This Spring, almost 100 members of the Western North Carolina technology community, including tech workers, public officers, and entrepreneurs, came together to create a shared vision of tech in our region. As a remote web developer in Asheville, NC and an organizer of the Asheville Drupal User Group, I am always looking for ways to grow our group and spread the use of Drupal. I attended the UNITE WNC Summit to actively participate in shaping the future of my community.
The activities were fast paced, including one-on-one interviews, group conversations, and presentations. We were strongly encouraged to work with people we didn’t know and due to the pace of the schedule, there was no time for being shy. The approach is called Appreciative Inquiry, which includes four key processes: discover, dream, design and deploy.
Through the discovery process, we identified positive core qualities of our people and place. Some of the unique qualities of our people include resourcefulness, creativity, and social consciousness. Some of the unique qualities of our place include nature and outdoors, creative energy, and educational opportunities.
Through the dreaming process, we identified qualities of thriving technology communities and opportunities for potential in our community. Some of the qualities of successful communities that had the best potential for WNC include integrating technology with other industries like agriculture and craft brewing, education, start-up incubation, infrastructure and sustainable technologies.
Based on the qualities and opportunities of our community, we worked in groups to design visions of what our tech community will look like in 2025. We presented our visions to the larger group, identifying needs to support our vision. The core principles and practices identified from our combined visions include quality of life, sustainability, shared interest and resources - the commons, cooperation/collaboration, learning, and partnership.
The final activity of the summit was focussed on identifying initiatives that we can deploy to support the growth and success of our tech community and outline prototypes. My group outlined a prototype called Amplify WNC Tech that will promote collaboration and content throughout WNC and to the world.
Great things are happening in Western North Carolina and the tech community is uniting for success. Attending this summit was a great opportunity to meet and network with members of my local tech community, as well as work with like-minded folks to strategically plan a future for our region.
For more information about the UNITE WNC Summit, visit http://www.unitewnc.io. Come visit us July 14-15 for Drupal Camp Asheville 2017. For more information and to reserve your seat, visit http://drupalasheville.com.