Partnerships That Drive Change

This week, Goldsmith informed us of Joel Klein and his partnership with Mayor Bloomberg, discussing the relationship between the public and private sector, describing the relationship as a “textbook example of government partnering with civic entrepreneurs to help drive change” (204). I have had the opportunity to research a number of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) as well as be a part of one through a contract between the City of Roanoke, the Conflict Resolution Center, and the Roanoke Rescue MIssion.  Research and experience has greatly enhanced my knowledge of P3s and their effectiveness. 
So what?
Public-Private partnerships have become increasingly popular over time because of the many benefits that they offer. One of the most sought after benefits deals with the financial aspect of the partnerships. The economic benefits of merging the resources have allowed innumerable tasks to be accomplished that would not have been accomplished otherwise simply because of financial constraints. P3s combine the “knowledge and skills of business, government, planning, and community development in a collaborative manner and in many cases achieves a form of citizen-driven governance” (Suchman, 1995). P3s also enable partners to be better equipped for dealing with multisectoral problems with the expanded area of expertise offered by a greater number of actors. Lastly, the obvious benefits of sharing risk and responsibility for whatever the network wishes to accomplish. 
Because leaders in the community realized the potential benefit of a P3, a partnership was formed (in order to deal with a great deal of conflict arisen). The P3 I was contracted under allowed for openness in the community, a collaborative discussion, a chance for citizens to be heard, and incredible movement toward social change in the community. 
What now? 
As we learned in the readings this week, an important question to ask as a change leader is “How might a community mix exciting and successful social innovations with the best of its existing civic capacity to dramatically improve life for its residents?” (Goldsmith, 199). One of the best ways to understand the civic capacity and understand the life of residents is to get involved with them, be on there level and share your vision with all who are interested. Yes data from constituents is useful and those who have a radical opinion about the proposed change will be sure that their voices are heard. But in order to truly understand what can and should be done, there has be be some connection with the community. A P3 serves as an excellent way to do just that, allowing a network to form and opportunities to grow. 

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