August 28, 2012 By John Jung
This is the story of an actual city that I am very familiar with, but will remain nameless. It’s not a bad city to live in; in fact it is very pleasant as communities go. It has a city center that is quite lovely; including beautiful churches; some lovely heritage buildings and walkways and bike-paths; a nice residential area near the city core; and all of the kinds of things you’d expect of a city its size from movie theatres, shopping areas, libraries and parks. It even has a notorious shopping strip with the ever-present malls and parking lots. Of course there are business offices in the core and industrial areas and business parks on the periphery of the city. Major highways pass by and rail and airport services are nearby. The city is endowed with cable TV and fiber-optic services provided by competing service providers. There is even supposed to be a small pocket of free wireless downtown, although I could not identify it and instead received Internet service when I got near a coffee shop hotspot that offered it for a fee. It also has a limited number of computers in the library that citizens can access if they don’t have their own laptops. I also understand that a famous technology vendor outfitted the community with extensive metering and other technologies and software to monitor the traffic lights, water meters and other municipal services for the city. The municipality’s goal is to better understand its infrastructure usage and as a result of its implementation, the vendor heralded it a “smart community”, one of the best in the land.
What I have described could be anywhere. In fact, you probably even thought I was describing your city, didn’t you? Well, maybe I did!
So what makes this community so smart? If the measure was infrastructure, you probably have a case. However, I would argue that just because a famous technology vendor outfits your city with infrastructure and monitoring equipment that the community on the whole is not as ICF would define it, an “Intelligent Community”. In fact, infrastructure, such as high speed broadband and the mechanisms to use it are only less than 17% of the criteria that ICF uses to evaluate an “Intelligent Community”.
Can this community be converted into a smart or “Intelligent Community”? Of course it can, but the first thing it probably needs to do is to acknowledge that it can’t buy its way into becoming a “smart” community by merely purchasing a famous technology firm’s “smart products” and resting on their marketing arm’s claims that it’s a smart or “intelligent” city. Instead, a process of informing itself holistically of its strengths, areas of weakness, its opportunities and its threats, needs to be undertaken. This audit is a basic requirement to understand its capabilities and determine its gaps. Within this exercise exists a realization of what it would take to build itself into a smart or “Intelligent Community”, as defined by ICF. In fact, as many communities that have gone through this process have remarked, this was the best part of the entire initiative, because never before did the community understand exactly where it stood as a smart community.
After proceeding through ICF’s application form for Smart21 recognition, the community now possessed a unique body of knowledge that secures for the community a perfect starting point from which it can be benchmarked and could be used to compare itself to other intelligent communities that ICF has rated as a Smart21 Intelligent Community; Top 7 Intelligent Community; or an Intelligent Community of the Year. If communities want to rate themselves, ICF is able to develop a report card to compare the city against its peers anywhere in the world.
During the application process phase, the communities learn about collaboration. It is nearly impossible for one organization to answer all of the questions, so collaborating with other organizations is an absolutely wonderful side benefit. Communities often remark how they had benefitted by working with other community organizations through this process. They now have an example of what each other’s organizations are able to do with each other; something that will have a lasting effect even after this process has long passed.
Identifying leadership also comes out of this process. Leaders are sought to learn about the program, become associated with the process and be represented on the application. Existing leaders become involved and new leadership also emerges to become champions of the community through this process. Associated with this leadership is the concept of attitude; intelligent communities have a certain sense of attitude and often reflect the leadership qualities of the community.
As the applicants soon find out, their status as a smart community is now challenged. By only meeting one sixth of the criteria, the city may be quite humbled. But no matter; along with their famous technology provider they are able to further discover their smart city tendencies.
After infrastructure, ICF looks at the city’s ability to create, attract and retain the knowledge workforce to sustain an Intelligent Community. At the end of the 19th century, farming and domestic service were by far the most significant jobs in the USA. However by the beginning of the 21st century these categories now only employ less than 3% of the population and it is fully understood that the future of every community and their prosperity increasingly depends on the new skills of knowledge workers. Knowledge workers or talent, as some may refer to them, is usually measured as being created in universities, colleges and training institutions but also through other training that could take place on the shop floor, in alternate education centers and even in senior’s centers. Attraction of talent from other regions or countries is also of interest as well as programs and initiatives to retain the talent in the community. This includes initiatives to create and sustain jobs.
