Taking Hollands' previous statement on the transition from intelligent to smart cities as its point of departure ('Will the real smart city stand up?' City 12(3), 302-320), this article reflects upon the anxieties currently surrounding such developments. In particular, it considers the suggestion that such developments have more to do with cities meeting the corporate needs of marketing campaigns than the social intelligence required for them to be smart. Focusing on the social intelligence of such developments, this article captures the information-rich and highly communicative qualities of the transition. In particular, it examines the methodological issues that smart communities pose cities and the critically insightful role which the networks of innovation and creative partnerships set up to embed such intelligence play in the learning, knowledge transfer and capacity-building exercises servicing this community-led transition to smart cities. This, the article suggests, is what existing representations of smart cities miss. This article offers a critically insightful account of the transition.