Design Solutions for Connecting Your Community

Once your community has decided to become digitally connected, the next step is to select specific ways to get there.

Seeding ideas about specific technology projects will help groups better understand what broadband is, how it is used, and how it can benefit the community. Individuals who see benefits in a technology are more likely to adopt and use it, especially if a significant number of other community members are doing so.

Design solutions for connecting your communityThree strategies are suggested for your group use. Use the Card Game, 50 Ideas to Connect Communities, or the Community Projects Checklist.

  1. The Card Game is a set of cards that have project ideas printed on them. Groups sort and prioritize the cards to come up with a set of project ideas that best lead to their idea of being a connected community. The card game takes a couple of hours to play.
  2. 50 Ideas to Connect Communities lists a number of ideas that can help get people thinking about potential project ideas.
  3. The Community Projects Checklist is a set of statements that groups can decide which ones are true for their community. There are pre-defined projects associated with each statement. The checklist limits the number of project possibilities so groups can move quickly through the selection process; it could take as little as 1 hour.

The outcome of the designing the future meeting should be several doable tasks or projects, each with a team, a designated leader and timeline.

The projects may be in the categories of (1) access and infrastructure, (2) applications and education, or (3) community content.

  • Access & Infrastructure: Connected communities make every effort to ensure all residents have access to digital technology tools regardless of social or economic status. One way to ensure this is to provide access to computers, printers, high speed Internet and productivity applications through organizations open to the public. Where is public access to information technology tools available in your community? A truly connected community offers access to digital tools to residents as well as public, private and nonprofit organizations. Where is broadband access already available to the residential, commercial, government and nonprofit organizations in the area?
  • Applications and Education: Awareness about the importance of broadband and its uses is well-understood in connected communities. Education and training on using information technology tools and software is readily available to individuals and organizations in connected communities. What organizations provide basic education and training on using email, word processing, spreadsheets, databases and browsing the internet in your community?
  • Community Content: It is easy to find information about organizations and community life in connected communities. Connected communities may have a community portal that contains information about businesses, schools, social organizations, community events, local government and local issues. Does your community have a web site, portal, Facebook page, blog, or other online presence?