A Growth in Public Sector Partnering


partnership (1)

noun   part·ner·ship   \  ˈpärt-nər-ˌship \

Definition of partnership

:an arrangement in which people engage in an activity or business with one another or share something with each other

There is growing public sector interest in partnerships. Once found only in the private sector, the concept of partnering is increasingly important to how the public sector approaches:

  • resource constraints,
  • increasingly complex problems, and
  • implementation of sustainable solutions.

In this new series of articles, we will discuss new concepts in public sector partnering. We outline the elements of a good partnership. We also provide some suggestions for assessing partnerships governance and performance.

It is important to define partners as being different from stakeholders. Partners bring resources to the fight. Stakeholders bring issues, points of view, and positions. Partners invest time, talent, and treasure – the 3 Ts – to mutually determined problems.

As public sector budgets remain flat, or decline, hiring and contracting for services are no longer options. The public sector is increasingly seeking partners to provide the skills, funding, data, staff, and competencies that it does not possess.  We refer to this joining of resources as “collaborative capital.” Collaborative capital is the sharing of intellectual capital, political capital, labor, and financial capital among many organizations to address a defined problem.

  1. Intellectual Capital: the data, unique processes, software, and insight that is the basis of each partner’s business model. It includes the ability to confer legitimacy on any of the above.
  2. Political Capital: the ability of each partner to influence public policy, regulation, law, and public budgets.
  3. Labor: the staff and volunteers each partner can commit toward ongoing governance, developing solutions, and implementation.
  4. Financial Capital: the actual dollar funding each partner provides toward the solution.

Each of these 4 elements of collaborative capital are generally required to solve public sector problems. Each partner should provide some or all the 4. Some partners bring only one of the above and others all four. The most successful partnerships have the necessary and sufficient partners to provide all 4 types of collaborative capital.

In the next segment, we will discuss each of the collaborative capital elements in more detail, and how they play out in public sector partnering.

© 2017 Group Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Removing “biz-blab” from your speech and brain is a good thing.

All of us get certain words or phrases stuck in our brains. These terms then become over-used in our communications with others. This article in Inc. provides some evidence to show this tendency to use the hottest new business phrase may not be helping us or those around us; in fact, it may be dumbing down our understanding of issues.


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Climate Change Doesn’t Respect Lines on a Map

What are landscape conservation cooperatives?

Seeking to “address the impacts of accelerating climate change on wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend,” the U.S. Department of the Interior has created a national collaborative strategy for strategic habitat conservation on the landscape level, seeking to “put the right science in the right places.”

Landscape conservation cooperatives, or LCCs, are self-directed, applied conservation science partnerships that will take a bigger view than any single organization or agency can do independently to address national-scale stressors, including climate change.

This video (4:08) from the USFWS Northeast Region tells the story.

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10 Roadblocks to Innovation

In this essay, Holly Green at Forbes discusses 10 roadblocks to innovation.

Organizational success is a wonderful thing. But it’s also a double-edged sword. As organizations experience success, their emphasis tends to shift to protecting and maintaining the status quo versus considering new opportunities and products. Unfortunately, clinging to what has worked in the past puts the brakes on innovation.

It also puts you out of touch with your customers’ changing needs — a dangerous circumstance in today’s highly volatile markets.
If you’re trying to innovate but not having success, see if any of these apply to your organization.

We could not agree more. As the pace of change accelerates these become more critical than ever to check these often. Read on.

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The Strategic Advantage of Culture

A recent article in Forbes (link below) covers a topic we discuss almost weekly with clients — the competitive advantage of culture.

Cultures like Google and Apple are renowned for creating competitive advantage through fostering creativity that leads to great new product offerings.

One often overlooked aspect of having a fantastic culture are the returns to the company in the form of better employee recruitment, development and retention. Many of our clients bemoan the fact that they cannot offer competitive salaries – particularly those in the public and non-profit sectors – and therefore lose-out on the “best” talent in the market. Additionally, many feel that low salaries cause a high turnover rate among their best employees, leading to a talent-brain-drain within the organization. Most, unfortunately, resign themselves to this situation as an inevitability. We work to convince them otherwise.

During the recent recession, lower paying companies have been able to hire extra-ordinary talent. But they fear, with good cause, that these same people will be heading to other higher paying opportunities once the job market improves.

The competitive component that most organizations are missing out on is the quality of their culture. Working within a fantastic culture – one that inspires and nurtures the individual – is one of the key strategies for recruitment, development and retention of great talent. Different cultures appeal to different people. Finding those individuals that are a fit for your culture should start at hiring. Articulating and carefully cultivating a great culture can help all companies hire, develop and retain an above average, talented workforce.

Creating an intentional culture and installing it within the organization (Because you have an operating culture, whether you intend it or not!) is a strategic challenge that will have yield competitive advantage to those willing to take on the challenge.


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