Monday, August 12, 2013

Convergence Towards the Metro Revolution with a Tale of Two Peter's (Diamandis & Peterson)


In this third and final installment of the “Abundance” blog series, bringing Peter Diamandis’ lessons into perspective for local government through the lens of Priority Based Budgeting, we are going to draw another “Pete” into the discussion – Pete Peterson, Executive Director of Pepperdine’s Davenport Institute of Public Policy, leading expert in authentic civic engagement in local government, and key-note speaker at the CPBB Conference in Washington D.C.

The Challenge (and Opportunity) of Our Time

On Day 2 of the Priority Based Budgeting Conference, Pete Peterson had the audience
completely captivated. His presentation was as much inspiring as it was prescriptive. Starting with a premise that ICMA's Bob O'Neill has espoused as both an opportunity and a challenge - we are indeed entering a critical juncture: "The Decade of Local Government." As quoted from O'Neill, “this decade of local government will be a time of ‘creative destruction’ that will produce an unprecedented amount of innovation…Local governments increasingly will be expected to ‘go it alone,’ with little help from Washington or their state governments. Cross-sector strategies will be the norm. Performance and results -- not just inputs and outputs -- increasingly will matter."

But as Pete said, this "Decade of Local Government" is not just an opportunity for local government to shine and demonstrate it's value, it's an ultimatum, a last resort, a desperate plea when local governments are already stressed like no other time in our nation's history. Peterson framed the situation with two opposed ideas:

Certainly among many California municipalities, and across the Country, the magnitude of forces creating structural deficits can not be overcome by tax increases alone. Ballooning pension obligations, federal gridlock and state government cut-backs present pressure beyond any community's capacity or willings to provide adequate relief through new revenue. 

  And yet at the same time, now more than ever before, the need for increased efforts through services to prime and pump the economic engines of growth present new demands on municipalities to solve the relevant problems of today's society. 

Pete captured the essence of the issue with a quote from Stephen Goldsmith, “The Red Ink Tsunami: Why Old Ideas Can’t Fix the New Government Perma-Crisis” -- “For a variety of reasons today’s budget deficits are different. Government at all levels now faces an inescapable reality – the promises of public services exceed our ability to pay for them – and will do so regardless of when the recession ends. The steady increase in the quantity and cost of public services, coupled with the needs of an aging population and public pension costs have produced a long term, structural deficit." 

But then he turned the tables. Drawing on another concept from “Unleashing Breakthrough Innovation in Government”, (Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2013), Pete presented a pivot point in the argument: "Throughout the United States and much of the developed world, governments are on the brink of crisis. They need answers to a paradoxical challenge—how to spur economic growth while simultaneously reducing spending. This can be done only when we find novel solutions to the real problems that we have relied on government to solve.” 

Therein lay the key to a new doorway. 

Abundance Lesson #3: Shared Services and an Evolving Role for Local Government

And in that doorways stands Peter Diamandis and the final key premise from Abundance that we too are seeing in our work.

Diamandis puts it this way: “small groups of motivated innovators can accomplish what was once the sole province of large corporations and governments. The aerospace giants felt it was impossible, but Burt Rutan flew into space (privately). Craig Venter tied the mighty US government in the race to sequence the human genome.”

This is nothing short of staggering. Why? Because these are the exact same points being made by Katz and Bradley in “The Metropolitan Revolution,” by Tom Friedman in “I Want to be a Mayor," and by David Brooks in “The Power Inversion”.

The point is that local government no longer needs to be everything to everybody. PBB communities are making massive breakthroughs when they become comfortable with the idea of other service providers partnering to achieve mutually beneficial results. It’s more efficient, there’s less duplication, and we must find the best providers of services who have the greatest chance of achieving great outcomes. Some of the best things taking place in a community are coming about from partnerships, where local government is the leader, the facilitator and often times a key partner, but not always necessarily the only possible service provider (see this great story from the City of Fort Collins, CO regarding Economic Development).

The Future Truly is Better Than You Think

CPBB is intent on helping communities get the absolute most out of their resources,
from all of a community’s service providers – public and private. As we look to the future, we hope to see more of a community’s institutions participating in the PBB process so that we can effectively prioritize dollars across a greater spectrum of service providers. Imagine what happens when we see the allocation of an entire community’s contribution, measured across every service provider – public and private! Imagine the opportunities for partnership; for finding the best service providers for specific programs; for minimizing redundancy and maximizing value. We’re already seeing how that happens right now. A “future” marked by the effective interplay between all service providers in a community, with results driving the conversation, is closer than we think. The Decade of Local Government demands it!

Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

 facebook  twitter  LinkedIn

If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment