The Jury has again warned me.
Before I leave for our annual Top7 site visits I get the same thoughtful warning from members of ICF’s international awards jury. It goes something like this, “Beware of the ‘Potemkin Village’ stunt that these cities may use on you once inside their borders. They will try to show you their best parts, not their broken ones.” The Jury has recommended in the past that we include a second person on our site visits. The second would serve as the provocateur for ICF. This makes sense because I am often there to perform necessary cheerleading with the media, and to remind other stakeholders in the cities why their city was chosen. So far, however, we have determined that the cost to the host community does not justify this.Read more
Louis Zacharilla helped found the Intelligent Community movement. He is the developer of the Top7 and Intelligent Community of the Year Awards programs and guides the strategy for the New York-based think tank’s programs. Mr. Zacharilla oversees the development of institutes for the Intelligent Community Forum. He is a frequent keynote speaker and a moderator at global conferences and events. He appears regularly in the media to discuss what ICF calls "the new Renaissance" within the world's communities.
Mr. Zacharilla is co-author of the books Brain Gain, Broadband Economies: Building the Community for the 21st Century and Seizing Our Destiny. His articles, opinion pieces and blogs appear in publications worldwide, including Canada, Sweden, the United States, and Australia. His work was the subject of a multi-part series in Taiwan's Ideas Magazine and his views were quoted in the influential 2012 World Wealth Report. He has been the subject of interview for in the Financial Times of London and VICE.com. He authors a blog, "Community as Canvas," and is regular contributor to Satellite Executive Briefing, Digital Communities, Mayors & Cities and Public Sector Digest.
Mr. Zacharilla has served as an adjunct professor at New York's Fordham University,a a guest lecturer at New York University's Polytechnic Institute's School of Innovation Technology & Enterprise, Laval University (Quebec City) and the Central European University (Budapest.) He was named a judge for the French-based World E-Democracy Awards program, is a member of the Australian-American Dialogue Council, a trustee of the Board of Directors of Walsh University (USA) and recently a member of the board of directors of the METRO New York Library Council. He was born in Lyons, New York, earned his Masters degree from the University of Notre Dame and lives in Manhattan.
- Louis Zacharilla is an excellent keynote speaker. In front of more than 1.000 people he spoke at our event and captured people’s attention for the whole speech. He was able to make everybody feel welcome, then asked the audience for their participation and ended with inspiring comments urging them to cooperate, innovate and join forces to build better communities for now and the future. I would really recommend Mr Zacharilla as a speaker for your event and I know a lot of people that were in our audience would as well. You will not be disappointed, I am 100% sure of that. - Susan Janssen, Events Manager, Brainport Development, Netherlands
- Lou Zacharilla has always been a great resource and advisor to our community. He has spoken at several venues and he always stretches us to think and act beyond what we think we are capable of. Lou is able to motivate people. His presentation at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs’ Leadership Conference at Ohio State University, was an outstanding success. He introduced the audience to the concepts of the Intelligent Community and as a result many in our region are pursuing these concepts! - Dana McDaniel, Assistant City Manager, Dublin, Ohio, USA
“The Broadband Imperative: The 4th Utility Defining Intelligent Communities.”
Alliance for Innovation BIG IDEAS Conference, October 2016, Dublin, Ohio (USA), February 2016
“Policy to Practice for Smart Cities,”
New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York, February 2016
“The Intelligent Community Movement.”
Innovative Systems Users Group Conference, Mitchell, South Dakota (USA), April 2016
“The Intelligent Community Top7 Talk.”
New Taipei City Welcomes ICF, New Taipei, Taiwan, April 2016
“The Rise of the Intelligent Community in NY State,”
NY State Local Government IT Directors Association, Keynote Address, Saratoga Spring, New York (USA), May 2016
“Address to the Leadership: How You Got Here!”
Surrey, British Columbia (Canada) City Hall, May 2016
“From Revolution to Renaissance,”
Keynote Address, Saratoga Springs Stakeholder Leadership Luncheon, Saratoga Springs, New York (USA), May 2016
“No Place Like Home (Não existe lugar como a nossa casa).”
