Brain Gain

How innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption


Selected by American City & County for the 2014 Leadership Book Club


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By the authors of Broadband Economies and Seizing Our Destiny

In their third book, ICF’s co-founders take on a central issue of our time: how to balance two essential demands of the Digital Age economy – innovation and employment – to create communities that thrive.

Brain Gain: How Innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption is a survival manual for cities and regions on how to build economic prosperity and meet social challenges in an age of technological change.

Why has the global economy created a projected jobs gap of 75 million persons? Why are jobless recoveries now commonplace and why are middle-skilled jobs being erased? Brain Gain explains how innovation combined with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is driving global economic change and has created a new force to be dealt with – the global connectivity of the broadband Internet.

Brain Gain probes the big issues of work and well-being, the innovation economy, offshoring, immigration and the future of big cities and small towns as they deal with the broadband economy. Innovation and advances in communications technology destroy jobs but also create new ones, cities must decide if they want to take actions that will provide a brain gain or a brain drain.

The book explores these crucial issues through the experiences of cities and regions that have faced challenging problems and found imaginative solutions. With the guidance of the Intelligent Community Forum, citizens in aspiring communities have applied leadership, vision, and ambition to create celebrated success stories in cities as diverse as Taichung, Taiwan, home to 2.6 million people, and Mitchell, South Dakota USA, home to only 15,000. In all, Brain Gain profiles 18 communities with the authors’ latest insights from more than 10 years of research into what makes the most Intelligent Communities on the planet.


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