As the Knight Foundation indicated in its seminal report “Soul of the City”, talent stickiness results in a community through the provision of affordable housing, highly accessible transportation and the quintessential concept of “things to do!” You would be surprised how many cities cringe at truly trying to achieve this latter goal. Talent leaving for other parts of the region and other parts of the world happen all too often and disappoint and evade community leader’s efforts. Programs and initiatives that communities have been able to initiate to successfully keep their local talent in the community are excellent models for others to learn about. Intelligent Communities share the knowledge of these successes and benefit from learning about other communities’ successes.
Usually an Intelligent Community has a university or college within its borders or very near to them if they are part of a metropolitan area. The key is to be able to have access to talent for local Intelligent Community businesses and research capabilities. It is not essential that they be located within the geographic borders, but rather the talent pool should reside within easy commuting distance and be able to influence other aspects of the community from research to business and government decision-making. Education has even been described as a communities’ last mile.
Given the advanced intelligent infrastructure and access to smart talent, the Intelligent Community thrives on innovation and creativity. Communities that demonstrate their ability to nurture innovation and reflect creative enterprises of all kinds are among the most advanced intelligent communities. Key to this is the ecosystem of support and encouragement for innovation in the community. Community incentives promoting innovation and creativity as well as subsidizing locations and venues where special events could be exhibited, help to demonstrate this attribute. Some communities, like Eindhoven, may even practice open innovation as prescribed by Henry Chesborough.
Another Intelligent Community criterion is their ability to share the digital future with all their citizens. Whether they are young or old, Intelligent Communities are highly inclusive of their digital wealth. Often this is demonstrated through free or highly subsidized access to computers, software and related technologies as well as training and support. Special programs for seniors, the young as well as the disenfranchised are often demonstrated in these communities in community centers, senior’s residences, libraries as well as in mobile outreach programs in buses and in storefronts.
Intelligent Communities develop public policies in their economic development strategies, urban planning strategies and even in their municipal bylaws. This often happens through advocacy initiatives and an attitude of seeking long term Intelligent Community sustainability. Sustainability is achieved in Intelligent Communities in terms of meeting both financial as well as green initiatives.
It is also important for communities to actively market and promote their community to the world in order to attract business and investment to their community. Traditional advertising, websites, videos as well as more advanced social media and use of technology and broadband-based strategies is deployed to attract talent and foreign direct investment. Local marketing is deployed to gain local commitment, develop champions and ensure long term sustainability for maintaining the Intelligent Community movement within the community.
Many Intelligent Communities foster their special capabilities in often unique and differentiated ways. Many Intelligent Communities become a model for others and inspire communities around the world with their differentiated qualities. They might have special leadership qualities; are amazing collaborators; have created innovative environments and projects with a wow-factor that has never been witnessed elsewhere or has developed such confidence in the market that attracts risk capital and highly sought after research-intensive organizations, businesses and industries in special market segments.
ICF has many examples of Intelligent Communities that have become unique models inspiring others - from a research-intensive and creative Top 7 Intelligent Community (2012) such as Austin, Texas; to a highly collaborative open innovation focused Intelligent Community of the Year (2011) such as Eindhoven, Holland (also referred to as Brainport); to a broadband intensive and training centric Intelligent Community of the Year (2010) such as Suwon, Korea, among other examples – in fact, over 100 Intelligent Communities.
So how smart are you? If what I described sounds like you, I recommend that you consider filling in an application form to be evaluated by ICF and if you are selected to be an Intelligent Community of the Year, welcome to a unique family of qualified smart and Intelligent Communities that could inspire others around the world to be like you!
Click here for a nomination form. It’s the smartest move you can do.
August 20, 2012 By Robert Bell
It’s official: there are now three Americas.
A recent study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce contains stunning news. It is about the recession that began in December 2007 and the slow recovery that started in 2010. Americans think of it as having been a terrible time for employment, and they are right in thinking so – but it depends a lot on which American economy they live in.
Americans with a bachelor’s degree or better are part of an economy that has increased employment by 2.2 million jobs since the end of 2007. That’s right: gained jobs, not lost them. In 2009, the Land of the High-Skilled was home to 28% of the population 25 years and older, or 56 million people, according to the US Census Bureau. I’m lucky enough to be one of them.