TEDx Rio Talk, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 2016
“Bringing Citizens into the City Planning Process” (Moderator)
THINK Canada, ICF Smart21 Announcement, Niagara Falls, Canada, October 2016
“The Broadband Imperative – The 4th Utility,”
Alliance for Innovation’s Big Ideas Conference, Dublin, Ohio (USA), October 2016
“The Satellite Data Revolution” (Moderator & Presenter)
SpaceCom, Houston, Texas (USA), November 2016
“The Rise of Intelligent Communities in Vietnam,”
Keynote Address, Binh Duong, Vietnam, December 2016
"The Rise of the Wisdom City"
Jinan Municipal Urban Landscaping Bureau, China, December 2015
"Building Strong Constituencies in Cities"
IBM Leaders Edition, November 2015
"Going from Smart to Intelligent"
Keynote Address, Telefonica’s Smart City Forum: Transformando ciudades para mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas, Lima, Peru, November 2015
"The Rise of the Intelligent Community Worldwide"
Organization Department of Hunan Provincial Party Committee, China, November 2015
"The Middle of Nowhere is No More. How Satellites Make Smart Cities Intelligent"
Moderator & Speaker, C3 Summit, Union League, New York City, New York, USA, October 2015
"The Rise of the Intelligent Community"
Cleveland Foundation FRED Talk, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, September 2015
"Intelligent Communities & Urban Design"
Changchun Institute of Urban Planning and Design, China, September 2015
"From Revolution to Renaissance"
Keynote Address, Verizon’s Internet of Things Smart Cities Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, August 2015
"Best Practices in Changing Times"
Guest Panelist, USA Federal & State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services, New York, NY (USA), July 2015
"Big Ideas Start Small: NY State & the 'New Renaissance'"
Keynote Address, New York State Conference of Mayors & Municipal Officials Annual Meeting, Saratoga Springs, NY (USA), May 2015
"The People for Smarter Cities: an IBM Event"
Moderator, IBM Leadership Edition Roundtable, Webinar, March 2015
"Civic Engagement Among the Disrupted Communities"
Keynote Address, Smart Cities Expo, Montreal, March 2015
"Not Smart, but Wise & Intelligent!"
Keynote Address to Chinese Association of Science &Technology, New York (USA), February 2015
"The Rise of the Wisdom City"
Private Keynote Address to Chinese Ministry of Industry & Information Technology, New York (USA), December 2014
"What Transportation Enables: Creating an Intelligent City"
Keynote Address, Association of Quebecoise de transport (AQTr) conference, Montreal, Canada, November 2014
"The NOW of the Intelligent Community Movement: The Future of Connected Cities and Towns"
Keynote Address, Connected Future Congress, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Ohio, October 2014
"Intelligent Communities Connect: Columbus & Curitiba (Brazil) Sister Cities Announcement"
Keynote Address at 18th Annual Sister Cities Meeting of Greater Columbus, Columbus State College, Columbus, Ohio (USA), October 2014
"The University Is the New Factory Floor"
Keynote Address, Virginia Technology, National Capitol Region campus, Arlington County Virginia (USA), August 2014
"Smart Cities: Building & Regenerating Communities at the Intersection of Planning, Design & Technology"
Guest Lecturer, Harvard University Graduate School of Design Master Class, June 2014
"The Rise of the Intelligent Community in North Africa"
Keynote Address at First Summit for Smart Cities in North Africa, Al Akhayayn University Ifrane, Morrocco, June 2014
"The Rural Imperative & the Intelligent Community"
Keynote to Quitman, Mississippi and Mississippi State University leadership, Quitman, Mississippi, May 2014
"The Future of Collaboration"
Annual New Horizons New Year’s Address at the Evoluon, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, January 2014
"Is Your City Only Smart – or Is It Intelligent?"
Association des professionnels en développement économique du Québec (APDEQ), Keynote, Gatineau, Quebec (Canada), October 2013
"The Rise of the Intelligent Community"
City of Brantford Mayor’s Luncheon Series, Keynote,” Brantford, Ontario (Canada), June 2013
"The Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year & Why They Matter"
Cisco Systems “Meeting of the Minds Series,” New York, June 2013
"The Renaissance of the Small Community - Australian Information Industry Association"
Dinner Keynote, Brisbane, June 2013
"The Emergence of the Intelligent Community"
Australian Digital Productivity Conference, Keynote, Brisbane, June 2013
"New Voices for Old Truths: the Role of the Modern Library in an Intelligent Community"
International Federation of Library Association, Mexico City, March 2013
"Visioning an Open Society"
2012 Nobel Peace Prize Conference, Oslo, Norway, December 2012
"Inspiration, Illumination & Innovation"
Toshiba Symposium, Washington DC, December 2012
"Building the Community for the 21st Century"
Leadership Forum, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, North Canton, Ohio, USA, October 2012
"Universal Truths About Cities" Keynote Address
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Meeting, Langfang, China, May 2012
"Louie Communities" Keynote Address
Saskatchewan 3.0 Summit, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, April 2012
"Community as Canvas" Keynote Address
Community Survivors Series, Everett, Washington, USA, April 2012
"Creating Intelligent Communities for the South Pacific Islands and Asia" Workshop
Pacific Telecommunications Council, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, January 2012
Intelligent Community Briefing
Governor Abercrombie's Hawaii Broadband Assistance Advisory Council , Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, January 2012
"The Community as Canvas," Opening Keynote Address
STRIJP Festival – Art Loves Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, November 2011
"Energizing Communities for the 21st Century," Keynote Address
Southern Piedmont Technology Council Annual Meeting, Danville, Virginia, USA, November 2011
"Opportunities and Obstacles: Building Intelligent Communities in Central & Eastern Europe," Keynote Address
