The i-team is in the second step of our innovation process, as defined by Bloomberg Philanthropies (read more here). During this step we are thinking big about ideas that could be successful in addressing problems related to infrastructure in Syracuse.

We call this stage “ideation”.

Ideation, or the formation of ideas or concepts, includes looking at infrastructure research, learning about existing infrastructure products or services, traveling to cities that handle infrastructure well (more on this soon), and hearing directly from the local community.

We’ve heard from community members at a variety of meetings including Tomorrow’s Neighborhood Today (TNT) meetings, Tech Meetups, and downtown constituent meetings. We’ve also had many one-on-one interviews with business and property owners. We have not held large events for people to offer ideas, until now.




We’ve planned a few ideation events with groups internal to city government, because people who work for the City of Syracuse have knowledge about the inner-workings of government and city departments. They have also done the physical work to improve our infrastructure systems. This group knows the city government and its processes and has valuable opinions on how to improve those processes.

The first group we met with was made up of staff from the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Neighborhood & Business Development, the Research Bureau, the Law Department, and other offices. The participants came up with many ideas related to communication, technology, and project management.

In the coming weeks, we’ll meet with others within the city, including those from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Water, and the Department of Engineering.




After the internal ideation session, we were invited to facilitate a meeting with F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse. This group has monthly meetings on Friday mornings and attracts a diverse array of community members interested in civic engagement and city advancement. About 60 people attended. WRVO gave a nice recap of the event that you can read and listen to, here.




Here are a few of the ideas from both sessions we held (We haven’t endorsed or fully researched any of these, yet):

  • iPads/tablets in the field for immediate data entry

  • Project management software shared by all departments

  • 3d printing stations to fix different parts of the city’s infrastructure

  • App for citizens to report problems they see in the city

  • More citizen science to find problems and solutions in the city

  • Involve the community from the beginning whenever an infrastructure project is being planned

We plan to do more of these types of events, both internal and external, formal and informal. If you have a regular event that you host, we’d love to hear from your attendees. Additionally, you can leave ideas in the comments section below, or reach us on Twitter using the hashtag #iteams.

By the end of October, we will have identified 3-5 ideas that we believe will help to improve infrastructure in Syracuse. We’ll let you know more about those ideas soon.

In the meantime, we’d like to hear your ideas, too! Post in the comments below!