Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research, analysis and content development activities. He develops and leads the Intelligent Community Accelerator and Certification programs, and directs the multi-stage analysis of communities for the annual Intelligent Community Awards program.
Serving as the content lead for ICF's annual Summit in New York City, Robert is the author of ICF's founding study, Benchmarking the Intelligent Community. He has contributed articles to The Municipal Journal of Telecommunications Policy, IEDC Journal, Telecommunications, Asia-Pacific Satellite and Asian Communications; and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel. A frequent keynote speaker and moderator at municipal and telecom industry events, he has also led economic development missions and study tours to cities in Asia and the US.
Robert developed and leads the Community Accelerator training program, which provides cities and regions with essential education on the Community Accelerator Strategy for economic and community development in the digital age. He also developed and manages the Intelligent Community Certification program, which identifies cities, counties and regions that are investment-ready and prepared to prosper economically, socially and culturally amid the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.
Robert is the lead author of the ICF books Brain Gain, Broadband Economies: Creating the Community of the 21st Century and Seizing Our Destiny. He is also the lead author of ICF’s series of white papers on Intelligent Community themes and topics.
- "Robert Bell and the Intelligent Community Forum have become a key partner in our Digital Initiative in Walla Walla. Robert presented his “Community Accelerator” Master Class. It was a powerful program for our community. His presentation gave a diverse audience a view of our potential future and helped get everyone on the same page. Robert is a gifted speaker and blends a great combination of relevant information, humor and gravitas. We already have him booked to rejoin the Walla Walla community in our ongoing discussion and quest as an Intelligent Community. Robert rocks!" - David Woolson, President & CEO, Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce
- "Robert Bell was a keynote speaker for the kickoff of a new speakers series for our community. In our efforts to position Waterfront Toronto as a thought leader in this area of our revitalization efforts, having you attend and speak as one of the founders of the Intelligent Community Forum lends a great deal of gravitas to our efforts." - John Campbell, President & CEO, Waterfront Toronto
- "Parkland County has had the great pleasure of working with Robert Bell on our SMART PARKLAND Intelligent Community Project and he has assisted us through the ICF Accelerator Program by mentoring and serving as a keynote presenter at numerous events. As a presenter, Robert is unsurpassed. He has the knowledge, perspective, intuition and communication skills to effectively motivate audiences ranging from ICT industry reps, to municipal councillors, distance learning education providers, Internet Service Providers, small business people, seniors and youth. Robert has a positive 'can do' attitude that translates into successful presentations and relationship building." - Al McCully, Smart Parkland Project Consultant, Parkland County
Hear Robert Speak
The Middle of Nowhere is No More
Address to the ICF Summit, New York, NY USA, October 26, 2023
Keynote to EDAC 2023 conference, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, October 2, 2023
What is an Intelligent Community?
Address to Top7 Conference "Better Together: Building a Strong Region from Diverse Communities," Whitby, Ontario, Canada, June 20, 2023
How Smart is your City - Really?
Keynote address to the Alliance for Innovation's Transforming Local Government 2023, Kansas City, MO, April 20, 2023
Celebrating the Durham Region
Keynote address outlining why the Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario was named a Top7 Intelligent Community in 2022. November 29, 2022
ICF Accelerator Webinars
For communities in the Arrowhead Region of northern Minnesota in the Blandin Community Broadband Program, February 16-March 9, 2021
From Connectivity to Community
Webinar for communities participating in the Illinois Broadband Grant Program, December 17, 2020
What's the Cost to a Community of Not Having Broadband?
Bloomberg Advantage with Carol Massar, September 20, 2020
Moving Beyond Resilience
The Innovator's Journey podcast, Alliance for Innovation, July 2020
From Smart to Intelligent: an ICF Master Class
National Economic Development Council Conference 2019, Adelaide, Australia, October 23-24, 2019
Why Small-to-Midsize Cities are the Next Investment Opportunity
Bloomberg Advantage with Carol Massar, February 21, 2019 .
