cost. But most importantly, these limitation arise from designer's lack of understanding of what are the design principles necessary for effective human-machine interaction, especially since most designers are engineers; experts in technology with little understanding of the human experience. And here is another reason why experimental prototyping is a very important step to create a good and effective design.
Two of the most important characteristics of a good design are: Discoverability and Understanding.
- Discoverability involves figuring out what actions are possible to do, where and how to perform them.
- Understanding involved defining what does the design mean? How to use the product? and how to control it?
Depends on where a designer decides to emphasize during the design experience (form and material, usability and experience or the emotional impact) three areas of design can be identified: Industrial design, Interaction design, and Experience design.
Human Captured Design (HCD) is a design which puts human needs, capabilities, and behavior first then design to accommodate for them. A good design produces a machine that is able of communicating with a human regarding the possible actions, what is happening and what is about to happen. When a product/machine has too many functions and controls it defies communication and understanding.
Designers should care last about being specific with the design and focus more on testing their ideas as many times as needed and modifying their approach to the problem and how they define it. Norman introduces two terms to the design world with new definitions to help improve the human-machine communication: the term signifier and 'affordance. He defines a signifier as any mark or sound, any perceivable indicator that communicates appropriate behavior to a person, this could be in the form of graphical illustrations or just words, like the signs push and pull on doors. While signifiers are signals/clues for the agent, affordance represents the possibilities in the world for how a person can interact with the machine. Signifiers are more important than affordances as they communicate how a design should be used.
Business Model Generation: Business Model Canvas | Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
As I was reading the part of the book which examined the Business Model Canvas I kept on imagining it in the form of a mind map. The reason being is because I have been taught to think of these building blocks and use them when considering starting a business or analyzing a market but never as a unite, never in a structure. Here is a link to a very basic visual map on Prezi I put together with a brief explanation of each part of the Business Model Canvas and their relationship with one another:
For whom are we creating value and who are out most important customers?
A business may decide to serve a large group of customers with broadly similar needs and problems, market segments with SLIGHTLY different needs and problems, a specific Customer Segment, two unrelated Customer Segments or two or more independent Customer Segments. This is important for a business to decide on as it affects the definition and creation of their Value Proposition, Distribution Channels, and Customer Relationships.
What is the value we deliver to the customer? What problems are we helping the customer's to resolve? What is the bundle of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment? The Value of proposition creates value based on each Customer Segment's needs. The book mentioned several elements that can contribute to customer value creation. Two of which were: Performance and Accessibility/Convenience. I found it hard to pin down the differences between each category but in general improving service/product performance to make it easier and more convenient is an easy way to dominate a market and satisfy customers, more than the other elements.
How do our Customer Segments want to be reached? How are we reaching them now? How are our Channels integrated? Which are the most cost-efficient?
Defining the way a company wants to reach it's Customer Segments, finding the right Channels, is important for brining a Value Proposition to the market. Company's can decide whether they want to reach their customers through their own Channels, partner Channels or a mix of both. Moreover, Channels can be direct or indirect. Direct Channels include: Sales forces Web sales, and Own stores. Indirect Channels are: Partners, Stores and Wholesaler. Each Channel type has to go through the following phases of development:
Awareness --> Evaluation --> Purchase --> Delivery --> After sales
A company needs to decide how to raise awareness about its products/services and then help customers evaluate it, Value Proposition. Then, defining the method of delivering the product and providing post-purchase support.
Long Tail business models
They focus on offering a large number of niche products, which sell relatively infrequently. Long Tail business models require low inventory costs and strong platforms to make niche content readily available to interested buyers. A good example thereof is the development of the book publishing industry. The traditional book publishing model was built based on a selection process; publishers screen many authors and manuscripts and selects what seems potentially profitable. Publishers would reject any less promising authors and only print books to sale for a large audience. Lulu.com developed to help niche and amateur authors bring their work to the market by providing them with the tools to craft, print and distribute their work through a marketplace online. This business model solved the problem of having to select what books are "market-worthy" and left it up to the customers to decide as books are only printed in response to actual order by the customer. Lulu.com is a multi-sided platform that provides all of these services and prevents losing costs as failure of selling any particular title is irrelevant to Lulu.com.
