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Intelligent Community Indicators

In a study funded by the Province of Ontario, Canada, the Intelligent Community Forum defined critical success factors for the creation of Intelligent Communities.  This list of Intelligent Community Indicators, as the study termed them, provided the first conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community's competitiveness in the Broadband Economy.   In its work since then, ICF has also identified a number of success factors for Intelligent Communities in both industrialized and developing nations.   Intelligent Community Success Factors
 1.   Broadband
Broadband is the next essential utility, as vital to economic growth as clean water and good roads.  Whatever the speed, the power of broadband is simple enough to express.  It connects your computer, laptop or mobile device to billions of devices and users around the world, creating a digital overlay to our physical world that is revolutionizing how we work, play, live, educate and entertain ourselves, govern our citizens and relate to the world.
 2.   Knowledge Workforce
Today, all desirable jobs in industrialized economies – and increasingly in developing economies as well – require a higher component of knowledge than they did in the past.  It is by applying knowledge and specialized skills that employees add enough value to what they do to justify the cost of employing them.  In the future, any employee whose "value-added" does not exceed his or her salary cost can expect to be replaced, sooner or later, by software or hardware.  A continuous improvement in an evolving range of skills is the only route to personal prosperity. 
 3.   Innovation 
Innovation is essential to the interconnected economy of the 21st Century. Intelligent Communities pursue innovation through a relationship between business, government and such institutions as universities and hospitals.  The Innovation Triangle or “Triple Helix” helps keep the economic benefits of innovation local, and creates an innovation ecosystem that engages the entire community in positive change.  Investments in innovative technology by government contribute to that culture and improve service to citizens while reducing operating costs. 
 4.   Digital Equality 
Digital equality is a simple principle: that everyone in the community deserves access to broadband technologies and the skills to use them.  Like most principles, it is easier to understand than it is to live. The explosive advance of the broadband economy has worsened the exclusion of people who already play a peripheral role in the economy and society, whether due to poverty, lack of education, prejudice, age, disability, or simply where they live.  It has disrupted industries from manufacturing to retail services, enlarging the number of people for whom the digital revolution is a burden rather than a blessing.  
 5.   Sustainability  
Improving current living standards, while maintaining the ability of future generations to do the same, is at the core of sustainability.  Throughout human history, economic growth has always involved the consumption of more resources and the production of more waste.  As humanity begins to push up against the limits of the ecosystem to provide resources and absorb waste, we need to find ways to continue growth – with all of its positive impacts on the community – while reducing the environmental impact of that growth. 
6.   Advocacy  
It is all too common for a community's leaders or groups of citizens to set themselves against changes that would ultimately benefit the community. The willingness to embrace change and the determination to help shape it, however, are core competencies of the Intelligent Community.  Few places naturally possess those competencies.  They must be cultivated, often over years, through advocacy.

The Intelligent Community Indicators provide communities with a framework for assessment, planning and development, as they work to build prosperous local economies in the Broadband Economy.  The Indicators also reveal the interactions that can create a "virtuous cycle" of positive change.  Broadband connectivity feeds the development of a knowledge workforce that uses broadband and other technologies for innovation.  By making digital equality and sustainability their priorities, Intelligent Communities ensure that the benefits of growth are spread broadly and benefit future generations.  And advocacy becomes the driving force that embeds these gains into the culture of the community.  


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