Why are we here today?
The Intelligent Community Forum, a global think tank headquartered in NYC, was started over two decades ago because the world was changing and as observers and active participants, we wanted to ensure nothing less than the survival of our species, the improvement of the quality of the lives of our citizens, the enhancements necessary to make our communities more livable and to ensure that our children and their children were educated and had access to an equitable opportunity for a lifestyle they deserved when they came onto this earth. We decided long ago that we needed to actively engage ourselves into this discussion and do everything that we could to help to make this happen. So, the burning question for you today is - why are you here today? We believe that you are here today because in your own way you, with your expertise and talent, also want to become more actively engaged in this discussion.
So, what’s it all about?
What are we discussing here that is impacting us as a society, culture and as communities? It’s about challenges that we face everyday. And they are growing and mounting challenges that we all need to find solutions for. We see the results all around us: pollution; wars and societal shifts due to massive inequities; the global search for talent, often ripping families apart; people losing their jobs because of changes in technology, lack of skills or changes in trading patterns; overpopulation, creating demands on housing, mobility and other stresses on the built form and on communities; inadequate leadership, unable to solve these challenges; and the inability of our communities to be resilient to the impacts of our changing climates. I think it’s all about 4 major things:
DISRUPTIONS (DIGITAL / TECHNOLOGICAL)
We can discuss each of these at great length, since each can be devastating in their own right, but the current combination of these puts the survival of our species to the test. And we need to all act now to ensure we do survive.
Globalization impacts us through the shifts of jobs and trade, but can also, if strategically achieved, create more efficient, less expensive and better quality products and services that everyone may be able to participate in. However, the inequities that it leaves in some part of the world must be dealt with or else we’ll continue to create inequitable challenges such as massive shifts of our societies and cultures, urban stress in our communities and sometimes even leading to war.
Urbanization in a massive scale, especially in the form of over-population in specific regions around the world, will challenge many urban municipalities and regions, but will also impact rural areas. Some cities and regions, especially in China, India and in Africa will be challenged to the extreme over the decades to come and must prepare for this burden now. But even small and medium sized communities will find the impacts of continued growth to be challenges that they must seek solutions for, but where can they begin to get the information, insights and support to be successful?
Technological change, often referred to as digital disruption, is impacting people and our communities in irreversible ways that many people and communities can no longer resist and must find ways for this wave of change to happen, but in a way that benefits them, and not to their disadvantage.
And often the most immediate, and yet, longest-term impact, climate change, must be of paramount concern. We are impacted when unusual weather floods our communities, ravages our coastlines, dries out our food-lands or changes patterns of infestations. But it also is changing massive landscapes in the arctic which will have impacts many years from now. Our ability to be resilient and work toward reducing the negative impacts of climate change must be the world’s most important goal. It will take our collective strength, talent and will to overcome its undesirable global impacts.
But we cannot leave this to others to do. We must all find ways individually and as a community to contribute to finding solutions for these global challenges.
Where is this happening? Everywhere. No community, society, culture or individual is immune to these challenges.
When is it happening? Now and continuing into the future. It will only get worse if we do not act now.
Who will it impact and who should get involved? Everyone is and will continue to be impacted by these challenges; many more severely and timely than others, but in some way, we are all being impacted by these challenges and we all need to get involved. We need to get our leaders and decision makers involved now, but we cannot just leave it to others. Our individual destinies must also be ensured.
How can we get involved? There are many ways to get involved locally, regionally and globally. We created the Intelligent Community Forum as a platform for individuals and communities from the public, private and institutional sectors to learn, share and promote the creation of an intelligent community approach. Through self-actualization, communities can learn about these challenges and find solutions to common challenges through investigating the global case studies that ICF offers, or through their links globally, ICF can introduce communities to them. By taking a self-reliance approach and benchmarking their communities to others that ICF has qualified over the years, communities can begin to identify their greatest challenges and use the shared insights from other communities to channel and focus their limited resources in ways that can make their greatest impact. Through gaining insights from the data and case studies that these ICF communities have, whether they are mega-regions or small and rural communities, they can begin to develop the strategies necessary to help them to achieve success.
There are many organizations that can assist individuals, communities and even countries to deal with these challenges. ICF offers several ways it can help communities to be more self-reliant to deal with these challenges through awareness and capacity-building; educating communities through workshops, programs available at ICF Institutes; case studies and benchmarking offered through report cards and community accelerators; introductions and global connections at our events and through our daily network; inspiring communities through an annual awards program; and through special gatherings around the world where people and communities come together to benefit from discourse around subjects that deal with these global challenges and solutions. It is at the Global Summit where the top communities around the world are also showcased and examined in great detail, offering insights to what these communities are doing to deal with these challenges.
To begin with, if you have not participated in the Intelligent Community movement before, the best way to start is to simply join us at one of our global gatherings. The next one is the Global Summit in London, England from June 4-6, 2018.
Maybe it’s the best thing that you can do for your yourself, your family and your community to begin to get involved. For more information on ICF and the Global Summit, see: https://www.intelligentcommunity.org/summit_18