Or, multi-sided market, are platforms that bring together two or more distinct but interdependent groups of customers. They create value as intermediaries by connecting these groups. The key action for these platforms is to attract and serve all groups simultaneously in order to create value. Computer operating systems for example link hardware manufacturers, application developers, and users all together and for this business to be successful, service to all customers has to be simultaneous. Multi-sided platforms often face a "chicken and egg" dilemma when each customer segments depend on how active the other is on the platform for them to join/be attracted to the platform. One way multi-sided platforms solve this problem is by subsidizing a Customer Segment with inexpensive or fee Value Proposition in order to subsequently attract users to the other side of the platform. Some multi-sided platforms have had very successful strategies, like Microsoft, and others failed, like Sony PlayStation 3 game console. The reason Sony's strategy failed is mainly because fewer PlayStation 3 games sold that Sony initially estimated. In order for operators of multi-sided platforms to improve their strategy performance they need to ask themselves questions like:
- Can we attract sufficient numbers if customers for each side of the platform?
- Which side is more price sensitive?
- Can that side be enticed by a subsidized offer? *Will the other side of the platform generate sufficient revenues to cover the subsidies?
"Scenarios can be useful in guiding the design of new business models or innovating around existing models."
"Scenarios kick-start our creativity by providing concrete future contexts for which we can invent appropriate business models"
The strategy discusses this practice in detail under the topic "scenario planning." There are two types of scenarios:
1- Describing different customer settings. These kinds of scenarios uses knowledge about customers to build a set of distinct images in order to make customer insights tangible.
After generating scenarios for different customer segments, we should measure how sufficient the business model is to each Segment and the decide whether a new business model is needed or not. This could be measured by answering questions like:
- Could one model serve all Customer Segments?
- Does each segment need a separate, specific Value Proposition?
- Could we create resource, activity, or Channel synergies by simultaneously serving all Customer Segments?
- Should we serve on or more Customer Segments at low or no cost in order to attract other, high-value customers?
2- Describing the future environment in which a business model might compete. The point of this type is to imagine the future in concrete details and as specific as possible.
Future Scenarios helps reflecting on the business midels of the future. This method is more productive than free brainstorming about the possible future. The process of generating future scenarios helps to start meaningful discussion about difficult topics; it forces participants to project themselves into a specific "Future" underpinned by assumed hard facts and conditions. Future scenarios could be used for other purposes as well since they help jumpstart creativity and project participants into the future. Ideally, any business should develop between two and four different future scenarios based on two or more criteria to run a useful and informative scenario workshop for their business model. Each scenario should be titled and described in a short narrative (Important to outline the main elements of the scenario). During the scenario workshop, new business models for each future scenario should be developed.
Name evolution: Salamful Future --> Re-present ADR --> Re-ADR--> C-ADR --> Global Mediation
Global Mediation aims to create an online community of professionals in Mediation to attempt to build a global certification system for mediators. This will be done by providing them with access to a resource archive of the work of conflict resolution scholars have done addressing the knowledge gap in Mediation about cultures other than Western, and the mediation models and theories that have been developed in response, as well as mediation models from around the world. Moreover, they will have the space to share their own work, provide each other with feedback and discuss any issues that arise.
Global Mediation is an online platform, for professionals and people with experience in mediation who are interested in solving the difficulties of mediating cross-cultural conflicts by creating a global certification system for mediators. Using the service Global Mediation offers is free for those who qualify to participate. Members are required to have had a formal training in Mediation and a certification to prove this. If members have any experience in real life mediation they will be asked to mention it, though it is not a requirement. Global Mediation will be available for the public to view.