Roundtable hosted by The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Central European University’s Business School, Budapest, Hungary, October 2011
Moderator, World Summit
Satellite Finance & World Satellite Business Week, CEO Panel, Paris, September 2011
Southeastern United States and Canadian Provinces Governors' Leadership Conference, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, June 2011
British Columbia Economic Development Summit, Langley, British Columbia, Canada, June 2011
SmarterCape Summit, Hyannis, Massachusets, USA, May 2011
"The Rise of the Intelligent Community" Keynote
Smart City Conference, Taipei, Taiwan, December 2010
Surrey is one of just seven global communities to make the final shortlist for the title, Intelligent Community of the Year for 2016. Surrey has been ranked by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) of New York City for 2016 and 2015 and has made it to the finals both years. Louis Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum tours Surrey May 4-5 and city officials will be showing him some of the programs and projects that have made the city such a consistent contender for the sought after recognition.Read more
Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik discovered that people have a better memory for incomplete tasks than for complete ones. Not surprisingly, when we finish a project, we file it away. But when it remains “in limbo,” it stays active in our minds. This is how I describe the “inner lives” and the real, on-the-ground activities of Intelligent Communities. While policies are in place, they are on shifting sand. The communities I see and like are a wave of unfinished business and ideas being thrown into places that have been disrupted and were once reeling. It is the right approach, but it is also why netizens in places like Surrey, Canada (@SurreyBC) will post comments that utter a sense of disbelief and skepticism over learning that they have made an international list that ranks them high among cities. Some call it skepticism, others a PR stunt (others worse), although the majority cheer the news because an outsider has recognized their hard work.Read more
The major question Top7 host cities have before I set out to visit them is what I want to know. There is some anxiety on their part because they want to make sure that they do well in Columbus on June 16, but also because they want to show off their cities. There are also several people involved and a lot of coordination and, I’m sure, cost involved with a Top7 Site Visit. So I am sensitive to this and try to be a good guest and not make people feel like the Grand Inquisitor and Inspector General has rolled into town.Read more
“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” King Henry II of England allegedly said nearly 1,000 years ago, referring to a saintly man who had crashed into his majesty’s sense of imperial inevitability. Given the tone of today’s national politics and the rage palpable in cultures everywhere, the angry King’s words echo through the centuries, and may be repeated in 2017 by at least one leader anywhere on the planet.Read more
The best acts of defiance are made in pursuit of a greater good. History is complete with tales of passive resistance, armed rebellions and legends of a person or group of dedicated souls who refuse to sell-out, cave-in or toss-down the towel, no matter how overwhelming the forces stacked against them or the depth of corruption from a perverse civil order. You and I honor the private inspirations in our lives who get us out of bed and roll us forward, somehow putting in us a deeper psychic mark and recalibrated moral settings. Those whose actions are given the stamp of the “heroic” or “visionary” after their time of persistence are seen to have been clearly on the right side of the cause, while most could only see through the glass darkly. They are, in the words of my father, not deliberate and intentional provocateurs, but people who simply “stuck by their guns.” At ICF we have 145 of them.Read more
As 2015 ends I find myself wanting to write about everything which took place over the past 12 months at ICF. It is not possible. So I will hit the high notes. Do not expect a tedious elaboration about the family ski trip to Austria, poor Aunt Sissy’s fractured hip, or the barely disguised boast about how thrilled we “all are” about the youngest being accepted at that elite private school populated by fellow one-percenters. This is not one of those loopy familial annual reports that have become so common around the holidays! Although ICF is a wonderful family, and the urge is there.Read more
Well, here we go: another Smart21 announcement day approaches, and a new group of communities – cities, towns and regions representing millions of people – will prove yet again that the future belongs to places that we may have once thought were extinct or in great danger of perishing.Read more
There is now conclusive evidence that a community seeking to provide its people with a long, healthy life and meaningful days does not necessarily need more broadband but more alcohol and good sidewalks. It also would benefit from fewer conveniences in the home and the elimination of the word “retirement” from the culture. In fact, what National Geographic Fellow and TEDMED superstar Dan Buettner (pictured right) refers to as “de-convenienced homes,” as well as a concept which the Japanese refer to as ikigai, are major contributing factors to the shockingly long lives with which the people in Okinawa, Japan are blessed. A few drinks each day, a walking lifestyle and Ikigai (which translates roughly into “that which makes life worth living”) are among the criteria at the heart of what Buettner and a group of extraordinary researchers discovered as the real secrets to the long lives people experience in place as diverse as Okinawa, Sardinia and, yes, 2007 Smart21 Intelligent Community Loma Linda, California. After seeing Buettner’s recent appearance on HBO and rereading some of his work, I am surprised that Loma Linda did not make it to the top of the ICF’s Awards that year!Read more