How to Engage in Public-Private Partnerships

We’re blogging from the Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Follow along @NextGenGov and read more blog posts here.

Issues of Engagement:

As an educator and director of a mentoring program I didn’t realize how difficult it was to foster relationships between Private and Public sectors in the government. I mean, I figured that every sector had their roles, and if they ever needed to get advice or aide, then they would just ask… Right!?

Apparently that is not the case because these issues can be complex, policies and thoughts are framed based upon misconceptions on both sides, and there are disagreements on how to get to the end goal. In some cases there seems to be a post-college game of tug-and-war, “we are better than you spirit”, or simply “we don’t know the right way, but yours isn’t it”. Or as Stephen Buckner, (Assistant Director of Communications at Census) mentioned in a keynote speech, “Everyone at Census doesn’t directly work on the census taking.” I certainly wondered what they were doing when they weren’t knocking on my door.

A panel of great speakers including Kris Bladerston (FleishmanHillard) Genger Charles (Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner,HUD), Eric Hoplin (Financial Services Roundtable), Jim Thomspon (Office Of the Secretary, Department of State) gave great pointers on how to start the engagement on both sides.

Thoughts on engaging in (PPP)

Be a translator between the public and private sector. (KB) – Each side should be helping the other side makes sense of things.

Get out there and try things, push your bosses to try things. (KB) – Get your bosses to start partnerships.

Build bridges inside and outside the government (GC) – Collaborate with those inside and outside your sector.

Understand how your dialogues can make impactful changes and be long lasting (GC) – Have the conversations.

Use leaders and leverage their ideas. (EH) – Use the leaders to start the change.

Still don’t get it? Well let’s take a look at a bigger picture. Eric Hoplin spoke of dealing with multiple banks in his line of work. One morning he was having breakfast with a very important person in the industry. His breakfast mate had to answer the phone during breakfast, and when he came back he informed Eric that it was his assistant. Basically the assistants’ job is to inform his boss anytime 10,000 hacks occurred against banking institutions. Can you imagine that at 8AM that many threats had been made? Think about the long-term panic that could derive from banks having security threats and all of their patrons pulling their money out. Well basically if the banks could work with the FBI, CIA, or other agencies in gathering information about the hackers they could cut down on the threats. Not only could they cut down on threats, but also track and locate the hackers.

The case mentioned is a major need for sectors to develop and maintain relationships. There are currently partnerships that are working such as Cyber Security, HopeNow (Housing), and Financial Literacy. It won’t happen overnight, but eventually miscommunication will turn into communication across the public and private sectors, and they will aide each other in reaching the end goal.

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