Steering a Sustainable Community - September 2019 (Purchase Now)
For Intelligent Communities, sustainability means local responses to global changes in ways that make the community a better place to live. Committing to sustainability engages citizens in improving their own, and their neighbors’, lives. When communities make sustainability a goal, they energize local advocates, community groups and neighborhoods with the promise of making a difference. The work of these groups is to set and meet sustainability goals but just as important it strengthens the community’s identity and creates civic pride that powers further positive change.


Connecting Your Community: The Digital Infrastructure for Growth - September 2019 (Purchase Now)
When you decide to take action on broadband, you have a wide range of options. You will select among them based on their cost and difficulty, the public’s understanding of the challenge and your leadership’s appetite for financial and political risk. Most of the options have the same goal: to make the community a more attractive market for private-sector investment in digital connectivity. The most powerful way to do so is to reduce the upfront investment required to serve the market, which lowers the risk and increases the profit potential.


From Connectivity to Community - December 2018 
From Connectivity to Community was developed to help communities turn their broadband and other digital assets into economic growth, stronger social and com­munity bonds, and better quality of life. It assumes that your community already has adequate broadband connectivity in place and is ready to take the next steps: becoming more engaged, taking on leadership roles in defining issues, and developing practical plans that can lead to realistic and affordable solutions. It speaks to community leaders in local governments and regional districts, to members of legislatures, educators, technology providers, business leaders, agencies, economic development and regional planning organizations. It will help kickstart community efforts to use digital connectivity to improve life in the most important place on earth – the place called home.


Humanizing Data: Using Big Data and Open Data to Engage, Help and Serve the Community - October 2018 (Purchase Now)
ICF selects a theme each year to supplement the six indicators of the ICF Method on which the selection of the Smart21, Top7 and Intelligent Community of the Year is based. In the 2017-2018 Awards cycle, ICF focused on Humanizing Data because data has become the heartbeat of the new economy and the lifeblood of smart public policy in the 21st Century. This report provides many examples of what the top Intelligent Communities of 2018 have done to humanize data for their people, businesses and institutions – from driving economic growth to reducing inequality, increasing sustainability to improving urban planning.


Creating Champions of Change: Advocacy for Intelligent Communities - October 2018 (Purchase Now)
It’s one thing to modernize operations with digital tools, data systems, communications, scheduling and procedures in various pockets of a city’s operations, businesses, institutions and civic life. That’s smart. And a community can do a lot of things smart. An Intelligent Community integrates those smart people, facilities, equipment, data and policies into a united and common direction. Advocacy is that unifying element – gathering and aligning local initiatives in Broadband, Knowledge Workforce, Digital Equity, Innovation and Sustainability into a broadly shared and understood narrative. Momentum with intention. Successful Advocacy coalesces a community’s character and conveys a public identity to the world.


No Neighbor Left Behind - February 2018 (Purchase Now)
The success of Intelligent Communities in building a digitally-powered innovation economy contains a sharp risk: that more of our citizens will be left behind, shut out of opportunity and civic life by the onrush of technology. To lessen that risk, Intelligent Communities pursue digital equality: the chance for every citizen to participate in the digital economy and society, regardless of income, age, education or disability. The more equal we can make our citizens in the digital world, the more capable and productive they will be. And that reduces the costs and problems caused by those who are left on the margins of society. In this report, ICF shares dynamics, definitions and successful examples of Digital Equality in action. These are where municipal governments, not-for-profits and individuals have taken creative and generous steps to invest in bringing along as many of their neighbors and fellow residents as possible. There are patterns, roles and models to glean and principles to apply, whatever your local resources and culture.


Building the Innovation Ecosystem - January 2018 (Purchase Now)
Every successful business, every private sector employer, begins as a startup company where an idea became a viable product that birthed a new business which gained traction in the open market and now gives back to the community. The question for local policymakers is whether to passively wait for a spontaneous occurrence – for a lightning bolt of inspiration to strike or a startup unicorn to wander into town – or be proactive and cultivate an environment for innovation where the flow of people, ideas, applications, commercialization and reinvestment aligns into a sustainable, virtuous cycle. In this report, you’ll see how two Intelligent Communities foster a local ecosystem of private-sector innovation by facilitating startup culture.


The Intelligent Community in Numbers – Class of 2018 (Infographic) - April 2018
The Intelligent Community in Numbers report is a statistical portrait of the Intelligent Community, a snapshot based on data submitted to ICF by hundreds of communities of every size, on every continent and in both rural and urban settings. This infographic shares some of the findings of the report.


