How Intelligent Communities Get Fit For The Future Innovation Economy

I had the honor of making the keynote speech at the Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit, where the Top 7 most advanced cities/regions in the world competed to be designated the world’s best.  For the first time in ten years, an American city won – Riverside, California.  Congratulations to Mayor Ron Loveridge and CIO Steve Reneker!

So what can you tell people who already are ahead of the competition?  You tell them how they can step up their game even more and get fit for the future innovation economy.

The key points were:

  • Plan for the future way that most people will earn a living.  This means recognizing the shift to tangible services, work from home and other informal work spaces, etc.
  • Offer a video/collaboration platform for innovation, which means building both physical/communications and human infrastructure.  Innovation is a result of collaboration and the free flow of ideas, not the work of some isolated genius.  Today’s Internet enables creative people to engage with each other despite great distances and each community should ensure that its residents have the tools to do so.  I pointed out that the best university research all of the world is available through the Internet and that their communities may already have entrepreneurs with the skills to commercialize research, so before they try to recreate a Stanford or Princeton University, they should make sure that that local entrepreneurs have access to academic research elsewhere.
  • Link to a global ecosystem for dependable economic growth.  I suggested they establish an entrepreneurial extension service, modeled on the US Agriculture Extension Service which greatly enhanced American agricultural productivity.  Similarly, I recommended that the public libraries should be tasked to organize the vast amount of free training and courses online in a range of subjects from business knowledge for entrepreneurs to technical skills – and become the corporate reference library for those without big corporate resources.  
  • Provide people a quality “experience” so they stay.  I noted first that quality of life includes the citizen experience, so residents need to be engaged in community decision making and even the delivery of public services.  As the physical and virtual worlds will become intertwined, make new destinations in a city that blend the virtual and physical.  I gave several examples of how this is already being done around the world.  
  • Shift some investments from the old approach to this new world.  Take some of the money spent on incentives for large companies and shift it to strategies that help entrepreneurs and individual residents flourish in a global economy.

The full presentation and video will be on the ICF website in a few days and I’ll let you know the exact web address as soon as its there.

© 2012 Norman Jacknis


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