If Americans have some university education or an associate’s degree from a community or technical school, their economy has recovered 90% of the jobs lost in the recession. It gave up 1.8 million jobs but clawed back 1.6 million in the slow and painful recovery. The Land of the Middle-Skilled was home to 29% of the +25 population, or 58 million people, in 2009.
Americans who have only a secondary school diploma, or never finished high school, live in a very different economy – one that has shed 5.8 million jobs since 2007. Forty-three percent of the +25 population, or 87 million people, live in the Land of the Low-Skilled.
To put it in percentages, High-Skilled Land has seen nearly 4% job growth since the end of 2007. Hardly stellar but impressive for the aftermath of a deep-seated financial crisis. Middle-Skilled Land has seen a 1% decline in the number of jobs. And Low-Skilled Land, home to a plurality of my fellow citizens, has seen nearly a 7% decline in employment opportunities.
The same thing is taking place to a greater or lesser extent in every industrialized nation. The European Union is even more economically challenged than the US at the moment. But Commission forecasts say that employment demand in High-Skilled Land will rise by more than 3.5 million as the share of high-skilled jobs increases from 29% in 2010 to about 35% of the total in 2020. The share of jobs for Middle-Skilled Land will remain steady at about 50% of the total. But the share of jobs available in Low-Skilled Land will fall from 20% of total jobs in 2010 to less than 15% in 2020. Given the current financial turmoil sweeping the continent, that may be optimistic.
If you are community leader in one of these nations – elected, appointed or volunteer – what can you do about all this? I have one simple suggestion: start your own immigration program.
No, not that kind. I’m talking about encouraging immigration, right in your community, from Low-Skilled Land to Middle-Skilled Land, and from Middle-Skilled Land to High-Skilled Land.
Communities need to do their utmost to strengthen the role of community colleges and technical schools in their regions. These institutions should be closely tied to local business, so that they teach employable skills, and their instructors should be included in government-led efforts to build a knowledge-based workforce. Too often, we think only about universities and colleges, and forget about the rest.
Communities also need to help the citizens of the Middle-Skilled Land to migrate to the Land of the High-Skilled. This is also a job for educational institutions, local business and government leaders working together to open doors, communicate about opportunities, and keep the pressure on to improve skills throughout a person’s career.
One thing that tends not to work is promoting immigration from Low-Skilled Land to High-Skilled Land. In America, we call this effort “Every Kid Deserves to Go to College” – and it is failing miserably. Of the 58 million who live in our Middle-Skilled Land, 74% have “some college” – which means that they entered a four-year institution and dropped out, either because the work was too hard for them or they could not afford to continue. That doesn’t sound like a formula for success to me.
How many versions of your country are there, and how many people in your community live in each? How many will live in those overlapping lands in 2020? The answer has everything to do with your community’s economic and social success in the next decade.
August 14, 2012 By Louis Zacharilla
Knocking on Heaven’s Door
I have a job. It is a great one, which I invented for myself and for which I am daily grateful. One of the ironies of being employed, especially in a time when unemployment is high and new paychecks are being manufactured at a snail's pace, is that the nature of what Robert referred to in his blog as "lovely jobs," requires that one step away from them in order to do them well.
So this is my first blog since we announced our Intelligent Community of the Year. Time flies. With the ICF team, I have been working on our 2013 Awards cycle, which begins with our Smart21 announcement in Riverside, California on October 21-22. A few days after, on the 24th, I will be in North Canton, Ohio for the first symposium on education and the knowledge workforce produced by an ICF Institute. Walsh University is busily organizing this. Our new book, Seizing Our Destiny, will be available in October.
But these things were NOT done during my time away from work this summer. For the first time in a long time, I decided to treat July and part of August as if it really were a time to refresh. So I have been busy trying to do nothing. It is not easy. It takes work. A different type of work. I would say that I traveled during my holiday. I visited territory rich in wealth, but vastly underexplored. I visited my interior life. Once there, I began to reinforce for myself what health professionals, colleagues and economists are reporting as vital to the knowledge-based workforce: non-linear exploration. We used to call it "goofing off" or "puttering."
