Review: Megacommunities



How Leaders of Government, Business and Non-Profits Can Tackle Today’s Global Challenges Together

by Mark Gerencser, Reginald Van Lee, Fernando Napolitano, and Christopher Kelly

Think about seemingly intractable social issues of the day – Alzheimers Disease, Diabetes, Poverty, big city school systems, to name a few.  Megacommunities proposes a model for addressing these big challenges by engaging all three sectors of society – business, government and civil society.  It’s an easy read and informative for leaders or facilitators working with big, challenging issues.

I attended a session by Reginald Van Lee a Senior Partner at Booz and an author of Megacommunities a few weeks ago where he discussed the methodology and articulated 10 key leadership principles necessary for success with this and other large group planning methods:
(1) Adopt a Spirit of Inclusiveness
(2) Tri-sector Exposure (gov’t, business, civil society)
(3) A non-imperial Approach
(4) Navigate with a Light Touch
(5) Communication Skills to influence and build cohesion
(6) Technological Savvy to network large groups and involve a wide range of people – the thousands who can’t fit in the room
(7) Adaptability – being open to influence is a hallmark
(8) The Talent to foster talent
(9) Presence and Passion – is necessary and contagious
(10) Long Term Thinking – act now, be in for the long haul

Megacommunities is the latest in large group planning methodologies and is similar in form to Future Search, Open Space, and Appreciative Inquiry.  Imagine what it would take to address the Diabetes epidemic (or HIV/Aids, Alzheimers…) in the U.S. This would require serious collaboration among pharmaceutical companies, patients and their families, healthcare providers, local and federal agencies, and community organizations among others to build workable, sustainable solutions.  These types of issues are tailor-made for a megacommunity.

The book references case examples from different sectors to make its case and walks through the methodology.  Examples range from healthcare ones like above to the port city of Brindisi in Italy—
a liquified natural gas terminal was planned which would bring many economic and environmental benefits to the area but that was derailed because key groups weren’t engaged in the process.

bob devlin
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