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Hudson's digital innovations being recognized locally, globally

By LAURA FREEMAN Reporter Published: April 5, 2017 12:01 AM
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HUDSON -- Innovation is not a bunch of widgets and apps, but a process, said Paul Leedham, Hudson's chief innovation officer at the March 28 Council workshop.

"My job is to find better ways to do things," Leedham said. "Technology allows us to do things easier."

Hudson's digital innovations to advance economic prosperity and provide better government services are being recognized locally and globally, according to Jody Roberts, communications manager. Recently, Hudson was invited to join the Global Institute for the Study of the Intelligent Community, a think tank in partnership with the Intelligent Community Forum. Its goal is for businesses, universities and governments to expand the world's knowledge about the creation of Intelligent Communities.

"We were invited to be part of the Intelligent Community," Leedham said. "We were asked to share our story of Velocity Broadband."

The city's push to bring a gigabit-speed fiber network to Hudson in 2015 is what prompted the invitation to join the global think tank to exchange ideas and expertise that drive progress, Roberts said.

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"The creation of the Velocity Broadband fiber network for business retention and attraction put us on the map," Leedham said. "But it has morphed into so much more. With the help of ICF, we're changing the community's culture that will position Hudson for the future."

An intelligent community understands the enormous challenges of the broadband economy and has taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in this new digital age, Roberts said. An intelligent community exhibits six key indicators: broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital technology, sustainability and advocacy.

According to ICF, intelligent communities adopt technology to find vision-driven, community-based, technology smart solutions to their most urgent problems. They make sure they have the broadband and IT infrastructure they need to be competitive, she said.

The city is working on all six of the indicators with its Velocity fiber network as the catalyst for change aimed at creating a vibrant 21st century economy in Hudson, Roberts said.

"We are connected to our past, but we're building for the future," said Jim Stifler, chief economic officer. "We're changing the paradigm as we establish Hudson as a thriving digital oasis in Northeast Ohio, equipped to attract new technology companies and help them grow."

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Hudson is building an innovation environment where business, government and institutional partners create high-quality jobs for the digital age, Roberts said. The city is exploring innovative partnerships with the colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio, and will be meeting with the State of Ohio's Chief Innovation Officer, to discuss Hudson as a technology leader in the state.

Recently, Hudson partnered with Western Reserve Academy to host ICF's Center for Technology, Innovation and Creativity, bringing together representatives from communities across Northeast Ohio to discuss how to tackle challenges, create prosperity and enrich the quality of life in their communities.

"We're in the very beginning stages of this process, but we're already seeing the benefits and the potential for Hudson," said Leedham. "Companies are approaching us because of our digital initiatives."

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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