WTIA helps tech companies solve problems together that they can’t solve on their own. In this case, WTIA provides tech companies the Ion platform for their employees to become better community collaborators alongside public servants and nonprofit staffers. WTIA’s Ion builds on the lessons learned and success from WTIA’s cross-sector collaboration conference, FullConTech.
WTIA manages small team collaborations organized around broad issue areas such as livability, accessibility, and economic growth connected to improving our community’s quality of life. Each team embodies diversity in subject matter expertise, professional seniority, functional role, age, race, ethnicity, religion, life experience, geographic residence, and political views. The Ion Collaborators are intentionally selected for the unique perspective they would bring to their team and the program. Each team includes two representatives from tech, government, and community-based organizations. There are no duplicates in organizational representation. In most cases, the team members are total strangers.
The teams work together for six months–long enough to discover their community, make meaningful progress, and develop deeper connections but short enough to sustain momentum.
Most volunteer-led collaborative efforts start hot and then fade away. WTIA provides administrative support in the form of scheduling, note taking, meeting facilitation, and project management to ensure a team of strangers can invest their energy in initial trust building. After the team determines their project, they recruit students to support the project execution.
“The opportunity to collaborate with people I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to meet has been extremely positive for me and for our group. We are constantly learning from each other — learning how to coexist with different sectors and professional cultures.”
“I was impressed with all the ideas and projects from the different teams. I’ve participated in many different hackathons where the ideas weren’t very well thought out or viable. Interviewing all the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) helped us to come up with relevant ideas that were needed by our community.”
“We began every meeting with a series of thought-provoking questions to help us get to know each other better. This can be pretty daunting at first, but the ultimate goal was to have an open dialogue of information shared. Everyone offers different perspectives based on their backgrounds and careers.”
STAGES OF ION TEAM DEVELOPMENT