Superhero activity example
Design, Tips

The value of workshop superheroes

This is a cross-post from the Indigenous Digital Excellence “backstage” blog.

Some time ago I came across an idea/method from Adaptive Path that the authors dubbed Design a superhero. In that blog post, Leah Buley outlines the method and how she’d had some success using the method in the context of user interviews as a fun and engaging way to gather user requirements.

I really liked the idea and felt that the method may also have utility in a workshop context as an introductory activity. I’ve since had the opportunity to test that theory in a number of workshops (with some minor variation from Leah’s original description) and have found it very effective in this context. Continue reading

Sustainability, Tips, Work

How big is your footprint really?

Your Carbon Footprint that is…

We are proactive in reducing our carbon footprint and being aware of our impact and possibilities to reduce our impact on our environment.  In addition to trying our air travel, through Climate Friendly, and wanted to offset the emissions of our other (essential) emissions-intensive activities.

Climate Friendly works with corporations, businesses and individuals to measure, manage, and offset their carbon footprint, by  providing a quick and easy calculation tool, to take action immediately.  While these tools allow you to calculate offsets for flights, electricity and car travel, we wanted to offset more than those things, so we sent an email to Climate Friendly to see if they could help.  They quickly responded and sent us spreadsheet for us to fill in and  return to them to finish the calculations.

Before we could complete the spreadsheet, we needed obtain certain figures, make calculations and implement procedures to produce more accurate figures — so we thought we’d share how we went about doing it…

The first figure we tackled was our electricity, dividing the KW usage (from our electricity bill) by 5 working days, divided by the staff members.

For paper consumption, we went through our invoices and extracted all paper purchases i.e. A4 80gsm, A4 110gsm, FlipChart per 60gsm etc. worked out an average over the period of time and tracked it in a spreadsheet.

Taxi travel and freight figures were extracted from our cashflow reports from our accounting system.  For paper waste, we didn’t empty our 7 litre recycling bin for 4 weeks and measured how much we filled it for that period.

At the end of the day these figures are not absolute, but by continually measuring our consumption, our hope is that we’ll no longer be grappling for figures, working on guesstimates or making assumptions.  We’ll have a more comprehensive understanding of how big our footprint really is.

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Social media & networking, Tips

Length for retweeting

One of the more obviously powerful things about Twitter is the ReTweet – where one user effectively “forwards” a Twitter post from another member.

If you are an organisation posting on Twitter, and you are aiming for a ReTweet, care should be taken to keep the character length of your post even shorter to allow for the “RT @<yourid>: ” at the beginning of a message, where “<yourid>” is your Twitter username.

It’s a simple thing (and reasonably obvious), but I find it’s an easy thing to forget when you aren’t used to it, or under time pressure…

(If ReTweeting is important to you, Dan Zarrella’s analysis of ReTweet trends and corresponding report.)

Social media & networking, Software & web applications, Tips

Interview: Damian Maclennan on Sydney Cyclist

In preparation for some workshops earlier in the year, I spoke with Damian Maclennan about his community building efforts with Sydney Cyclist using the Ning platform. Damian has kindly granted me permission to blog the conversation here.

In the interview Damian talks about why and how he went about setting up the community, his thoughts on Ning as a community platform, and he shares some of the lessons learned in building and maintaining it.

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Code, Standards, Tips

Exploring SEO – Part 6: Technical matters – the invisible

It’s been, like, forever, since my last post in this series – feels like time to pick it up again and finish the series…

The suggestions in this post are focused on the “behind-the-scenes” elements of your site – to the untrained eye they may not be visible/obvious.

This post definitely sways towards the geek end of the spectrum (just a fair warning if that’s not your thing). However, even if you’re in management, it helps to understand these things for when you’re briefing your tech team.

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