In early 2013, with Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) looming on the horizon, Silicon Valley Community Foundation launched a technology innovation project to support the technology needs and aspirations of immigration legal services providers in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties in California. The effort was envisioned as an opportunity to engage a cohort of agencies in a unique co-creation process exploring the use of technology to enhance citizenship and naturalization services for immigrants in Silicon Valley.
- Co-creation: Project participants across the board felt that the co-design and co- implementation approach involving the full cohort was effective and yielded good results.
- Community engagement: Cohort members were actively and consistently involved in the process through group convenings, on-going cohort meetings, periodic interviews and product testing, resulting in increased buy-in.
- Community investment: More than just an exercise in technology tool development for community foundation grantees, the technology innovation initiative resulted in the development of a comprehensive community engagement and project stewardship "package."
- Leadership: The assignment of a community coordinator from the cohort proved to be another effective way to engage the individual agencies, support their needs and increase buy-in by the cohort.
- Timeline: Notwithstanding the fact that effective co-design processes take time, it was not anticipated that the project would last 20 months - from visioning to tool rollout.
- Tool adoption: The use of CONEC varied from cohort agency to agency, depending on factors such as the size of agency and availability of volunteer management staff, the need for volunteers and the reliance of pre-existing tools for volunteer recruitment.