Knowledge work depends on the mind. And the mind, like any muscle, needs rest after significant activity.
The literature on this subject is growing. It is empirical and anecdotal but the conclusions are the same. We need balance and to find ways to nurture and incubate deeper sources. This can be done with utilitarian purpose so that we return to the tribe and perform work that enables our ability to make observations sharper and work feel less like Work. To be able to quiet down enables me to rest my voice in order to later make the loudest noise humans ultimately make as we shape the destiny of our communities: the thunder heard from new ideas.
The chorus of voices in support of making thunder this way, for a higher purpose, is diverse. American Senator Joseph Lieberman wrote in a recent book, Embracing the Sabbath, that we are better knowledge workers if we can learn to simply run silent one day a week.
His approach echoes an Old Testament psalm (46:10) which my spiritual mentor, the late, great Neil Miller, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rochester, New York, would quote to me. "Be still and know that I am God."
"What does that actually mean?" I would ask.
"It means shut-up once in awhile and listen to yourself," he would joke. But he was serious about its healing effect. His life, spent healing inner city communities and people, is testament of it.
Religious folk have known how to harvest silence and their instincts are right. Closer to home and the working world, economist and Former Labor Secretary of the USA, Robert Reich, advised Mitt Romney and President Obama that America, whose people work feverishly, and have a rash of anxiety and cardiac afflictions to prove it, that they consider legislation mandating a three-week vacation. He is serious. In a nation where 25% of the population receives not one single day of rest (you read that right: one out of every four American workers in this knowledge economy do not get a break), Mr. Reich notes that it would be good for the overall economy to consider allowing these human machines to cool down. He focuses on its impact on "blue collar" workers. He cites studies linking downtime to less heart disease. But this is a set-up for his proposition of increased employment, as employers hire workers to fill the gap left during vacations. It is a clever idea, but will probably not happen. Yet studies prove that shift workers are significantly at risk for our self-inflicted "modern diseases," which we seem willing to ignore. We are not machines, and our glory is that we are far more than the sum of our economic output.
“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” - old TV commercial for margarine
I am in the perfect place to run silent and deeper. Summer in New York State can be wonderful. I live for as much time as I can in another community during the season. This one is not defined by asphalt, taxis to the airport, or high energy work encounters. It does not demand my unremitting intensity, but something more powerful: my calm. I am lucky to be able to spend time near the sea on the southeastern shore of Long Island. Here the sea defines rhythms and communities. We are here culturally conditioned by the proximity to the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and its waterways, bays and sounds, each abundant with sea food and wildlife.
The broadband connection in our home I do not consider a lifeline. I need it, of course, but I have beach buddies who – shocking as this sounds - refuse to SMS text, Tweet or even Facebook. Rather, their rule is to use the telephone and to actually get together in person for long evening dinners eating local seafood and drinking local wine. Let the refresh begin.
The community of the imagination is essential to cultivating a creative culture and knowledge workforce. Filmmaker John Sayles said that the magic of a movie theatre is that when the lights go down everyone enters the same dream. This is true when we read books and formulate ideas. My stack of reading material is a little too ambitious for three weeks, but my imagination is usually on fire. My reading ranges from studies of how the blue fin tuna is being fished out of existence to the genetic patterns of culture and community by the likes of E.O Wilson and evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel. There are the daily baseball box scores too. (As of this epistle the Yankees, like the ocean tides, are reliably rolling in first place.)
The most intriguing idea from this year’s quiet zone is a book by Lisa Randall. Randall is a physicist who borrowed the title of her book from a Bob Dylan song. (It is the title of this blog) The idea of relevance to communities is that, according to Randall, we need to "factor uncertainty into all that we do, especially in the scientific and empirical process." Uncertainty is not something of which we need to be ashamed to admit, but rather something that enables innovation through another portal. We just need to enter the portal.
Knock and ye shall receive. "Uncertainty is the exciting part," she writes.
The Path Forward for Intelligent Communities
We do not always know the path our communities will take. As we dive into our 2013 theme, perhaps a confusing answer is the best one to start with. In Buddhism, when a master is asked what "enlightenment" looks like he or she answers that it is a state where one is "neither advancing, nor retreating, nor standing still."
