Oh No…Not Another Blog About the 2015 ICF Summit…

This year’s Summit in Toronto was different and perhaps needs to be recounted. First of all, it was produced by an entirely new entity, ICF Canada, in partnership with Waterfront Toronto, City of Toronto, Invest Toronto and the Summit’s Platinum Sponsors, IBM and Cisco. We also had an anniversary - the 20th Anniversary Edition! We had our best-ever event this year since 1995 when we held SMART95 in Toronto – the world’s first ever Smart City conference. So it was no surprize to us that 20 years later we held a phenomenal SOLD OUT event once again that covered 5 days from June 8-12.

JJung21Highlights1.pngHere are the Top 21 highlights of the past week:

  1. Columbus, Ohio was selected as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year at a fabulous Awards Dinner on June 11 – Congratulations Columbus! Now everyone will really know what it means to say O-H (…I-O);
  2. Former Taichung Mayor Jason Hu’s speech as ICF’s 2015 Visionary of the Year was truly inspiring and filled with humor, passion and enlightenment;
  3. We were honoured by the Governor General of Canada’s Keynote Address on Smart and Intelligent Communities. He provided the international audience with a perspective that was both a reflection of his time as a former University President and as a respected global thought leader;
  4. The all-day tour of the Intelligent Community of Waterloo (2007) included visits to Conestoga College, University of Waterloo’s Quantum Nanotechnology Centre, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Perimeter Institute and its Stephen Hawking Centre as well as the Communitech Hub;
  5. The all-day tour of the Intelligent Community of Toronto (2014) included the innovation ecosystems of Ryerson, Sheridan College, University of Toronto and OCADU- The University of the Imagination;
  6. JJung21Highlights3.pngIDEAS Day – an inaugural event intended to become an annual event - this year sponsored by IBM with 25 exceptional speakers from around the world shared amazing Big IDEAs among its global attendees;
  7. 5 days of tours, business matchmaking, receptions, dinners, performances, networking and one-on-one introductions;
  8. 105 impressive speakers and exhilarating presentations, including Co-Founder Robert Bell’s Urban Master Class speakers and ICF Fellow Norm Jacknis’ Rural Master Class;
  9. ICFF’s Board meeting and inaugural launch of ICF Canada along with new committees to explore its mandate, governance and sustainability;
  10. The second annual economic development and business matchmaking session with 34 tables was another success.
  11. ICF’s Welcome Reception was also the inaugural event at Cisco’s new downtown Hub in Toronto;
  12. ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla orchestrated a highly energized Top 7 Intelligent Community Reception and “Pep Rally” with New Taipei City Far Eastern Group’s Lan Yuh giving a most memorable speech that evening;
  13. The Opening Panel of the ICF Summit included Toronto Planning Commissioner Jennifer Keesmaat and Eindhoven Mayor van Gijzel, on the controversial topic: “If Planners Ruled the World”;
  14. ICF’s International Jury luncheon focused on the 2015 selection process and ways to make it better;
  15. Implementing its digital inclusion philosophy, ICF Canada presented Toronto’s Yonge Street Mission with 100 brand new 7” Ashtok Tablets at the June 11 Awards Dinner made by Datawind, a sponsor of the ICF Summit and whose CEO was the 2014 ICF Visionary of the Year;
  16. Delegations came from Columbus, Cleveland, Mitchell, New Taipei City, and Ipswich;
  17. The Waterloo-Eindhoven and the Arlington-Dublin Intelligent Community connections were showcased during the opening panels;
  18. JJung21Highlights2.pngTechnicity Talks were inaugurated at the June 11 Top 7 Intelligent Community Interviews
  19. Toronto’s Waterfront, MaRS Discovery District, University of Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre and the Arcadian Court were showcased throughout the week;
  20. The staging and lighting of this year’s events were superb; and
  21. This year was the largest audience to an ICF Summit event since 1995 including representation from many of the global Intelligent Communities of the Year.

We heard from some delegates that this was one of the most friendly and informative conference they had ever attended. We even received the following comments from Crissie Cochrane (www.crissicochrane.com), our Top 7 Reception entertainer this year:

“This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of singing at the ICF Summit Reception in Toronto's MaRS Discovery District. As an artist, it is a thrill to watch cities be distinguished and inspiring to revel in their success stories. Living in Windsor Ontario, I've seen the excitement firsthand when Windsor-Essex was recognized in the Top 7 in 2011. It's an opportunity to tell our stories on the world stage and celebrate each other's achievements with pride. This power to create positive change is this very thing that compels me to write and share my music. And so there is something very special about this gathering of people from around the world. The spirit of shared experience was as real and warming as wine and I was witness to a brilliant synergy: a room of world travelers, each on a journey towards a brighter tomorrow. It cheers me to think of all the inspiration that has been taken home. My sincerest congratulations to this year's Intelligent Communities!”

Co-Founder/Chair ICF; ICF Canada, formerly CTT/ GTMA/CEDA/Board CUI, Urban Planner & Designer, Author & Speaker on Econ Devel/ Smart & Intelligent Cities
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