Building a Shared Resource with Yale Wiki CITY

Yale has a vibrant community of student innovators, from teams building companies out of their dorm rooms to students launching nonprofits and creative projects. This fall, Tsai CITY team members are introducing a platform they hope will help gather this community’s collective knowledge in one place — and they envision students leading its growth.

Yale Wiki CITY, a collaborative wiki, aims to make it easier for Yale students working on startups and other innovative projects to create and share resources. The wiki’s content includes introductory guides on key technologies and industries, links to resources like mentorship and grant opportunities, and spaces for teams to document their work. The hope is that as Yale’s innovation ecosystem continues to grow, the wiki will grow along with it, becoming a place where students’ ideas and insights are accessible even after they’ve left campus. “The wiki came about through conversations with members of the Tsai CITY staff and recent Yale entrepreneurs,” explains CITY mentor-in-residence Levi DeLuke, who is leading the project. “We felt that current students had such a wide range of experiences and skills that can be lost when they graduate.”

In conceptualizing the new wiki’s role in filling this gap, DeLuke has also been able to draw on firsthand experience as a Yale entrepreneur. A 2014 Yale College graduate, he co-founded Wellinks, a wearable health technology company, alongside fellow CITY mentor-in-residence Ellen Su (YC ’13). As DeLuke and Su built their company, Yale’s network of budding entrepreneurs played a key role in helping them navigate the field and avoid common pitfalls. “One incredibly useful resource that often gets overlooked are recent graduates who are working in a similar field or in startups of their own,” DeLuke notes. “For our company, they often had very practical advice and guidance, as they had recently gone through many of the same challenges we were facing.” With Yale Wiki CITY, he and others at CITY hope to capture, and broaden access to, the kinds of lessons that benefited the Wellinks team.

Currently, the wiki’s content falls into several core categories. There is an initial set of in-development resource guides on specific technology and industry topics, from the basics of common software tools to best practices for e-commerce. The wiki also includes sections on resources with broad relevance to student teams, such as entrepreneurial organizations at Yale and in Connecticut, potential funding sources, and slides from CITY workshops on topics like applying for grants and developing effective pitches. There is also space for teams, both from CITY’s cohort programs — including the Accelerator and several Intensives this fall — and around campus, to document their work and findings. Ideally, this last section will become a repository of information on Yale teams past and present, allowing fledgling teams to learn from others’ work and to connect with Yalies who have tackled similar challenges.

  Categories from    Yale Wiki CITY   .

Categories from Yale Wiki CITY.

Across all of these categories, the intention is for students, rather than CITY staff, to serve as the wiki’s primary content creators and editors, keeping material dynamic as Yale’s innovation ecosystem expands. “One of the goals of the wiki is to evolve to meet the needs of student teams over time,” DeLuke says. To that end, the team is now looking to recruit student innovators to help build Yale Wiki CITY from the ground up. Students are welcome to contribute to the wiki: whether they discover a new resource worth sharing, want to help others learn about their favorite technical tool, or are interested in sharing insights from their own project, the wiki’s contributor guide provides an onramp to adding new material or editing existing pages. Students who are interested in diving deeper can also take on leadership roles as part of the wiki’s launch and early growth; student roles include Topic Leader and Content Manager.

“I'm sure there are things we haven't thought of or have overlooked, and the wiki will hopefully grow to meet those needs with student-created content, or [highlight] existing resources,” notes DeLuke. As the wiki gets off the ground, he and the CITY team invite students to help shape its direction, collectively creating a resource by and for each other.

Explore Yale Wiki CITY here. Want to share what you know about a resource, technical topic, or experience? Create or edit a page by following the wiki’s contributor guide. Want to take on a leadership role? Email levi.deluke@gmail.com to learn about becoming a Topic Leader or Content Manager.

Laura Mitchell