In a classic essay, the anthropologist Anthony C.W. Wallace described the phenomenon of cultural awakenings. Such movements are triggered, he said, by stress. “The mazeways of the culture, the customary patterns of behavior, are blocked. People cannot move into the roles they anticipated; their lives do not unfold in the ways they had been led to expect.”
Under the duress of disintegration, both social and economic, a few creative individuals—Wallace called them “New Lights”—propose a way out. They create new pathways through the maze. At first there is nativist backlash, in which traditionalists urge a return to old ways. But eventually the New Lights prevail. Their ideas are adopted, and the society moves into a new era.
Let’s just call the 2017 Top7, now all arrived in New York, the “New Lights.”Read more
This week is the annual summit of the Intelligent Community Forum, where I’m Senior Fellow. Although there are workshops and meetings of the more than 140 intelligent communities from every continent, the events that draws the most attention are the discussions with the Top7 of the year and the ultimate winner.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
That is not how ICF selects the Intelligent Community of the Year – which we will name on June 8 at our Summit in New York City. Instead, we spend a year on data-gathering, analysis and inspection. The mirror, frankly, would be easier. But it would miss the point. The Intelligent Community of the Year is not the fairest of them all. It is the leader, usually by a few percentage points, among a group of cities and counties that point the way to a better future for every place call home.
In the running again this year is Ipswich in Queensland, Australia. I visited there in May to conduct their Top7 site inspection. Unless you live in Queensland, you have probably never heard of it but it struck me as of the most successful cities on planet Earth.Read more
I can still see the roadway at 6:00 AM, lined with people on bicycles and motorbikes, each carrying enormous bags on their shoulders, tethered to a long stick. The bags are filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, all healthy and large. An agricultural land for centuries was waking to another day, and along the roads, people were starting to spread out their goods. Surprisingly, wood-fired, small grills were already cooking sizzling meats and foods. (At 6:00 AM, I thought? Hmmmm. I could still taste the delicious cooked meat and beer from my late-night meal only a few hours before!) Life was springing up, and everywhere there was movement and calm amidst the chaotic bustling. Around this morning glory of human awakening in Asia’s youngest country, something else was being planned for them, although I am sure few were fully aware of what it was or what it was designed to deliver.Read more
With all due respect to the government of the Russian Federation, I would like to suggest that it turn over the operation of its visa system to the IT Department of the City of Moscow.
I came to this idea during my site visit to the 2017 Top7 Intelligent Community that is Russia’s political and business capital. In Moscow, within a period of only five years, the city has created digital infrastructure that is transforming for the better the lives of citizens, the practices of business and the honesty and efficiency of government services. But before you can witness this transformation, you have to get a visa from the Foreign Ministry.Read more
Ideas come from amazing places.
Last week, I attended ICF’s first European event, The Rural Summit, in Eindhoven, Netherlands. It was produced in association with the Huis van de Brabantse Kempen. That is an association of local Dutch governments in the rural region of the Kempen, which sprawls across southern Holland into Belgium.Read more
This year ICF is focusing on a new idea as its theme for the ICF annual Summit - the Internet of Cities. Cities are where transformation is happening at an unusual pace, especially with the convergence of the Internet of Things with the opportunities posed by 5G. Cities are also the drivers of change, where centers of innovation and creativity occur, where inclusion and circular economies take place and where cities are crucibles for experimentation and resiliency. Key areas that cities are investigating and investing in include autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, Internet of Things and smart city infrastructure. 5G will make all of these more likely and possible sooner than we imagine. As a result, cities and companies have quickened the pace for collaboration in order to be able to accommodate these transformative applications into their urban planning and design as well as into their long range budgets to deal with issues related to sustainability and resiliency. How will this be accomplished?Read more
The hype for 5G at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona from February 27- March 2 was so thick it was palpable:
“Sir, do you realize that this is a revolution that will have a great impact on economies and in the quality of our everyday lives?”
“Excuse me Mister, but did you know that 5G will enable brand new services and things that have not been possible before?”
“Hello, can I offer you an Espresso? By the way, while commercialisation of 5G is not expected to start before 2020, our company is pushing other companies and governments to standardise norms for a smooth transition to 5G use worldwide. Is that with or without sugar?”Read more
I have to explain the PLUS! in the title right away. As you can tell from the title this blog is intended to talk about the TOP7 announcement in Taipei on February 9, but so much more went on that week in Taiwan that needs to be discussed here. For instance, ICF Canada took a business delegation to Taiwan; ICF Taiwan was announced on February 9 at a special ICF-related conference focusing on the Internet of Cities; and ICF-related delegations from around the world attended the conference and TOP7 announcement from the Netherlands, Vietnam, Estonia and Hong Kong. And Lou Zacharilla and I came from ICF, the global headquarters of the ICF Think Tank in New York to officially announce the 2017 TOP7 at an event associated with Taiwan’s Lantern Festival. It was an incredible week. Where to start?Read more
One of the urban myths is that technology, especially gaming technology will create couch potatoes, making you dull, inactive and unhealthy. And for many years that was probably the case. But in July 2016 a mobile game called Pokémon Go was launched globally to immediate success. It was even called a "social media phenomenon". In Pokémon Go millions of players use GPS capability in their smartphones with an augmented reality platform to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon creatures located in the same real-world location as the player. This global phenomenon has been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. Even though by end of that same summer Pokémon Go’s popularity was beginning to seriously fade, the impact was evident. It got millions of video machine advocates off the couch, go outside and walk to catch their Pokémon Go characters.Read more