Racing Against Disruption
You are in a race. A really big, important race. What are you hoping for? To win, of course. Second and third place are all very well, but there is no substitute for coming out on top. That is the mood in the room every year when the Intelligent Community Forum names its Intelligent Community of the Year. In that room are representatives of seven cities and counties, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year: mayors, members of council, city managers, economic development, and IT leaders. They all want to win. In fact, they are already winners, having reached the Top7. But one of them has slightly outscored the others in our year-long evaluation. The moment comes when we reveal who that is – and it leaves in its wake one happy place and six very disappointed ones.Read more
Hamilton: A 2018 Top7 Community
Mayor Fred Eisenberger was born in Amsterdam and came to Canada with his family when he was eight years old, settling in Hamilton.
Fred is currently serving his second four-year term as mayor. Previously he served as a member of Hamilton council, as chair of the Hamilton Port Authority, and as president and chief executive of the Canadian Urban Institute, where he was involved in the development of leading-edge, progressive urban policy.Read more
ICF judge lauds Hamilton’s collaboration
A judge who toured Hamilton to determine whether it is the most "intelligent" community in the world said the city is an "astounding" place and its citizens recognize that.
"There's a real pride here," said Robert Bell, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, a U.S.-based think tank founded 15 years ago that studies and promotes the world's best cities and how those models can be reproduced elsewhere.
"The number of people I've talked to who've said, 'I'm a lifelong Hamiltonian, and boy this is just the greatest place on the planet.'"Read more
Robert Bell: The Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018, Part 1
ICF Director of Operations Matthew Owen sits down with ICF Co-Founder Robert Bell to discuss three of 2018's Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year: Chiayi City, Taiwan; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and Taoyuan, Taiwan.
What Future Are You Preparing For?
|Flickr Creative Commons, Jere Keyes|
How do you prepare your community for the future? That is ICF’s mission: to offer insights, based on the experience of other places, that help you position your city, metro region or county to be one of the winners – economically, socially and culturally – in a century of enormous change.
But what kind of future, exactly, are we talking about?
It’s a good question. Whatever the future holds, you can feel it coming at you. You can reach into your pocket or handbag, where you keep your phone, and touch it. Twenty years ago, digital technologies were an entertaining diversion from the business of life. Today, they run the economy. They shape politics and public discourse. They determine who wins and who loses in the job market. They turn unknowns into stars and, as evidenced by the #MeToo campaign, can topple giants.
But what does the digital future look like? I am indebted to W. Brian Arthur of the Sante Fe Institute for an article in the McKinsey & Company quarterly newsletter, which does a wonderful job of painting a picture. He wrote for a business audience, and I take the liberty here of translating it into community terms.Read more
The Internet is Not Your Friend
I should have seen it coming when "friend" became a verb.
I refer, of course, to the ability to friend someone on Facebook. But while Facebook may be in the hot seat right now in the US and Europe, I am not interested in turning up the temperature. Rather, I am interested in what "friending" says about us and this thing called the internet.
Would you go into the town square and start sharing your most intimate secrets with total strangers? Then why do you do it on the internet?Read more
Can We Humanize the Data Monster?
Victor Frankenstein is a fictional character who created life from a collection of spare parts in an 1818 novel by Mary Shelley.
Mark Zuckerberg is a Harvard dropout who founded a company that went from zero users and zero revenue in 2004 to more than 2 billion monthly users and nearly $28 billion in revenue today. That makes him a living (if alarmingly young) legend.
Kevin Roose tied the two neatly together in a New York Times editorial, "Facebook's Frankenstein Moment." It's well worth reading, because it presents the best imaginable example of a challenge that will face the place you live in the next 20 years.Read more
Are We Inventing the Wrong Stuff?
Between 1860 and 1900, inventors created the telephone, phonograph, moving pictures and air transportation. Thomas Edison tested the first practical lightbulb, Karl Benz built a workable internal combustion engine and David Edward Hughes transmitted the first wireless signal – and they did it during just one three-month period in 1879. The result was a golden age of economic growth from about 1900 through the 1960s, with a broad-based rise in incomes across the industrialized world.
Wasting Your Good Times? Take a Lesson from Ipswich
“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
In the Kremlin’s Shadow, an Intelligent Community Rises
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