Since 2000, the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council documents have indicated mediators should have knowledge about the relevance of culture to varying aspects of conflict and dispute resolution. This includes, the diversity of conflict resolution approaches, communication styles, negotiation styles, ways of making concessions, venue and time, sense of physical space, understanding of the role of the mediator, response to law, and professional advisors. It has been recognised that culturally incompetent mediators and culturally insensitive mediation processes- where regional and international differences in beliefs, behavior and values aren’t acknowledged- are exercises of power.
Mediation is generally understood as an informal process in which a neutral third party with no power to impose a resolution helps the disputing parties try to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. Culture is particularly relevant to mediation practices since it shapes the way individuals view conflict and approach conflict resolution. In the mid-1980s, the idea culture was important for understanding and responding to conflict was largely dismissed by policy makers, practitioners, and scholars outside of anthropology. Culture is a complex construct in our society and thus it is a difficult term to define. The two cultural anthropologists, Kroeber and Kluckhohn, came up with 160 different definitions of culture. In the context of Mediation, the definition of culture Global Mediation adopting is: a set of values and beliefs acquired from learning, experience, and social upbringing, which creates implicit social rules or a code of ethics and behaviour within a specific group. This definition will be introduced to the members of Global Mediation as a subject for debate.
The goal is to develop a global certification system for mediators. Members will have to come to decide on what kind of knowledge needs to be acquired by the mediator in order for them to qualify for the certificate, in what form is this knowledge being given to mediators, what qualifications does this certificate give mediators, and what kind of assessment should be considered to effectively measure positive cultural aptitudes.
Eventually, the final product will be proposed to the International Mediation Institute for evaluation and potential adoption.
Contemporary Alternative Dispute Resolution, C-ADR, is an online directory for: newly developed conflict resolution models, and for ADR blogs by professionals in the field regarding their experience with ADR. C-ADR, aims to raise awareness about the cultural divides presented by ADR models and thus the limitations of ADR to solve cross cultural disputes. C-ADR is designed for students, high school age and above, conflict resolution teachers, professionals in the field, researchers and people with experience to explore more about the world of ADR and contemporary ADR, and be able to share their own thoughts and ideas to help us achieve our goal, through a thought share/discussion page on the website. C-ADR is a new startup, a non-profit business model.
Traditional ADR models tend to reflect the accepted norms of a society and resolve the dispute accordingly, thus injustice and discriminatory norms may be reflected through the ADR models if they are commonly seen as an acceptable act in the society. For example, in some Palestinian societies resolving conflicts is based on local norms which are often discriminatory against women, similarly in the United States some social norms may discriminate against people of color or immigrants. ADR fails to solve systematic injustice by applying the accepted norms to the conflict resolution method rather than refining them to eliminate regression and violation of human rights. Alternative dispute resolution models are meant to be tools for equity not for law and to ease the conflict resolution process. This cannot be achieved if the models are built based on one specific cultural norms in a diverse country/society.
ADR models, such as the Quaker Mediation model, is claimed to be an international model, however, it is hard to evaluate its efficiency since the mediation results are always confidential. From personal experience with the model, the Quaker model presents a certain behavior and social skills as ideal, normal and respectful from a Western perspective, which invalidates it's international usability. C-ADR attempts to evaluate these models by drawing connections to all professionals blogs about ADR.
C-ADR allows the user to develop their understanding of ADR, their application and limitation -by looking at it through a cultural lens-, and participate in finding a solution by sharing their ideas and thoughts. This is achieved by sharing the blogs writing by professionals from their experience in applying ADR to real life situations, and collecting the models that others have developed based on the need for different approaches to resolving conflicts and reflecting on both.
C-ADR provide two pages on the website which are dedicated to resources about world blogs by professionals regarding applied ADR/ their experience, and conflict resolution models which are not officially considered ADR. The third page is a place where thoughts regarding any particular subject can be posted and discussed by C-ADR users. Note that these blogs and resources are owned by distinguished online platforms and C-ADR only acts as a directory to these resources.
C-ADR is accessible by the public but in order to see/participate in discussions membership is required. The process is free and requires an invitation from an already existing member. Any member can open a new discussion and suggest new content by directly emailing the website director. However this isn’t a requirement and members are free to participate in whatever way they please. In addition, each member has a profile through which they communicate with one another and build their network.
