Keeping communities from slipping into economic and social darkness


The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)

OSLO (Somalilandsun) – Intelligent Community Forum co-founder Louis ZacharillaLouis Zacharilla was in Oslo to deliver a presentation and moderate a symposium on creating collaborative, successful and open communities. The symposium on Tuesday Dec. 11, entitled Visioning the Open Society Forum, was part of Nobel Week events in Oslo. Zacharilla discussed the inability of many national governments to respond significantly to the social collapse and economic stress of recent years. However he notes that a growing number of communities have found their way back to economic prosperity after being given up for ‘dead’.

“The stakes are extremely high for the smaller communities and cities to get it right and to harvest their natural and embedded “intelligence,” says Zarcharilla.

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) studies and shares strategies used to create communities that provide residents with jobs and improved economic opportunities. Zacharilla’s presentation will highlight some steps cities like Oslo can implement in order to future-proof themselves in the new broadband-based economy. “For the first time ever human beings are capable of remaining at home and participating in a global economic and social experience,” says Zacharilla.

“As the Nobel Prizes recognize outstanding achievements in disciplines such as medicine and literature plus the Peace Prize, we also need to pay attention to strategies that will make our communities outstanding,” says Zarcharilla. He is co-author of a new book along with ICF colleagues Robert Bell and John Jung. “Seizing Our Destiny” was released in October 2012 and profiles the world’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities from the 2012 award program operated by ICF.

One of the success stories in the book is the community of Oulu, Finland. Oulu decided to embrace technology and diversify the city’s economy in fact Oulu built a reputation as one of Europe’s most innovative tech centers, developing many “firsts” in the global technology industry and in the past three years the city of 142,000 people created 7,000 new jobs. Oulu also worked to develop a climate that fosters innovation and the creation of new companies.

“Seizing Our Destiny” reveals a broad range of successful actions that stimulate an economy. For example:

• A 10 per cent growth in broadband penetration adds 1-3 per cent to a country’s gross domestic product.

• 80 per cent of GDP growth comes from the introduction of new technology

• 50 per cent of productivity improvements in the private sector come from the use of ICT.

Scandinavian nations embrace the intelligent communities movement. Oulu native and Finland’s former Communications Minister Suvi Linden was named the ICF Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year for 2011 and is now Commissioner of the United Nation’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Four Swedish communities were named to the ICF awards shortlist and Stockholm was selected as Intelligent Community of the Year.

“Communities need to work on the complete package and include everything from quality of life to culture, education and innovation. That is what Stockholm did and why we named Stockholm the Intelligent Community of the year in 2009,” says Zacharilla.

About Intelligent Community Forum

The Intelligent Community Forum is a New York-based think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. In the 21st Century community, connectivity is changing the definition and experience of communities: threatening established ways of life while also offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive economies. The Intelligent Community Forum seeks to share the best practices of the world’s Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of what it calls “the Broadband Economy” by conducting research, hosting events, publishing newsletters and producing its high profile international awards program. ICF’s publications include Broadband Economies (2008), Future Cities (2009), Seizing our Destiny (2012) and an annual report on the year’s Top Seven Intelligent Communities. For more information,