Accelerator Workshop for Intelligent Community Developers
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, August 15, 2018
What Makes a Community Intelligent?
Top7 Site Visit, Hamilton, ON, Canada, April 5, 2018
Invest a Dime, Get Back a Loonie
Keynote at Columbia Basin Trust Symposium 2017, Kimberly, BC, Canada, October 14, 2017
Creating Rural Community Networks
The Rural Summit, Eindhoven, Netherlands, February 23, 2017
Creating Community Intelligence
Master Class, York Region, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, January 18, 2017
Community Intelligence: The Answer to Revolutionary Times
York Region Broadband & Innovation Summit, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, October 27, 2016
How Community Intelligence Builds Inclusive Prosperity
Metropolitan Information Exchange Annual Exchange, Palm Springs, California, USA, October 25, 2016
Community Intelligence and Economic Success
Les Affaires Smart City Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 20, 2016
Big Data for the People
Bloomberg Advantage, Bloomberg Radio, October 16, 2016
Intelligent Communities: Why They Matter to Business
Keynote Discussion, CEO Mid-Market Connection Conference, Philadelphia, PA, September 19, 2016
Why Intelligent Communities Build Better Businesses and Stronger Economies
Keynote Address, Desjardins Lab, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 21, 2016
The Broadband Economy of Riverside County
Accelerator Keynote for Riverside County Leadership Retreat, Palm Springs, California, October 13, 2015
"The Revolutionary Community"
Accelerator Master Class, ICF Summit, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 10, 2015
"The Rural Broadband Economy: From Local to Global"
Accelerator Master Class, Oulu, Finland, May 5-6, 2015
"The Broadband Economy of Muskoka"
Accelerator Master Class, Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada, April 30, 2015
"From Smart to Intelligent"
Keynote, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, April 9, 2015
"The Broadband Network Ate My Plan!"
Keynote, Gala Dinner, University of Waterloo Planning Alumni of Toronto, November 13, 2014
"The Broadband Economy of the County of Grey"
Accelerator Master Class, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada, November 6-7, 2014
"Building Lethbridge for the Next Generation"
Accelerator Keynote, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, October 14, 2014
"The Broadband Economy of Wanganui"
Accelerator Keynote and Master Class, Wanganui, New Zealand, July 23-24, 2014
"Broadband and the Future of Butte Silver Bow"
Accelerator Master Class, Butte, Montana, USA, July 1, 2014
"The Rural Imperative and the County of Grey"
Accelerator Keynote, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada, June 26, 2014
"Why Big, Big Cities Should Start Looking Over Their Big, Big Shoulders"
Keynote speech, Walla Walla Business Summit, Walla Walla, Washington USA, April 11, 2014
"Reinventing Hsinchu City for the Digital Age"
Keynote presentation, Top7 Site Visit, Hsinchu City, Taiwan, March 25, 2014
"Reinventing New Taipei City for the Digital Age"
Keynote presentation, Top7 Site Visit, New Taipei City, Taiwan, March 21, 2014
"Building an Intelligent Community to Create Ontario's 21st Century Advantage"
Keynote presentation, New Blue Edge Inaugural Speaker Series, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 7, 2014
"Broadband and the Future of Rural Canada"
Master Class, Parkland County, Alberta, Canada, December 7, 2013
"Making Broadband Pay Off for Walla Walla"
Master Class, Walla Walla, Washington, USA, October 30, 2013
"Making Broadband Pay Off for Rural Louisiana"
Master Classes, Natchitoches, Louisiana, September 26; Lafayette, Louisiana, October 11, 2013
"Columbus: an Intelligent Community"
Keynote presentation, Top7 Reception, Columbus, Ohio, USA, April 2, 2013
"The New Rules of Community Success"
Keynote presentation, Acheson Business Association Spring Breakfast, Parkland County, Alberta, Canada, May 15, 2013