Salamful Future is an online platform with two functions. First, a curated directory of resources about Alternative Dispute Resolution methods and contemporary conflict resolution strategies. Second, a public service that allows for thought share and ideas development. This business model is developed to rethinking Alternative Dispute Resolution (Mediation, Negotiation, and Arbitration) strategies and developing our understanding of their capabilities and limitations.
The picture on the right side is a rough illustration of how the front page of the website will look like. The resources are categorized by the type of ADR strategy they relate to and each circle represents a form of ADR. By clicking on the circle the user will be directed to the resource page where sources are organized based on their type; books, articles, videos and etc.
On the bottom of the front page the user can subscribe to an e-mail list for the thought share and discussion services the website provides. Members can share their thoughts, personal experience and ideas about anything regarding the history and science of Conflict Resolution. Other members can comment on these thought, provide feedback or start a discussion.
A. Thought share and discussion which will allow us to learn about the importance of understanding cultural differences in any social setting.
B. A handbook to be published. Thoughts shared on the website may be included in the handbook. The book will contain a series of thoughts and ideas divided into three sections: The development of the definition of Conflict throughout history, How to analyze conflict, and finally an evaluation of the tradition ADR models and a collection of new approaches to conflict resolution.
This handbook is meant to be structured different than the traditional conflict resolution books and used to provoke ideas and call attention to important daily life issues we normally don’t pay attention to rather than teach "new" knowledge. In other words, this book is a collection of unique thoughts and ideas about culture, power and conflict. Researchers, students, professors and others could use this handbook to increase their awareness of the impact of culture on conflicts whether at a small personal level, local level or international.
A brief analysis of my approach
I believe the analysis of any conflict should take into consideration the power dimensions (personalities)in the conflict episode as well as norms and culture of the parties involved. Working merely with the conflict episode to reach a resolution isn't effective to prevent future conflicts and does not use conflict as an opportunity for self empowerment and recognition of the other. My work will be concentrated on understanding the development of the concept of conflict throughout history and the forms and nature of resolutions available at each time. This work will eventually transfer to an international conflict resolution theory that is using the human moral conduct to understand conflict. I will be doing this work with the help of a Greek psychiatrist, Albert J. Levis, who has worked in the field of conflict resolution for most of his life and has a number of studies regarding the Moral Science and Conflict resolution.
Albert Levis has built a card game, Heal The World, with the mission of teaching conflict resolution analysis skills and distinction between antagonistic and cooperative methods of resolving conflict. Albert and I will further develop the game, test it and introduce it to the Bennington College Conflict Resolution faculty. Upon the completion of this process the game will be sold on the website.
Examples of discussion topics to be discussed on the website
How is culture defined in the field of conflict resolution? how does high vs. low culture context and individuality vs. collectivity anthropological analyses of culture affect our understanding of conflicts? is the ultimate goal of the resolution process to satisfying the different parties needs or helping the disputants understand each other's position, interest, and focus on reconciliation? How do we decide to make a process voluntary or mandatory? When should the mediator’s role be limited to facilitating the conversation between the conflicting parties and when should a mediator propose possible solutions? Is there is a conflict resolution models which combines features of both mediation and arbitration? What are the origins of the Transformative Mediation Model? What is the difference between arbitration and mediation in countries other than the United States? To what extent do cultural differences affect our understand of the content of any conflict? Could we develop an International Conflict Resolution model? What would this look like, where will it be used, who will use it and how?
- A unique online platform with the function as a directory of resources and information about conflict resolution, as well as a thought share and idea development website.
- Helping researchers to develop their ideas and publish their work if they wish.
- Building a network of people interested in conflict resolution.
- The website will contain new theories in the filed of Conflict Resolution (Albert Levis' theories and my work).
- People who are interested in learning more about Levis' new theories can buy the game from the website and learn while playing it.
