September 7, 2012 By John Jung
In 2013, ICF will examine the relationship between innovation – one of the Intelligent Community Indicators – and employment in communities around the world. A massive body of evidence points to the fact that innovation creates prosperity.
Two interesting documents reinforce this notion. The first is a document that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations and INSEAD have co-published, called the 2012 “Global Innovation Index”. This document recognizes the role of innovation as a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. The Index is a valuable tool to help policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders facilitate public-private discussion as well as benchmark and evaluate progress on their achievements. The Index further acknowledges the need for a broader vision of innovation as may be applicable to developed and emerging economies. One of these indicators that go beyond the traditional measures of innovation is the level of research and development in any given country. You can download this Index at http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii.
Another interesting study is by Booz and Company called “Maximizing the Impact of Digitization.” It found that the economic growth of nations is linked to one key factor: adoption of information and communications technology. But not simply by having access to it, but by using it and innovating with it; that creates jobs and prosperity. For instance, by looking more closely at the ways people use digital technologies and applications, the Booz and Company study found that the greatest social and economic benefits depended on factors related to adoption and usage: such as pricing, reliability, speed, and ease of use. The Booz and Company study looked at the significant impact that applications of digitization had on job creation:
“A 10 percent increase in digitization reduces a nation’s unemployment rate by 0.84 percent. From 2009 to 2010, digitization added an estimated 19 million jobs to the global economy, up 5 percent from the estimated 18 million jobs added from 2007 to 2008… Finally, a 10-point increase in digitization had, on average, led to a six-point increase in the country’s score on the INSEAD Global Innovation Index, which ranks countries according to innovation potential.” (Source: “The Innovativeness of Nations,” by Rob Norton, Spring 2012: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Portals/0/Soumitra%20Dutta%20and%20The-Innovativeness-of-Nations.pdf )
In other words, as a country progresses in its digitization development, it appears to become more innovative, which creates more prosperity and jobs.
The Booz and Company study further explains that digitization can catalyze dramatic economic, social, and political improvements. For instance, jobs were created when water utilities installed sensors to reduce leakage, thus saving water and money; healthcare organizations have developed whole new areas of work by sending e-messages to patients; analyzing patients files from afar and monitoring infants and the elderly on a 24/7 basis; fleets of delivery trucks installed GPS devices to find shorter routes, cutting down on their greenhouse gas emissions. And the list goes on.
The article in the August 2012 edition of Strategy and Business Magazine called “Digitization and Prosperity” refers to constitutional historian Philip Bobbitt who argued that “the world was going through a fundamental shift in the prevailing view of the purpose of government, from the 20th-century nation-state, which derived its legitimacy by guaranteeing the welfare of the nation’s people, to the 21st-century ‘market state,’ which will focus on expanding opportunities for its citizens”. I recommend reading it at http://www.strategy-business.com/media/file/00127-Digitization-and-Prosperity.pdf
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.