Reports and White Papers

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Sharpening Canada's Competitive Edge - June 2016 (Purchase Now)
Since the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) announced its first list of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year, Canadian cities have made a near-annual appearance on ICF’s honor role. From 2002 through 2016, a total of 27 cities and regions in Canada have passed through ICF’s rigorous evaluation process to qualify as a Smart21 semi-finalist, a Top7 finalist or the Intelligent Community of the Year. In the second half of 2015, the Intelligent Communities Group (ICG) conducted an in-depth survey of the nation’s Intelligent Communities on behalf of ICF Canada using a questionnaire based on the methodology developed by the Intelligent Community Forum in its annual Awards program and Accelerator service. This report is based on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered through the ICF Canada survey process. Its objectives are to paint a portrait of Canada’s Intelligent Communities in both numbers and words, and to identify their outsized contributions to attracting and retaining investment and talent, both domestic and foreign, in the Canadian economy. It is understood that this report will be used to further develop marketing information to help these Canadian communities promote themselves for foreign direct investment purposes as innovation ecosystems with a unique competitive edge as Intelligent Communities.

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Creating City-to-City Connections - May 2016 (Purchase Now)
In business and economic development, relationship is key. This is true within a city, town or region, and is even more critical in attracting talent, investment and employment from outside. This report provides a case study of how two cities on opposite sides of the Atlantic – each named an Intelligent Community of the Year by ICF – built a relationship that translated into economic value, with the promise of much more to come. It offers specific guidance in such critical areas as identifying prospective partner communities, setting expectations, aligning goals and maintaining momentum. But it is important to state at the outset that none of the ideas, strategies or projects can succeed without the binding power of trusted relationships that originated in the Intelligent Community Forum.

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From Revolution to Renaissance - July 2015 (Download PDF)
Preparing for the future has never been easy. It has seldom been harder, however, than it is today. We already live in a world where the largest taxi company on earth owns no vehicles. Where the world’s most popular media owner creates no content, the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate and the most valuable retailer stocks no inventory. Those companies are, respectively, Uber, FaceBook, Airbnb and Alibaba, according to Tom Goodwin, writing for TechCrunch.com. Their businesses were made possible by the enormous growth of the Internet, and they are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the radical changes that this network-of-networks is driving through how we live, work, shop, travel, worship, educate and entertain ourselves.

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The Revolutionary Community - July 2014 (Download PDF)
The work of creating an Intelligent Community often begins in crisis. But once the crisis is past, how do Intelligent Communities maintain their momentum and avoid being caught unprepared by the next wave of change? They engage in urban and regional planning – a deliberate, strategic and collaborative effort to design a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for their people. But this is planning with a difference. They know that today’s disruptions in technology, the economy and the environment will only grow more intense. They understand the profound impact that the broadband economy will have on their physical form, the delivery of services and their competitive advantages. So they approach the planning of land-use and infrastructure, sustainability and community development in revolutionary ways.

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Community as Canvas - July 2013 (Download PDF)
Where humans are, there is culture. Culture gives us a sense of identity and belonging. It also creates intellectual property that can have substantial economic value. It is the foundation for all progress and also and set limits to how much progress we can make. In the 2013-2014 Awards cycle, ICF will focus on the power of culture to help or hinder the transformation of towns, cities and regions into Intelligent Communities.

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Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Program Report - April 2013 (Download PDF)
Publication of this report marks the completion of a two-year collaboration between the Inteligent Community Forum and the Blandin Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating vibrant rural communities in the state of Minnesota. For the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) project, ICF adapted its global Intelligent Community Indicators to measure the readiness and progress of 11 communities in rural Minnesota. For more information about this report, click here.

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Innovation and Employment in Intelligent Communities - July 2012 (Download PDF)
Innovation is the primary driver of economic growth, by creating new demand and empowering us to do more with the same resources of raw materials, people and money. But growth in the economy is not always the same as growth in employment, because innovation destroys jobs as well as creating them. In making innovation the pillar of their economy, Intelligent Communities seek to balance its positive and negative impacts to generate economic growth and high-quality employment in an environment that delivers exceptional quality of life to all citizens

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Intelligent Communities: Platforms for Innovation - June 2011 (Download PDF)
Innovation is not necessarily about technology. Innovation is not the same as invention. And that's a good thing. Try as they might, most communities will not transform themselves into hotbeds of technology invention. But there is every opportunity for communities to raise the innovation rate of their businesses, institutions and government in a dynamic partnership that produces results ranging from better and cheaper service delivery to citizens to the birth and growth of entrepreneurial businesses and vital new institutions.

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The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2011 (Download PDF)
To gain a place among the Top Seven, communities pass through an intensive analysis of their strategies, programs and results in five categories: broadband deployment, the ability to create and sustain a knowledge-based workforce, digital inclusion, innovation, marketing and advocacy. The Top Seven excel in all of these areas. But that does not make them the seven "smartest" communities on the planet, whatever that might mean. Rather, it makes them the seven most compelling models of best practice in economic and community development worldwide.

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Health in the Intelligent Community - June 2010 (Download PDF)
Global health expenditures rose from an average of 9.2% of GDP in 2000 to 9.7% in 2007. Given the enormous sums involved and the high rate of growth, there is now a wide-ranging debate about how the costs of healthcare can be reined in without damage to outcomes. Meanwhile, inequities in healthcare among nations – and between rural and urban areas even in middle to high-income countries – remain large. Whether the goal is to reduce costs, improve outcomes or extend basic health services to the underserved, innovation is the means to get there and Intelligent Communities are well positioned to benefit from the wave of innovation expected in healthcare and life sciences. Intelligent Communities also have a secret weapon. Because they have experience with leveraging information and communications technology to build a competitive economy, Intelligent Communities also understand the ecosystem that such companies require, from access to knowledge workers and the support of educational institutions to a culture that supports change.

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The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2010 (Download PDF)
To gain a place among the Top Seven, communities pass through an intensive analysis of their strategies, programs and results in five categories: broadband deployment, the ability to create and sustain a knowledge-based workforce, digital inclusion, innovation, marketing and advocacy. The Top Seven excel in all of these areas. But that does not make them the seven "smartest" communities on the planet, whatever that might mean. Rather, it makes them the seven most compelling models of best practice in economic and community development worldwide.

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The Education "Last Mile" - Closing the Gap Between School and Work -  July 2009 (Download PDF)
Education has cultural, social, spiritual and aesthetic value, but its most tangible value is in preparing a young person for work. Unless that young person successfully crosses the last mile from school to work – work in a prospering local industry that pays a living wage – the years of schooling produce little payoff for the community that made the investment. How do you work to connect the talent emerging from secondary schools, technical schools, colleges and universities to local career opportunities, instead of seeing it leave the community?

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