- The contemporary section of the website will contain newly developed conflict resolution designs and theories. Researchers can request for their work to be add to the website for more publicity.
- limited incentives I am offering for the members to be active and share their own thoughts.
- The website is designed for a specific audience (teachers, students, scholars and researchers in the field of conflict resolution) and gaining legitimacy as an information source may be challenging.
- I am the only one collecting information for the website at this stage. Meaning very limited sources and information to add to the website.
- Becoming a website for educational sources and teaching conflict resolution theories and practices.
- Providing Conflict analysis training.
- If the members are active and new perspectives are shared about the topic of conflict resolution and culture the website will attract people who are more informed in these fields to participate and thus more professional help will be offered for developing our ideas and understanding of these topics. This will help improving the quality of the final product, the handbook.
- Selling original work.
- Selling the game, Heal The World, online and designing a phone app for the game.
- The ability to constantly add more information growth.
- If the website does not get attention from the targeted audience, growth becomes a challenge.
- Without external help and large network I won't be able to expand the amount of contemporary theories and practices in the field.
How will I mitigate the weaknesses and threats?
I will start by asking teachers of Conflict Resolution at Bennington College to recommend the website to their students and addressing issues as they arise. Moreover, Albert Levis is a famous figure in the field and his connections will help with the publicity. I will also use Facebook and other social media platforms for publicity. After the website is being used frequently by students and teachers, higher incentive is provided for members to share thoughts and start discussions.
I am going to send e-mail to people I know who either study or teach conflict resolution and ask them for the resources they use frequently. Eventually, I will add a feature on the website where people can request to add a source of information.
First draft prototype
I had several conversations with Conflict Resolution teachers and students at Bennington College regarding the website idea and here is some feedback I got from them:
A graduate student/Mediator: "I will definitely use the website. It sounds like a great idea and I wish something similar existed when I was a student. I can imagine it be a long process of development and adding content, so it is a good idea to give the users the ability to suggest new sources to be add. I am most interested in knowing how you will handle the discussion part on the website if it is being promoted as an online directory not a discussion platform and how will you manage both. I would like to help as much as I can."
Another graduate mediation student: "I love the idea! Yes, I would use it. It sounds like the utility of this website is dependent on the number of people engaging in it, as it's based around connecting Bennington people engaged in this field. Is that correct? As for the pdf you sent, it looks inviting and interactive. What kind of content would you or others be putting on there?" - I answered the questions and waiting to hear back.
A Conflict Resolution teacher: "The website includes all the topics needed, so that's good. I may use it from time to time."
Another Conflict Resolution teacher: "It sounds very interesting but I would be careful about starting big. Can you start with only one Conflict Resolution Model? who is helping you collect the information and what is Albert Levis' contribution? I encourage you to think more about narrowing your goal and starting with what seems to be doable. I would personally use your website to see what other people share and what sources you have but I am not sure if I will participate in discussions. I think our generation and your generation have different opinions about online thought share platforms."
Second draft prototype
Frequently asked questions when I share my project idea with potential customers:
1- In what form are you going to present the content of your website and how are you avoiding plagiarism or any illegal activities regarding sharing someone else's work?
The website functions as an online directory server; meaning that the website content will be links to direct users to other websites where they may be able to find the information they need. The only exception to this is if a user decides to share their own work. In this case, the work will be directly posted on the website.
2-Is it going to constantly be in a development stage?
Yes. I am hopping to make this one of the main features of the website. New content can be add at anytime, to keep the website up to date and rich with resources.
3-Do you have any future plans on how to make it more than a resources archive?
The website is a multi-sided platform to begin with; it serves people who are looking for resources about a certain topic in Conflict Resolution and those who are critical about the way traditional Alternative Dispute Resolution methods are formed and wish to make some changes. I am helping both customers by acting as a resource directory for ADR methods within the U. S. and internationally, contemporary ADR methods and a place where users can share thoughts and get feedback from each other.
4-How are you going to convince people to share their own work on this website, especially professionals?
