Chapter 3: The value of partnerships
If partnerships are perilously complex, why are they worth the time? Participants in partnerships can reflect on why they sought to collaborate across sectors. Their thinking suggests a certain necessity for partnerships – a sense of inevitability that we will all ultimately require new forms of working together in order to function. Bill Eimicke, Director of the Picker Center at the School of Inter- national and Public Affairs at Columbia University, has held various government positions over a long career. Most recently, he was the Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department. He said of the value of partnerships: I don’t see how you get anything important done going forward without partnerships. It’s just not going to happen. As we look at unemployment in upstate New York, it is not going to be solved by government. It’s not going to be solved by the private sector by itself. It’s not going to be solved by the NGO sector. It needs universities, it needs businesses, it needs the government; it needs multiple levels of government. Ralph Smith stated: The solutions to so many of the problems lurk at the borders and at the intersection of the sectors. … So our strategies are going to have to be inter-agency, inter-governmental, and cross sector. We have very few existing structures. Until we develop some structures, and one might contend that … structures are now irrelevant. … What are the networks we need to assemble that are going to be agile enough?
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