ICF Summit 2021: Communities on the Verge

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The ICF Summit is unlike any ”smart city,” urban planning or economic development conference you will attend. We've retooled our event to make sure it is safe to attend while the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic - while making sure all attendees will still get the four main takeaways they've been coming to ICF Summits for since 2004. So join us virtually from October 26-28 to learn how to go from “smart city” to Intelligent Community and true, sustainable growth.

Summit Theme: Communities on the Verge

Following the most disruptive year in modern history, communities are on the verge. Unforeseen challenges have shown the contrast between communities resilient enough to overcome them… and those that are falling behind. So where does your community fall? Are you on the verge of prosperity, or the verge of decline?

With this year’s Summit, we look at communities that are proactive rather than reactive. Communities that use the ICF Method to turn themselves into the places we need for future prosperity. Communities that embrace people-centered progress. That are not only prepared for traditional challenges, but able reimagine themselves when new ones arise. Communities that will lead us all on the path forward. Communities that are not just smart… but are Intelligent.

A Proven Method for Growth. Meet officials from cities, counties and metro areas who have faced similar challenges and tried the ICF Method as the centerpiece of their growth and sustainability policies. Today they are known around the world for their success and quality of life.

Inspiration. Workshops, awards programs and inspiring examples teach, encourage and reinforce your community’s journey, and support your path forward.

International Opportunities. McKinsey estimates that 80% of the world’s trade will cross international borders within 10 years. Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow proved that 80% of economic growth comes from technology innovation. The ICF Summit brings together cities and towns from all around the world and has been the direct route to international opportunities in the innovation economy for nearly 180 of them.

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Conference Agenda

Day 1: Planning and Economic Development Day - 26 October

Leadership, Social Media and Building Trust

11:00am EST – Welcome

Welcome and introduction from the ICF Co-Founders.

Speakers Include:

  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • John Jung, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum

Bell_Headshot_2019_Smalll.jpg     JohnJung.jpg     LouZacharilla.jpg

11:10am EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Binh Duong Smart City, Vietnam

In the heart of Vietnam’s southeastern Binh Duong Province is a brand new city in development. Binh Duong Smart City is being created by the Smart City Office, Becamex, the state agency overseeing the project, the academic and entrepreneurial sector and the Standing and the Peoples’ Committees of the government all working in concert to design a modern, environmentally friendly city that will someday be home to one million Vietnamese. The new city already includes Eastern International University, a world-class academic institution, as well as six industrial parks and the region’s first accelerator. Binh Duong Smart City has worked tirelessly, assisted by ideas such as the “triple helix” collaboration method from ICF alumnus Eindhoven, the 2011 Intelligent Community of the Year, to transform a traditionally agrarian, low-population area into a core of Vietnam’s Southern Key Economic Zone. Learn more >>>

Speakers include:

  • Lou Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)


11:20am EST – Panel: Economic Developers Roundtable

Economic developers from municipalities and counties discuss the changing nature of investment attraction, business stimulation and support, and the collaboration with other agencies and sectors needed to develop the economy of an Intelligent Community in a world being restructured by digital technologies.

Speakers include:

  • Jason BechtoldAssistant City Manager, City of Westerville, Ohio, USA


12:10pm EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

pr11.jpgUrban planning works. That is the lesson of Curitiba, which has engaged in proactive planning for its future for nearly 40 years. While other Brazilian cities welcomed heavy industry, Curitiba accepted only non-polluters and developed an industrial district with so much green space that it was derided as a “golf course” until it filled up with more than 3,500 companies. Beginning in the 1970s, the master plan laid out streets, public transportation, shopping, industrial and residential areas. Today, clean water reaches 100% and sanitation 93% of the population, and the city offers a range of services still rare in emerging market nations: municipal healthcare, education and daycare networks, neighborhood libraries, and sports and culture facilities near mass transport terminals.

Speakers include:

  • Mayor Rafael Valdomiro Greca de Macedo, City of Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
  • Cris Alessi, President and CEO, Curitiba Agency of Innovation
  • Andre Boaventura, CMO and Partner, Ebanx
  • Isabela Albuquerque, Career Manager, Pontifical Catholic University
  • John Jung, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)



12:20pm EST – Break


12:30pm EST – Panel: Planning for Growth: The Intersection Between Urban Planning and Economic Development

The changes in the global economy have created new opportunities for communities of all sizes - big and small, urban and rural - to participate in the global economy. But to fully take advantage of these opportunities, city planners need to adapt and take these changes into account, working more closely with their economic development colleagues. In this panel, we explore how the fields of urban planning and economic development are inherently related, and how they can work together to shape a community's prosperity. 