A city or a community cannot afford to speculate on what its own enlightenment will be or when it will arrive, but it faces a similarly confounding proposition when people ask its leaders, "What happens now that you are an intelligent Community?" The question becomes more complex when the community is named Intelligent Community of the Year, since it is forever "retired" from the Awards program.
The fact is that Intelligent Communities are different, but have attained but a certain level of achievement, a collective enlightenment which brings it face-to-face with its own destiny. This does one profound thing: it allows them to incorporate the fact that by slowing down to allow the rest of the community to absorb the experiences, activities and changes that have been undertaken may be the next best step. The work of advocacy (our fifth criteria) can mean letting workers and people in places that are in a state of rebound actually know that they are in such a place! It is easily the case that while they were busy working hard or seeking their path toward the middle class, their community was transformed. The advocacy programs allow a deep breath. And in that silence, the steam of success and the engine it powers restores economic and social balance and even sends the signal that their hometown has been knockin’ on Heaven’s door.
August 6, 2012 By Robert Bell
A story two days ago in The New York Times contained two startling sentences.
The economy now produces more goods and services than it did before the downturn officially began in December 2007. But it does so with almost five million fewer jobs.
While this is a specifically American trend, it is one that has – or should have – policymakers in every industrialized and emerging market country worried. It is called "job polarization," or what two economists, in a study of Britain, called the rise of "lousy and lovely" jobs:
Thanks to technology, more and more ‘routine’ tasks can be done by machines. The most familiar example is the increasing automation of manufacturing. But machines can now do ‘routine’ white-collar jobs, too — things like the work that used to be performed by travel agents and much of the legal ‘discovery’ that was done by relatively well-paid associates with expensive law degrees.
The jobs that are left are the ‘lovely’ ones, at the top of the income distribution — white-collar jobs that cannot be done by machines, like designing computer software or structuring complex financial transactions. A lot of ‘lousy’ jobs are not affected by the technology revolution, either — nonroutine, manual tasks like collecting the garbage or peeling and chopping onions in a restaurant kitchen.
What makes it possible to automate more of those middle-skill jobs every year? Three little letters: ICT or information and communications technology.
A previous generation of factory workers was reduced in ranks by manufacturing automation and robotics. Today, ICT shifts the target to many categories of middle-skilled knowledge workers: bank tellers, secretaries, data entry clerks, call center operators, paralegals and bookkeepers. As ICT-based applications become cheaper and more powerful, people working in these jobs can no longer deliver enough value to the enterprise to justify the cost of their salary, benefits, training and physical support. Even people on their way to becoming high-priced knowledge workers are affected. In the US in 2012, only 55% of law school graduates could expect to find work in the law, because automation has eliminated much of the grunt work where young attorneys cut their teeth.
It is probably too soon to write off the young lawyers, however, because ICT gives serious economic advantage to those with the skills to use it to increase the value of their work to the employer. A study from the London School of Economics, based on data from Europe Japan and the US, found that the industries that were the fastest adopters of ICT also saw the fastest growth in demand for the most educated workers and the sharpest declines in demand for people with intermediate levels of education.
Today's global markets are the child of ICT, which makes it possible to manage, operate and market effectively worldwide. And companies and individuals that are capable of selling across global markets can reap such rewards as the world has never seen. Actor Tom Cruise made $75 million in just one year ending May 2012 from running, jumping, punching and glowering in front of a camera. J.K. Rowlings, who had to live in her car before the publication of the first Harry Potter novel, is the first author in history to earn a billion dollars from her work.
Put all of this together, and you have a recipe for major social and political strains, as the divide widens between people at the top and bottom of the economic pyramid, and technology change erodes the livelihoods of those in the middle. Concerns about job polarization have gone viral – a Google search will yield about 3 million hits. Hardly the 37 million that a search for the Eurovision song contest produces, but still impressive for a wonky topic.
How big a problem is this, really? What – aside from that iPad on which you are reading this blog – is the underlying cause? Most importantly, what can any of us do about it? ICF has just published a white paper called Innovation and Employment in the Intelligent Community. It answers these questions and offers inspiring examples from our Top Seven Intelligent Communities around the world to guide communities applying for our Intelligent Community Awards. In these polarizing times, they are finding ways to make sure their citizens and employers are on the winning side of an inescapable trend.
