One of the questions I was asked about the awards given by the Intelligent Community Forum is what does it take to become an intelligent community. I’ll try to summarize what I’ve learned from participating in the ICF as a keynoter, juror and (before Cisco) a leader of a Top 7 community.
Among the few hundred communities that apply in this contest, it is clear the first step is make sure the community has sufficient broadband. Almost all of the things that intelligent communities can do for and with their residents depend upon that connectivity in one way or the other.
Second, high-speed connectivity is not enough to stand out in this global competition. The next question is what a community does with the technology. Is it transforming:
- The way that residents interact with their government?
- How residents – from pre-kindergarteners to seniors – are educated?
- How well the physical aspects of the community are managed?
- How residents are kept healthy and safe?
- The local economy and the income opportunities for residents?
… Just to name some of the evidence that ICF is looking for.
Third, an intelligent community is reflected in the collaboration of all parts of the community. Is everyone getting the benefit of the technology? Are they working together to build a better future?
Fourth, there is an intangible, but important, element: the culture of the community. Is there a sense that the culture of the community encourages innovation and encourages the sophisticated use of the technology that they have invested in?
Fifth, ICF looks for progress. Many of the communities, who have been in the Top 7 and have won the top spot, did not win the first time they applied. But over the course of a couple or more years, they showed continued commitment to making themselves intelligent communities and they showed great progress.
None of these five factors should be all that surprising. Of course, as we’ve seen, succeeding at each of these takes a community effort and leadership that is both visionary and effective.
Here is the list of the Top 7:
- Columbus, Ohio, USA
- Oulu, Finland
- Stratford, Ontario, Canada
- Taichung City, Taiwan
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Taoyuan County, Taiwan
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Taichung City was selected as the winner.
© 2013 Norman Jacknis