Speakers include:

  • Wendy DupleyDirector, Economic Development & Civic Properties, City of Maple Ridge, BC, Canada 

1:20pm EST – Panel: Our Real Virtual Future: The Digitalization of City Services

Intelligent Communities around the world are reimagining how they deliver services for their citizens. Digital solutions for delivering government services have increased citizen engagement, lowered government costs, and allowed for streamlined service that enhances the quality of life of citizens. In this panel, we speak with intelligent community representatives and solutions providers on how digitalizing city services can be of benefit to local governments for all communities, large and small.

Speakers include:

  • Moez ChaabouniManaging Partner and Chief Revenue Officer, Summit Technologies LLC



Day 2: Workshop Day - 27 October

11:00am EST – Welcome

Welcome and introduction from the ICF Co-Founders.

Speakers Include:

  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • John Jung, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum


11:10am EST – Master Class Workshop | Bringing Broadband to Your Community

A condensed version of ICF’s Master Class workshop focuses on how small and midsize communities can get the digital infrastructure they need and turn it into value. Bring your challenges for discussion and leave the room with practical ideas for next steps. Led by Dr. Norman Jacknis.

Dr. Jacknis is currently Senior Fellow at the Intelligent Community Forum. His responsibilities include leading ICF’s Rural Imperative, building on the ideas he developed for the US Conference of Mayors on a future-oriented economic growth strategy for cities. Before joining ICF, he was Director, Cisco’s IBSG Public Sector Group (the company’s open innovation and pro-bono strategic advisory group), where he worked extensively with states and local government, the National Association of Counties, the US Conference of Mayors and the staff responsible for the Federal government’s website and citizen engagement. In addition to citizen engagement, his focus was on economic growth, innovation, and the future of technology. More 


12:20pm EST – Keynote Interview | The Moment of Truth - Going from Smart to Intelligent

ICF Co-Founder Lou Zacharilla does a live interview for the ICF Moment of Truth podcast series. In this series, community leaders share their "moment of enlightenment" - the moment that they realized the difference between a smart city and an intelligent community, and how they took steps to take their community to the next level.


12:40pm EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Langley Township, British Columbia, Canada

The Township of Langley has a long and storied history that includes millennia of occupation by the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations before European settlers built Fort Langley – often called “the birthplace of British Columbia” – in the early 1800s. The rural township was incorporated in 1873 and continued to grow and flourish as transportation expanded in Canada, from the British Columbia Electric Railway to the Fraser Highway. Langley experienced its greatest yet economic boom post World War II when the Trans-Canada Highway brought convenience and new vigor to its suburbs. In the modern era, the township has put its energies into engaging all sectors of the community in progress, having developed a heritage center to open dialogue with the First Nations while also looking to the community at large for guidance on policy decisions and more. 

Speakers include:

  • Mark Bakken, Chief Administrative Officer, Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada
  • Steve Scheepmaker, Director, Corporate Administration, Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada
  • Ramin Seifi, General Manager, Engineering & Community Development, Township of Langley, British Columbia, Canada
  • Lou Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)


12:50pm EST – Break


1:00pm EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, is a business and technology center in its own right. The city grew into Canada’s sixth-most-populous municipality in the second half of the 20th century as it attracted a large multicultural population around its thriving central business district. Mississauga is home to Canada’s busiest airport as well as many of the nation’s major corporations. Outside the business district, the city also has an impressive arts community and is home to many major festivals, including Carassauga, the second-largest culture festival in Canada. Many of these festivals take place in Mississauga’s Celebration Square, the city’s recently restructured and vibrant Civic Square. Mississauga began as a collection of many hamlets and villages, each with their own distinct cultural offerings, that have led to the city’s rich and diverse heritage and cultural offerings today.


1:10pm EST – Master Class Workshop | Taking Your City from Connectivity to Community

A condensed version of ICF’s Master Class workshop outlines the ICF Method for turning connectivity into economic, social and cultural growth in unpredictable times. Bring your challenges for discussion and leave the room with practical ideas for next steps. Led by ICF co-founder Robert Bell


Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research, analysis and content development activities. He directs the multi-stage analysis of communities for the annual Intelligent Community Awards program and authors the in-depth profiles of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities that are core to ICF's mission. Robert developed and leads the Intelligent Community Master Class and Community Accelerator programs, as well as ICF's advisory services for communities, and is a frequent speaker at municipal and telecom events. More


2:00pm EST – Case Study | Taking the Next Step

In this Case Study, ICF Co-Founder Robert Bell speaks with a community leader that has demonstrated the ICF Method to lead their community to becoming intelligent.


