We traveled to Washington University in St. Louis last week to participate in a presentation and panel discussion on "The Future of American Communities - The Loop Media Hub and Kansas City Google Fiber" with Aaron Deacon of KC Digital Drive, Dave Sandel with the Loop Media Hub, and a number of other panelists.
Strategic Relationship Success
I discussed the strategic relationship success between Social Media Club of Kansas City and The Brainzooming Group in creating the Building the Gigabit City brainstorming session and report that's still available as a free download with hundreds of ideas and concepts about how ultra high-speed broadband Internet will change our communities.
One audience question was on how to secure Google Fiber-like Internet service in an under-served community that can't create a business case on its own. My initial response was to look to related communities in similar or better situations to identify ways to join forces. My answer was shaped by hearing Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James at a recent Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast discuss making "regionalism" work in metropolitan Kansas City - an area comprised of two states, nine counties, and one hundred twenty city governments.
Speaking specifically about Kansas City Missouri and Kansas successfully working together on Google Fiber, Mayor Sly James highlighted three factors for strategic relationship success that made this effort at regionalism work.
- Tangible - Because of trying to win Google Fiber, there was a real effort that presented a compelling upside with a clear deadline to combine forces and to perform.
- Valuable - Creating a successful go at from a strategic relationship held the possibility of significant, unique benefits for the participating parties.
- Unusually Big - While it might have been possible for each party to go it alone, the best opportunity for success came from pairing up and building trust among the cities.
Mayor Sly James pointed out the challenges of establishing regionalism on a more abstract level. It's easy to talk about cities working together in a strategic relationship, but it simply doesn't work unless the three success factors present for the Google Fiber competition are present.
The three factors for strategic relationship success Mayor Sly James shared are beneficial to apply to all potential strategic relationship opportunities. If your organization can't or doesn't want to go it alone, look for (or create) a situation to align with another organization that's tangible, valuable, and is so unusually big it clearly requires both of your organizations to succeed. - Mike Brown