The Intelligent Community in Numbers 2017 - October 2017 (Purchase Now)
This new research report is a statistical portrait of the Intelligent Community, a snapshot based on data submitted to ICF by hundreds of communities of every size, on every continent and in both rural and urban settings. The 2017 Portrait is based on the 200 most recent questionnaires submitted to the Forum. They come from the US and Canada, Taiwan, Greece, Russia, Kenya, Brazil, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand. Their populations range from 2,000 to 12 million, and their population density from 2 to 13,000 persons per square kilometer.


Humanizing Data - October 2017
Data has become the heartbeat of the new economy and the lifeblood of smart public policy in the 21st Century. Two words born in the mid-1990s still shape our understanding of data’s central role. Engineers at Silicon Graphics, an early tech innovator, began talking about “Big Data” at about the same time the words “Open Data” first appeared in a report, which advocated for the free exchange of scientific information. Whether big, open or both, data has become the beating heart of business and government. By fueling a better-informed society, it supports human hopes and human potential. It is valuable when it contributes to prosperity, knowledge, safety, cultural richness and greater collaboration, and it is threatening when directed to lesser goals. In the 2018 Intelligent Community Awards and Summit, we celebrate the people, the communities and the innovators who are humanizing data for the economic, social and cultural benefit of the community.


Innovation and the Public Sector - June 2017 (Purchase Now)
It takes a broad inclusive approach among sectors to build a moving, self-sustaining ecosystem of innovation. At the same time, genuine change is a long game, so the innovation ethos must look past short-term elections or outside occurrences. In this report, we profile four Intelligent Communities in Australia, Canada, Finland and the United States, and their distinct approaches to digital innovation in the public sector: their planning styles, infrastructure plans, public service improvements, private sector supports, and cultural initiatives. These cities have accomplished the daunting task of transforming local government into an innovation engine.


Ladders of Opportunity: Growing and Retaining Tomorrow’s Talent - December 2016 (Purchase Now)
A knowledge-based economy needs a digitally savvy workforce. That means not just attracting talent from other places but fostering local skills and constructive mindsets among children and youth who will be our knowledge workers five, ten and twenty years from now. Intelligent Communities take a strategic approach to turning their educational system into a ladder of opportunity extending from the elementary grades through entry-level jobs in the community. They do it in partnership with every level of the educational system and employers throughout the region. In this report, ICF shares the strategies and experiences of four Intelligent Communities in building the workforce of the future.


The Internet of Cities - September 2016
The latest shiny technology is always exciting. But the truth is that technology advances only at the speed of humanity. The word “technology,” after all, means “knowledge applied for practical purpose.” In our tech-saturated age, we tend to think of the technology itself driving change but that is an illusion. The true revolutionaries of our digital century are human beings applying knowledge to accomplish things both practical and visionary. We therefore offer a different phrase – the Internet of Cities – as the theme of ICF’s 2017 Awards and conference program. We focus, not on the connections among machines, but on the connections among people in a specific place on Earth – the place called home – which are enabled and empowered by information and communications technology. Through the Internet of Cities, we work to ensure that technology-powered growth benefits the many rather than the few and contributes to a better life for all.


Sharpening Canada's Competitive Edge - June 2016 (Purchase Now)
Since the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) announced its first list of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year, Canadian cities have made a near-annual appearance on ICF’s honor role. From 2002 through 2016, a total of 27 cities and regions in Canada have passed through ICF’s rigorous evaluation process to qualify as a Smart21 semi-finalist, a Top7 finalist or the Intelligent Community of the Year. In the second half of 2015, the Intelligent Communities Group (ICG) conducted an in-depth survey of the nation’s Intelligent Communities on behalf of ICF Canada using a questionnaire based on the methodology developed by the Intelligent Community Forum in its annual Awards program and Accelerator service. This report is based on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered through the ICF Canada survey process. Its objectives are to paint a portrait of Canada’s Intelligent Communities in both numbers and words, and to identify their outsized contributions to attracting and retaining investment and talent, both domestic and foreign, in the Canadian economy. It is understood that this report will be used to further develop marketing information to help these Canadian communities promote themselves for foreign direct investment purposes as innovation ecosystems with a unique competitive edge as Intelligent Communities.


Creating City-to-City Connections - May 2016 (Purchase Now)
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.


From Revolution to Renaissance - July 2015 (Download PDF)
Preparing for the future has never been easy. It has seldom been harder, however, than it is today. We already live in a world where the largest taxi company on earth owns no vehicles. Where the world’s most popular media owner creates no content, the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate and the most valuable retailer stocks no inventory. Those companies are, respectively, Uber, FaceBook, Airbnb and Alibaba, according to Tom Goodwin, writing for Their businesses were made possible by the enormous growth of the Internet, and they are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the radical changes that this network-of-networks is driving through how we live, work, shop, travel, worship, educate and entertain ourselves.


