Community Intelligence

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All communities are different. Large or small, set in different contexts, they all have different needs and priorities. Communities may be close-knit or more loosely defined and vary in their formal or informal leadership. And whilst some may cling to the past others are concerned to adapt to change – whether those changes are imposed or welcomed. As individuals we may belong to several – and not all communities are place-based.

Cities, towns, hamlets, enterprises and agencies have complex ecosystems and diverse challenges. National policy makers can only deal in averages and set general frameworks but it is for communities to find their own coalitions of interests and local voices.

What then are the attributes of successful communities? How defined? How nurtured? Why are some attractive but others in decline? Are you engaged, empowered, or blown by winds from afar?

These may seem impossible questions – and yet it is undeniable that some find better answers.  The answers are more easily discovered when we choose to look beyond the borders of our community definitions. That is why connectivity, the networking of ideas, and openness provides the fuel for innovation in local economic growth and societal wellbeing. 

Technologies, as applied to everyday living and working, have delivered huge benefits – not just in cost savings for public services or greater productivity but in wellbeing and greater convenience for all. No one votes to live in a less-than-smart city. Few now would choose to work in an organisation that is not to some extent digitally competent. But investment of effort in that ‘smartness’ requires choices and must answer real needs rather than provide attractive window dressing.

So it is that, beyond the undoubted values of ‘smart’ technologies, communities are reaching out to find greater purpose and direction. Local leaders need to understand priorities and find guidance in mixing and matching ideas for action. Fortunately one organisation has researched this for over two decades. The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has brought together civic and community leaders and analysts from across the world – sharing ideas and experiences and learning to adapt to new challenges. 

The ICF annual global summit celebrates community successes and honours those identified as Intelligent Communities. In June 2018 we aim to host this global summit here in the UK with venues and workshops in both London and Bristol.

The Steering Group for this great gathering in 2018 is designed to deliver expertise and insight across the dominant ICF research themes – the dimensions and competencies shown over time to contribute most to community economic and social wellbeing:

• Connectivity Quality 
• Digital Equity/Inclusion
• Knowledge Workforce
• Innovation Capacity
• Sustainability
• Open Data 
• Marketing & Advocacy

In addition to expertise in these fields the Steering Group will also represent all parts of the UK including major cities, some very different communities and the organisations that support them.

Between now and June 2018 details of preparatory events and analysis will be announced via this and partners’ websites.