Each year, the Intelligent Community Forum presents an awards program for Intelligent Communities and the public-sector and private-sector partners who contribute to them.  The awards program has two goals: to salute the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity on a foundation of information and communications technology, and to gather data for ICF's research programs.

The process begins with communities filling out the ICF Awards Program Nominations Form. In the autumn, ICF's team of analysts reviews the forms submitted, evaluating communities based on the Intelligent Community Indicators, and announces its Smart21 Communities of the Year. These Smart21 are the initial group of honorees that are semi-finalists for the Intelligent Community of the Year. 

The Smart21 then fill our a more extensive questionnaire detailing their opportunities, challenges, and results. ICF's analysts review the questionnaires and, in February, ICF names the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Top7 receive media coverage both locally and internationally, and become the finalists for ICF's Intelligent Community of the Year award.

Each of the Top7 Intelligent Communities are then examined further, both through deeper inspection of the questionnaires and visit from an ICF co-founder. An international team of jurors then cast their votes and, on the closing date of ICF's annual Summit, one of the Top7 is named as the Intelligent Community of the Year.  

ICF also names, each year, the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year. This award is presented to an individual or an organization that has taken a leadership role in promoting broadband technology and applications as an essential utility in the Digital Age. The winner is honored along with the Intelligent Community of the Year at the Intelligent Community Awards Dinner during the ICF Summit.