2:20pm EST – Closing and Invitation to Networking Reception


2:30pm EST - Virtual Networking Reception

Registrants will be invited to a separate Zoom Networking Reception, including breakout rooms for specific topics of conversation. 

Day 3: Intelligent Community of the Year Day - 28 October

11:00am EST – Welcome

Welcome and introduction from the ICF Co-Founders.

Speakers Include:

  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • John Jung, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum


11:10am EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Moscow, Russia

moscow-russia.jpgThe capital city of Russia, Moscow produces more than 20% of that nation’s GDP and, with over 12 million people, is the largest city on the European continent. It is also a city that has taken enormous strides to build a collaborative, knowledge-based economy in a nation better known for top-down leadership, where 80% of exports are of oil, natural gas and other natural resources. Moscow has 26 technology parks and technopolises spread across all its districts, which support more than 1,300 high-tech companies. Plans call for more than doubling the number to 60 by the end of 2017. They specialize in microelectronics, optoelectronics, photonics, medical tech, pharmaceuticals, analytical and monitoring equipment, robotics, telecom and energy. City government seeded the first set of tech parks with public funds but the primary source of investment today is private-sector.


11:20am EST – Panel | CIO Roundtable

CIOs and IT experts discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities facing municipal governments as they deploy technologies. This year’s focus is on the influence of the Tech Giants on participatory government and the reshaping of IT in light of changing user culture.

Speakers include:

  • Moez ChaabouniManaging Partner and Chief Revenue Officer, Summit Technologies LLC (Moderator)



12:20pm EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Townsville enjoys a seaside location with more than 300 days of sunshine per year and is often considered the capital of Northern Queensland, Australia. But it is no stranger to crisis, from the loss of key industries to natural disaster. It is pushing back with a relentless focus on innovation. The city has been and still is an industrial center, as it is home to one of the world’s largest zinc refineries, a major nickel refinery and other industries. Townsville is currently expanding its port as part of a $30 million operation to allow for passage of larger cargo and passenger ships. The city also contains a number of natural attractions, including “The Strand,” a long beach and garden strip, the Riverway parkland on the banks of the Ross River, a large tropical aquarium and museum, among others. Townsville aims to build on these strengths with further innovation and engagement with its own people and many visitors.


12:30pm EST – Break


12:40pm EST – Top7 Conversation Highlight: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Lesislaturewinnipegmb.jpgLocated at the midpoint between East and West Coasts, Winnipeg is the capital of a province rich in agricultural and natural resources. In the 21st Century, the city is pursuing economic growth by better connecting industry and education, while better equipping its large aboriginal population for opportunity. Winnipeg has formed partnerships linking employers like Canadian Tire to the University of Winnipeg, an ICT association and other public-private groups to improve the supply of skilled employees. The city has also leveraged its public library system as a way to close the digital divide among citizens - the library provides free access to 350 public computers with Internet access and a variety of MS Office software for public use.

Speakers include:

  • Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Dayna Spiring, President and CEO, Economic Development Winnipeg
  • Barb Gamey, Founder, Payworks
  • Obby Khan, Entrepreneur and former CFL Athlete
  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)


12:50pm EST – Keynote Panel | Mayors Roundtable: Communities on the Verge... of what?

Recent studies have shown that local government is the most trusted level of government among average citizens. Given the disruptions facing our communities today, this puts immense pressure on mayors and leaders to navigate their communities through these troubled times. How do mayors use this trust in local government and turn it into action to prepare their communities for the future? How do they take their community from being on the verge of failure, and turn it into success? How do they use the ICF Method to move forward? And where do we go from here?


1:50pm EST – Intelligent Community Awards

Announcement of the Intelligent Community of the Year.


Intelligent Community Awards Dinner, 2018

More about the Intelligent Community Forum

ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world’s Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology. To help communities build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, ICF conducts research, hosts events, publishes and produces a high-profile international awards program. Over the last 20 years, ICF has become an international movement that attracts the attention of global leaders, thinkers and media observers.

October 26, 2021 at 11:00am - October 28, 2021 | Eastern Time (US & Canada)

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