July 17, 2012 By Robert Bell
Innovation is one of ICF’s five Intelligent Community Indicators, our framework for developing inclusive prosperity at the local level in the 21st Century. It is also the theme of the 2013 Intelligent Community Awards, which opened for nominations last week. On July 23, we will publish a white paper on Innovation and Employment to help communities how to take advantage of the surprisingly complex relationship between the two.
While working on that white paper, I stumbled on an interesting question. Everybody accepts today that innovation is the thing that drives our economy. But how do we know? Seriously. Where did the idea come from and how do we know it’s true?
The story takes us back to the 1950s. A Stanford University professor named Moses Abramovitz decided to test economic theory on some real-world data. He set out to track the growth in the total output of the American economy from 1870 to 1950, and to analyze what caused it. It was a mighty undertaking in those days of paper records and slide rules, but he got it done.
Economic theory of the time said that there are two kinds of inputs to the economy: capital and labor. Capital is the money invested by businesses, institutions and government. Labor is the people they employ. You invest a few million dollars or Euros or pounds in a factory and raw materials. You hire hundreds of workers to staff it. Out of the factory come products and out of the economy comes growth.
Abramovitz assembled his data and was able to produce figures for the total output of the economy between those years. Then he measured the growth in the total amount of money being invested and the total workforce over the same period.
Professor Abramovitz then made what he thought were reasonable assumptions about how the much this growth in capital and labor inputs should add to the output of the economy. Growth in A plus growth in B equals growth in C. Simple , right?
Not so much. It turned out that the growth of inputs between 1870 and 1950 could only account for about 15% of the actual growth in economic output . Eighty-five percent of the growth was coming from some X-Factor and neither Professor Abramovitz or anybody else could say what it was.
It was a huge wake-up call to economists. It was like having a structural engineer tell you that she really couldn’t explain why the bridge she just designed would stand up. By 1987, the search for the X-Factor earned Professor Robert Solow the Nobel Prize in Economics for demonstrating that the introduction of new technology was responsible for as much of 80% of the growth in a nation’s gross domestic product.
That’s how we know the power of innovation in general and, in particular, the power of foundational technologies like computers and the Internet to change our economic destiny. It also reminds us of the power of one stubborn and innovative thinker to change our understanding of the world.
About the Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Whether in industrialized or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and knowledge increasingly depend on advances in communications. For the 21st Century community, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established ways of life on the one hand, and offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economies on the other. ICF seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy, in order to help communities everywhere find sustainable renewal and growth. More information can be found at www.intelligentcommunity.org.
Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research and content development activities. He is the author of ICF's pioneering study, Benchmarking the Intelligent Community, the annual Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year white papers and other research reports issued by the Forum, and of Broadband Economies: Creating the Community of the 21st Century. Mr. Bell has also authored articles in The Municipal Journal of Telecommunications Policy, IEDC Journal, Telecommunications, Asia-Pacific Satellite and Asian Communications; and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel. A frequent keynote speaker and moderator at municipal and telecom industry events, he has also led economic development missions and study tours to cities in Asia and the US.
ICF co-founder John G. Jung originated the Intelligent Community concept and continues to serve as the Forum's leading visionary. Formerly President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and Calgary Economic Development Authority, he is a registered professional urban planner, urban designer and economic developer. He leads regular international business missions to US, European, Asian, Indian and Australian cities, and originated the ICF Immersion Lab program. John is a regular speaker at universities and conferences and serves as an advisor to regional and national leaders on Intelligent Community development. The author of numerous articles in planning and economic development journals, he has received global and Toronto-based awards for his work in collaboration and strategic development and sits on numerous task forces and international advisory boards.
ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla is the creator and presenter of the annual Smart21, Top Seven and Intelligent Community Awards and oversees ICF's media communications and development programs. He is a frequent keynote and motivational speaker and panelist, addressing audiences of tech, academic and community leaders around the world, and writes extensively for publications including American City & County, Continental Airline's in-flight magazine and Municipal World. His frequent appearances in the electronic media have included both television and radio in South Korea, China and Canada. He has served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York and is a Guest Lecturer at Polytechnic University's Distinguished Speaker Series. He holds a Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.