Demola Online｜Yeji’s Online Demola Experience
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, Demola brought its projects online and turned the crisis into an opportunity. Demola’s online projects successfully overcame the physical distance of the participants and brought the ideas of the scattered together. Yeji Kim from South Korea has recently finished the very first Demola online project, “Slush Around the Year,” and is now participating in another online project “The Entrepreneur's Quest.” Here’s what Yeji says about her online Demola experience.
Demola projects are full of initiating discussions, formulating ideas, getting stuck and starting anew.
Please tell all Demola followers briefly about yourself.
Hello, I am Yeji. I am from South Korea, and currently doing my bachelor degree in International Politics at Fudan University, Shanghai. I started my university life in Korea, majoring in Asian Studies. But after one semester, I decided to change my area of study and even country—to China. I chose Fudan University, not only because studying abroad was my long-time dream but also I found Chinese language lyrical, the culture multi-layered and its contemporary history fascinating. It turned out that Mandarin Chinese is as challenging as it sounds beautiful, but I am grateful to have chosen Fudan to study the world of politics. The experience has provided me unique insights and perspectives I could not have tasted elsewhere.
How is your Demola experience in general?
In a word, eye-opening! Demola projects are full of initiating discussions, formulating ideas, getting stuck and starting anew. Also, the projects are very special because during the process, I have to envision my solution in real-life context. To assess the feasibility and to decide whether to “save or kill” the idea is a huge part of the project; this particular experience made me examine our target in multiple angles and think critically. At the end of the project, I found myself no longer looking for a silver bullet, but instead opting for a targeted solution.
What is your general feeling/comments about having projects online? How have you and your groups overcame the physical distance?
I have always described myself to prefer face-to-face meetings than online ones. Yet, as the pandemic situation has shifted working to online platforms, I had to be out of my comfort zone. It would be a lie to say I did not worry about the online project becoming ineffective and distant, but now in my second Demola project, I am very happy to be proven wrong. Demola X WeBuust has incorporated Miro board—an online coworking space—and with collective effort, I see the tool has successfully tackled concerns about efficiency: there are not only functions that resemble real-life meetings (such as virtual post-its and mindmaps) but also creative layouts that keeps ideas organized and documented. Apart from the functional advantages, I find having all members in one board facilitates cooperation within and between teams. Put differently, teams no longer have ideas exclusive and dispersed, and instead share the process and information with others. By doing so, team members can better be motivated, give open suggestions, and most importantly, see where the cooperation is needed. As a whole, I believe online projects helped me to seek mutual development, where teams exchange useful information and encourage each other to develop distinctive approaches.
I believe online projects are a powerful tool to bring diverse fortes and worldviews together not limited to physical distance.
Your teams from “Slush Around the Year” and “The Entrepreneur's Quest” consist of members from different universities and countries. What do you think is the impact of online projects that brought distant talents together on the co-creation?
Ever since I first moved to Shanghai in 2017, my understanding of China was much confined to campus life. Brilliant minds I met in Fudan made me wonder about students from different parts of the world. Despite the difficulty of virtual communications (which turns very grim with bad internet connection), I believe online projects are a powerful tool to bring diverse fortes and worldviews together not limited to physical distance. For example, in both Demola projects, I see that team members utilize their professional knowledge to devise and complement the solution; management skills are used to develop optimal implementation strategies; data and engineering skills allow us to validate our strategies and make technical suggestions to the platform. Also, I feel very fortunate to have met my teammates, to befriend them, share memories and good laughs! The online projects, in this sense, allowed me to connect with talents from diverse backgrounds and places.
Any message you would like to deliver to students who consider applying for Demola projects?
I want to tell other students (and my past-self) do not hesitate because you are not familiar with the challenge. Everyone with their unique thoughts and experiences has something to contribute for the team. So, if the challenge sounds new to you, that is the very reason why you should join Demola projects!
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