The main function of the website does not require and isn't based on users sharing their own work. This is an advantage they can use but definitely don't have to. They can share their work elsewhere online, be it their personal web pages or any other space, and my website will link the users to it.
5-Can someone sell their original work about conflict resolution through your website?
No. If their work is relevant to the website mission and is worth sharing, I can help promoting it by providing information about their work on my website.
6-How much time are you going to spend on the website everyday?
It will vary based on the development stage the website is at. I do not have a very clear answer to this question at this moment but it will for sure be under constant supervision.
7-Why is using your website easier than just looking information up though Google?
It is easier because the resources are categorized based of their form and topic, so in case somebody isn't sure of what to type in google they can scroll through various topics and hopefully find what they are looking for. Also, google results are limited to what the keywords in the search bar are, whereas the website will provide variety of resources about any given ADR topic.
8-Why do you ask the website visitors for their email? Doesn't this make it something else different than only an online directory?
I am hoping to build an e-mail list of the website users so users can e-mail each other to share thoughts and ideas and build a community.
9-If you are giving customers the advantage to add new content, is this process going to be mentored and what form is it going to take?
Yes it will be mentored. Any new content must be approved before it is posted on the website. Before anything is approved it has to go through a process in which it will be checked for plagiarism, citation and so on.
10- Explain more about what you mean when you say "building an online community" through the website.
I wish to create a large online community of students, teachers and other people interested in the field of conflict resolution to communicate and share thoughts and work. Building this community also involves connecting already existing communities with each other.
11- If the homepage of the website is going to be the resources page, where is the discussion going to happen and if this idea does not get enough active members how are you going to solve this problem?
At the bottom of the homepage I users can choose to join the discussion community by sharing their email address. Users can send e-mail out and contact one another (if they agree to make their e-mail address visible to other users.) If users have thoughts to share with one another they can use the e-mail list to do so otherwise they don't have to use it. This feature is going to be use constantly by the manager and supervisors of the website in order to encourage users to use it. Through the researches I did, I found out that people who have been working in the field of Conflict Resolution for a long time are used to e-mail and are less likely to use any other kind of thought share platform. Thus I am testing the use of emails for the purpose of creating a discussion platform.
Re-preseting ADR is an online platform that provides resources about Alternative Dispute Resolution models ( Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration), a space to share new ADR models and critique the traditional ones, as well as a section for Conflict Resolution strategies from around the world. Re-present ADR is designed for students and teachers on high school level and above as well as professionals and people with experience in the field of Conflict Resolution. The website will contain resources about each ADR model collected from other online resources or owned by Re-present ADR. This business model is a new startup and a non-profit.
Anyone can use Re-present ADR for resources. However, we provide you with the option to create an account with us, which will give you the advantage of being able to suggest new content, leave feedback/comments and create a network of contacts (other users/members). The members of Re-present ADR are those who have shared some of their own work on the website, are willing to review feedback and respond to comments and have the ability to upload new content to the website. Getting a membership requires an interview with the party interested as well as two months of trial with a temporary membership status. Registering for the website is free. Both users and members have their own profiles where they can keep contact information of other users/members, start discussions and keep a list of Favorite resources from the website. They have the option to make their profile public or private. However, anyone can still view the profile but with a restricted access to contacts information based on the privacy setting of the profile. Users can request from other users to exchange their contact information by either sending a message directly to the other person or just by clicking on the “Info Share” button. Suggesting new content or requesting to add one’s own work to the website has to go through an approval process. Re-present ADR offers several unique services, such as the collection of resources about International Conflict Resolution models as well as Contemporary models, addresses issues in the traditional ADR models such as the knowledge gap about different cultural norms and works towards resolving them by providing users the space to comment and give feedback to the website about the content, and finally Re-present ADR aims to connect the different parties working in the field of Conflict Resolution by building an online community where they can contact each other and share thoughts.
