Creating City-to-City Connections


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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. Step-by-step, the partners:

  • Discovered like-mindedness in the other community

  • Shared ideas freely that were relatively easy to transfer from one community to another

  • Helped to build businesses in the other community as well as their own

  • Actively worked to create understanding and trust among multiple stakeholders.

From relationship came trust, and from trust came the willingness to devote time, energy and expense to organizing meetings and recruiting executives for missions. It also enabled government in each community to commit its prestige and political capital to eventual success. 

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