AFP – Megacommunities

Presented by Reginald Van Lee

Mr. Van Lee of Booz Allen Hamilton, provided an overview of how megacommunities can help with sustainable globalization.

Mega problems — i.e., natural disasters like Katrina; energy sustainability; financial crisis; armed conflict/terrorism; public health crisis; climate change — demand a megacommunity response.

A megacommunity response is much different from the normal response.

Regular response is …

  • Single perspective
  • Maximize objectives
  • Organization bound
  • Limited openness / trust

Megacommunity response is …

  • Shared ideas
  • Optimize system
  • Transcend boundaries
  • Remain independent while working across sectors on common interests

Megacommunity defined:

Collaborative network of organizations in which civil society leaders/NPOs, business and government interact according to common interests. Such common goals are unachievable without each other as partners.  Each entity continues to maintain unique priorities.

Megacommunities made up of all three sectors have vital, overlapping needs that converge within an easily adaptable structure.

Megacommunity Recruitment and Process:

Find the Right Convener — an influential person is needed to attract and keep the right people in the room.  This choice , which is often an NPO – must be carefully researched and vetted.

Recruit the Right Facilitator –focused attention is needed to find the right leadership to facilitate a dynamic, open, effective exchange.

Attract the Right Resource Packager — find the person best able to determine, organize and negotiate the resources from foundations, member payments, pro bono, etc.

Identify about 20 leaders from each of the three sectors – total of about 60.

Contact and determine overlapping vital interests.  Test their willingness to participate in a summit.

Hold summit of about 150 – 200  leaders.  Individuals are assembled at roundtables that each reflect a cross-section of the three sectors to liberate the problem.

This 1.5 hour session did not get to address the “then what?”.

Then What?

Plan for Action and Implement:

Here is how Campaign Consultation addressed the “then what?” after designing, developing and facilitating a summit for 150 City leaders for Citizens Planning and Housing Association (CPHA).

Before the summit’s conclusion, participants were asked to select and join a task force for which they were most passionate.

We provided facilitation support  to task forces as they met over three months to organize and develop action plans that included who and when.

Our experience is that those leaders with the most passion  are most successful at achieving their goals.  In this case the Marketing task force won out with the Live Baltimore! center which exists today as a beacon to prospects and newcomers to Baltimore City.  The Transportation task force continues to impact with plans  to bring electric street cars to center City.

Part of the joy in helping mega groups achieve mega results is “watching the tires leave the runway”.  You just know that change is a’comin!  You know what I mean?!!  Exciting stuff!

Posted by: Linda Brown Rivelis, President