The Revolutionary Community - July 2014 (Download PDF)
The work of creating an Intelligent Community often begins in crisis. But once the crisis is past, how do Intelligent Communities maintain their momentum and avoid being caught unprepared by the next wave of change? They engage in urban and regional planning – a deliberate, strategic and collaborative effort to design a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable future for their people. But this is planning with a difference. They know that today’s disruptions in technology, the economy and the environment will only grow more intense. They understand the profound impact that the broadband economy will have on their physical form, the delivery of services and their competitive advantages. So they approach the planning of land-use and infrastructure, sustainability and community development in revolutionary ways.


Community as Canvas - July 2013 (Download PDF)
Where humans are, there is culture. Culture gives us a sense of identity and belonging. It also creates intellectual property that can have substantial economic value. It is the foundation for all progress and also and set limits to how much progress we can make. In the 2013-2014 Awards cycle, ICF will focus on the power of culture to help or hinder the transformation of towns, cities and regions into Intelligent Communities.


Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Program Report - April 2013 (Download PDF)
Publication of this report marks the completion of a two-year collaboration between the Inteligent Community Forum and the Blandin Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating vibrant rural communities in the state of Minnesota. For the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) project, ICF adapted its global Intelligent Community Indicators to measure the readiness and progress of 11 communities in rural Minnesota. For more information about this report, click here.


Innovation and Employment in Intelligent Communities - July 2012 (Download PDF)
Innovation is the primary driver of economic growth, by creating new demand and empowering us to do more with the same resources of raw materials, people and money. But growth in the economy is not always the same as growth in employment, because innovation destroys jobs as well as creating them. In making innovation the pillar of their economy, Intelligent Communities seek to balance its positive and negative impacts to generate economic growth and high-quality employment in an environment that delivers exceptional quality of life to all citizens


Intelligent Communities: Platforms for Innovation - June 2011 (Download PDF)
Innovation is not necessarily about technology. Innovation is not the same as invention. And that's a good thing. Try as they might, most communities will not transform themselves into hotbeds of technology invention. But there is every opportunity for communities to raise the innovation rate of their businesses, institutions and government in a dynamic partnership that produces results ranging from better and cheaper service delivery to citizens to the birth and growth of entrepreneurial businesses and vital new institutions.


The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2011 (Download PDF)
To gain a place among the Top Seven, communities pass through an intensive analysis of their strategies, programs and results in five categories: broadband deployment, the ability to create and sustain a knowledge-based workforce, digital inclusion, innovation, marketing and advocacy. The Top Seven excel in all of these areas. But that does not make them the seven "smartest" communities on the planet, whatever that might mean. Rather, it makes them the seven most compelling models of best practice in economic and community development worldwide.


Health in the Intelligent Community - June 2010 (Download PDF)
Global health expenditures rose from an average of 9.2% of GDP in 2000 to 9.7% in 2007. Given the enormous sums involved and the high rate of growth, there is now a wide-ranging debate about how the costs of healthcare can be reined in without damage to outcomes. Meanwhile, inequities in healthcare among nations – and between rural and urban areas even in middle to high-income countries – remain large. Whether the goal is to reduce costs, improve outcomes or extend basic health services to the underserved, innovation is the means to get there and Intelligent Communities are well positioned to benefit from the wave of innovation expected in healthcare and life sciences. Intelligent Communities also have a secret weapon. Because they have experience with leveraging information and communications technology to build a competitive economy, Intelligent Communities also understand the ecosystem that such companies require, from access to knowledge workers and the support of educational institutions to a culture that supports change.


The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2010 (Download PDF)
To gain a place among the Top Seven, communities pass through an intensive analysis of their strategies, programs and results in five categories: broadband deployment, the ability to create and sustain a knowledge-based workforce, digital inclusion, innovation, marketing and advocacy. The Top Seven excel in all of these areas. But that does not make them the seven "smartest" communities on the planet, whatever that might mean. Rather, it makes them the seven most compelling models of best practice in economic and community development worldwide.


The Education "Last Mile" - Closing the Gap Between School and Work -  July 2009 (Download PDF)
Education has cultural, social, spiritual and aesthetic value, but its most tangible value is in preparing a young person for work. Unless that young person successfully crosses the last mile from school to work – work in a prospering local industry that pays a living wage – the years of schooling produce little payoff for the community that made the investment. How do you work to connect the talent emerging from secondary schools, technical schools, colleges and universities to local career opportunities, instead of seeing it leave the community?

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