Part 3: ICF Rural Initiatives

Intelligent Rural Community Indicators

Blandin-Foundation-250.gifBeginning in 2010, ICF has partnered with the Blandin Foundation to adapt our global standard, the Intelligent Community Indicators, to the density and scale of rural communities. Blandin is dedicated to creating vibrant communities in the rural areas of the US state of Minnesota. The Intelligent Rural Community Indicators are based largely on publicly available data and provide meaningful evaluation of the readiness of rural communities to use broadband and information technology for economic and social development. Among other factors, they measure broadband penetration and costs, educational performance and attainment, digital inclusion efforts, innovation by business and government, and the communities’ skills at marketing themselves to the world and advocating for change within the community. For the Blandin Foundation, ICF conducts benchmark evaluations of communities involved in their programs, and then repeats the evaluation later to determine progress. For ICF’s exclusive Community Accelerator program, ICF offers its Intelligent Rural Community Indicators as effective means to measure readiness and track progress in building sustainable prosperity.

Search for Intelligent Rural Community Models

ICF believes strongly that ICT, properly applied, holds the key to sustainable prosperity for rural communities, and we have launched an active search for model strategies and programs that use it to attack the challenges unique to rural communities. Examples may include efforts to create “virtual clusters” in specific industries, proactive marketing that connects citizens to distance learning applications, or a mixed face-to-face and social networking approach to matching entrepreneurs with investors. From these strategies and programs, ICF will distill best practices and share them with communities around the world.



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