Bringing Intelligent Community Forum to rural areas

Applying the Intelligent Community framework established by the Intelligent Community Forum ( to rural communities is a specialty of Community Technology Advisors.  Bill Coleman brought the Intelligent Community framework to the design and implementation of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (MIRC) initiative of the Blandin Foundation.   based on his experience leading Dakota County to three straight years of recognition as a “Smart 21” global Intelligent Community.  During MIRC, eleven rural Minnesota communities used the ICF framework to drive broadband-based community development efforts.  MIRC was recognized by the Minnesota High Technology Association with the state’s Innovative Collaboration award.  The Intelligent Community framework includes five elements: broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital inclusion and marketing/advocacy.

Bill recently collaborated with the Intelligent Community Forum in rural Louisiana.  After ICF staff delivered workshops and the communities gathered benchmarking data, Bill traveled to Louisiana to work with the communities of Natchitoches, Washington Parish and Vidalia.  Each community had a unique set of assets and circumstances around broadband access and adoption.  Bill conducted community workshops with key stakeholders in each community to help them develop priority projects and develop partnerships.  It was an interesting and challenging project as Bill worked to understand each community’s characters, culture and priorities.  After the workshops, Bill prepared meeting summaries, provided recommendations and maintained a mentor relationship with each community.

It was great to see the various ecosystems of rural Louisiana and experience the Louisiana lifestyle outside of the standard New Orleans tourist sites.  Great food and excellent hospitality made the trip and work enjoyable and memorable.  It is fun to see the communities keep the momentum going forward, particularly on network improvements and digital inclusion efforts.  It was a great experience to continue CTAC’s relationship with the Intelligent Community Forum.  Thanks to them for the great opportunity to partner!  You can learn more about ICF at

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