The design of the content (resources) on Re-present ADR is intended to be a user friendly design in which anyone regardless of their background and knowledge about Alternative Dispute Resolution can navigate and use. Currently, Re-present ADR is identifying partners for content creation and providing feedback about the existing content. We are pursuing this strategy as a first step to achieve our goal of becoming the biggest online resource for all ADR models and connecting professionals in the field.
The website aims serve students, teachers, people with experience and professionals in Conflict Resolution by providing them with different kinds of resources (live videos, articles, books and more) about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This business model is a new startup, not for-profit/ offers a service.
The website will be designed in the form of "Links to Links"; the user will choose the ADR model they are interested in finding more information about, they will be taken to another page with a brief description of the model with sources categorized based on their type, any link provided on this page will direct the user to another page/website with the information needed. The user also have the option to use a search bar if they are unsure of the form in which the resource could be provided in. Any user can request to become a member of the website and send emails to the other members with any thoughts they would like to share about Conflict Resolution. Though the subject of the e-mails isn't highly restricted, emails will be monitored and only sent upon approval from the website manager. Moreover, members can suggest new content or ask to upload their own work. Adding one's own work to the website is a more complex process to avoid plagiarism and insure copyrights.
The values Salamful Future adds to the market are several; most competitors provide a very limited amount of resources in one ADR field or two but not more, their resources are specific to a geographical area (mainly the U.S.),they lack variety in the type of resources provided, they don't provide the users with the ability to create a network and most websites are hard to navigate and are designed for professionals. Salamful Future design is simple and comprehensive, which makes it easy for anyone interested to learn more about ADR to use. Also, Salmful Future will contain resources about conflict resolution strategies from around the world as well as contemporary ADR methods in the West. Website members will be able to raise issues and share them with other users through an e-mail subscription list. The main goal behind this feature is to allow users to create an online community and connect already existing online Conflict Resolution communities together by creating a platform where all of them will be interested in visiting and participating in.
If Salamful Future does not fulfill the goals it was created for it will due to a low amount of views, lack of participation, the resources aren't being updated frequently, or not enough professionals and researchers are showing interest in sending out e-mail or giving feedback about the content. I will tackle each problem separately and prioritize some over others based on how it correlates with other problems. For example, from the problems listed above I will definitely focus of publicizing the website more and getting more people to use it in order for me to get a better understanding of what features I need to develop or change.
In the future, I hope that the website will grow to become a big online resource archive, a platform that attracts researchers and professionals to publicize about their work and an educational resource about different ADR models.
Logo ideas and web pages mockup
Front page mock-up:
Global Dictionary App
Throughout the description of this app I will refer to the term register which in linguistics is defined as: one of many styles or varieties of language determined by such factors as social occasion, purpose, and audience. More generally, register is used to indicate degrees of formality in language use.
Oftentimes, people who speak more than one language face the problem of being able to communicate with others about a particular topic in one language but not the other. A bi/multilingual person decides on what language to speak in based on the occasion, purpose, audience or simply the social setting they are in. Thus, certain vocabulary and phrases may exist in one language and not the others. In some cases, a direct translation of these phrases/words isn’t available. Also, most of these phrases have a contextual meaning which causes them to have more than one translation in other languages.
This app will solve the problem of having mutual exclusive registers by allowing the user to build a dictionary for words/phrases they use in one of the languages they speak but not necessarily in others and work with other speakers to collect all possible translations for these words/phrases.
Multiple dictionaries could be built based on how many languages the user speaks.
The user will join a network of the speakers of the same languages he/she is building a dictionary for, ex: a Hebrew-Arabic dictionary. The Arabic to Hebrew dictionary will have a separate network. Once the user adds a new word to the dictionary all available translations to this word by other users will show on his page. The user can either vote for one or multiple translations if he/she considers them accurate, or add their own. The app also provides the user with the option to put the word/phrase in a context to support their translation.
Users could follow each other and stay updated about recent translations add by other users. Feedback could be provided by posting a comment under the translation.
Phone-Free Zone device
New technology for technology free zones.
This device is developed to be used in meeting rooms/movie theaters where phone signal is deactivated within a certain range for a certain period of time.