Tag Archives: community involvement

The 4 Fundamental C’s of Success – Part 3: Community

How do you thrive in the new world where we need to be in control of our mind and embrace technology as it becomes more powerful. In a new article series we explore the four fundamental C’s of success.

How do you thrive in the new world where we need to be in control of our mind and embrace technology as it becomes more powerful. In a new article series we explore the four fundamental C’s of success. In this third article, Charlotte de Brabandt explores the importance of community.

Who you surround yourself with on a day to day basis is an extremely important fundamental to achieving your goals and the successes you are aiming for.

To be successful, surrounding yourself with others who are striving for more is a very important rule to follow

If a person whose friends are rich and generally that person will also be rich. Find a person who is overweight and you will find on average that most of their friends are also overweight.

 Basically over time, you will become the average of most of your friends, whether they are successful, rich, dynamic, strong, or if they are failures, poor, lazy and weak. over time you will develop their same bad habits. This is why it is so important to seek friends that set good positive examples.

If all your friends are making $100,000 a month and you are only making $100,000 a year, you will be influenced to look for ways to increase your income that is closer to your friends. If your friends are only making $80,000 a year then you are far less motivated to seek out ways to push your income any higher.

The same goes if your friends are out of shape. If they eat junk food every day and do not exercise, then the chances are if you are always with them, then you will become out of shape, and you will probably find yourself eating more junk food and taking less exercise than you know is healthy.

If you pick the wrong sort of people to be in your community you will find they will slow you down and they will also try to talk you out of striving to achieve your dreams. This is not because they are being mean or spiteful. It’s because they don’t want you to get hurt. Because they are not doing anything with their lives, they don’t think you can either. They know if you attempt to achieve your dreams and goals, then that would mean that something in their life is changing, and most people are scared of change.

Immerse yourself in a community full of people who love change, people who strive to achieve goals and aren’t scared of trying. People who have the desire to thrive and not just live. These are the sort of people that will ensure you change and become the same with the same positive attitude.

This will then become your new “Normal”. You and your community will welcome people with goals and positive ideas, and you will find that watching people without any drive or goals will seem weird and out of the ordinary. You will soon be able to identify what people you should add to your community and what sort of people you need to steer well clear of.

So where do you begin with all this? Clarify to yourself the sort of positive thinking people you want to be in your community. Look for networking events and business conferences to go to. They will probably not be in your local neighbourhood but may be a distance from you. Make the effort and attend these sort of conferences. Even if there are admission fees, your goals with these sort of events are not just to sit and learn what is being taught, but to also make new friends and acquaintances that you can add to your personal community. These sort of people will have similar drive and goals as you do and they will greatly help you move towards achieving your goals because they are probably the same sort of goals that they too want to achieve. Over time these people will become close friends and possibly business partners that you can use to attain steps towards your final goals.

Apart from attending business conferences, you can find and make friends with new people online. Social media makes it easy to find people who are doing the same sort of thing as you. When meeting new people you may find that they are just as excited to meet you and have the same ideas that you can help them achieve greatness too. As you meet more and more people and build your community you will find you gain more skills and friendships and this will snowball into great things.

Creating Community Empowerment With Football

How taking an interest in football can help put community empowerment at the heart of public procurement.

Lots of public bodies at national, regional and local level like to talk about community empowerment don’t they? That’s because promoting community empowerment is perhaps the holy grail of participatory democracy.

Many politicians and policy makers believe that getting communities more involved in what public money should be spent on and, more importantly, why, will lead to improved outcomes for people and their communities. And there’s plenty of evidence to back this up.

For procurement, tasked with delivering more for less, increasing community empowerment could also mean that the ever-decreasing pot of cash available to spend on public services could actually be deployed in a much more effective way.

Empowerment and Football?

So what we can we do in procurement?  How could we promote community empowerment and what benefits could that bring?  When I was searching Google for examples, strange connections started to occur.  Wherever I found a good example of procurement and community engagement, great football, or soccer to those of you on the other side of the pond, was also evident too. You don’t believe me? Well read on…

Let’s start in the home of sexy football, Brazil.  They’ve been doing a thing called Participatory Budgeting there for a number of years, and it’s a great way to do community empowerment at the front end of the procurement process. Participatory Budgeting in Brazil is an approach which gives local people a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local requirements.

It started in a place called Porto Alegre in southern Brazil over a decade ago. The first phase of participatory budgeting was to get people together to prioritise how money should be spent, and where investment should go. Should it be parks or water supply, or schools or roads? People at the grass roots of the community were asked to come together in neighbourhood assemblies, and make those decisions.

As the process matured people were able to take decisions at an increasing lower level.  From choices between thematic areas, to choices between services within a theme, to choices about what the specification for that service should be.

So people at the front end determining priorities. Something perhaps we already get involved in from a procurement point of view through User Intelligence Groups, particularly when we have service users involved in that process.

Community Empowerment

What they’ve done in Brazil is a start, but how could we shift control even more directly to people’s hands and empower communities through procurement?

To have a look at how this might be done I moved on to another football hotspot – Spain. I zoomed in on a city which features on a daily basis in my house, and probably every household that has football crazy kids in their midst. Now the football club might be having a great season, but the real reason why Barcelona is a great place isn’t the sublime football of Messrs Neymar, Messi and Suarez.

It’s their approach to procurement using open problems that was the real wow factor for me. Instead of coming up with a specification for a service, they’ve specified the problem, and then gone to the market and asked suppliers to solve it.

They asked people from geographic communities, or communities of interest, to identify what needs they have, and then turned it over to the world’s entrepreneurs to solve them.

Barcelona’s approach was successful. They had 50,000 views of their contract notices, and ultimately let six contracts in this way for issues ranging from tackling bike theft, to systems to tackle social isolation, and empowering local retailers using technology. The thing to understand here, is that communities don’t always know the answer to what they need at the outset – they just know they have a problem.

This method of empowering them to say what they want to change and then enabling them to choose what the answer should be from a range of options, some of which they might not even have considered, is very powerful and procurement is right at the heart of it.

Going Remote and Rural

But is it just in big cities and the regions where these community empowerment approaches might work? Could we use them in remote and rural locations?

My final destination is in one of the great footballing heartlands (well we like to think so anyway!) – Scotland, and my own organisation in the Outer Hebrides.

We wanted to improve community empowerment and link it to a procurement process and so we gave a combination of Brazil and Barcelona a try.  We used a bus service contract but flipped the requirement on its head so we went out to the market to seek travel solutions for people without cars – the problem we sought to solve.

We engaged with the community to identify needs, drive specification development and score the tenders. We embedded community engagement the length and breadth of the procurement process.

To make this happen we assembled our squad of players. The Transport Team in defence, yearning to retain the old ways of doing things, community workers in midfield being creative with their consultation techniques, corporate policy playing in goal making sure we didn’t make any strategic blunders, and finally our strike force, the procurement team, taking all the needs, creativity and service requirements, and converting this into the winning goal by putting a great procurement process and contract in place.

With a 5 per cent budget saving delivered over the lifetime of the contract we clinched the trophy with no need for extra time.

Footballing metaphors aside, promoting community empowerment as part of the way we do things gives those of us in public procurement a real opportunity to shine.

It’s a chance to showcase our talent – getting the right people to have the right input into the procurement process at the right time.

It’s a chance for us to stretch ourselves and learn new techniques. To work with different types of people, using different engagement techniques, at different points in the procurement process.

And it’s the chance to deliver more for less, to provide real answers to the challenges of austerity, and to score that winning goal!