ICF Global Summit 2018: UK Potential Benefits

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The Intelligent Community Forum based in New York has not yet decided on the location for its 2018 Global Summit.  London and the UK remain a possibility.  This note discusses the potential value to UK communities of closer engagement with ICF and its annual assessment of communities - as explained in other articles on this site.

The framework that has emerged from over 25 years of community research by the Intelligent Community Forum provides a focus for civic leaders throughout the UK.

Community and Enterprise needs in different locations will have different priorities and these will vary over time.   So the ICF framework expressed in our 'fabric' schematic is just a starting point for leaders who wish to encourage a shift in attention from 'top-down' tech-led Smart Cities towards a more bottom-up Intelligent Community perspective.

A key to Inclusive Growth is that citizens should be engaged in determining those local priorities.  Local Enterprise Partnerships may have moved some way towards this but the dominant perspective and analysis (as it is in the departmental views of International Trade and BEIS) is sector based.   The lateral cross-cutting strands of the 'Intelligent Community' factors will impact on all sectors of economic activities, public services and utilities within the locality.

The UK economy (as conventionally described) is the aggregation of many local economies with great disparities in their  performance and priorities.  UK aggregate data rarely, if ever, reflects local realities and disguises the need to unleash local energies.  The national data is, literally, fairly (or unfairly) average!

Any determination, therefore, to bring the ICF Global Summit to London could signal the start of a revitalisation and potential transformation of how our nations and communities reboot themselves for a more-global post-Brexit environment leveraging vastly greater locally-driven and purposeful energies. 
To a limited extent local needs are already recognised where local leaderships have the vision and freedom to act but many others feel constrained by top-down governmental supervision.  The recent election of metro-mayors creates scope for wider engagement with these themes.

The UK cannot afford to stifle local creativity and enthusiasm for 'place-making'.  The ICF Global Summit in 2018, if held in London, could trigger the start of a post-Brexit renaissance that forges greater collaborations between enterprise and community leadership.

It will also, of course, help UK Enterprise to be exposed audiences that are at the cutting edge of discovering new priorities with advanced systems and service requirements.

DB 24/05/2017