Initiatives

Why Cities and Universities Need a New Kind of Dialogue

From a recent article by Diana Graizbord, Jamie McPike, and Nicole Pollock:

“This year the City of Providence Department of Innovation collaborated with Brown University on the Providence Business Engagement Initiative. To kick off the Initiative, students in an applied policy research course utilized City licensing data, open meetings records, and census data to identify neighborhood business clusters and determine an appropriate outreach and engagement methodology. Three student groups then collected the stories of over 50 small business owners, community leaders, and city officials. These stories were used by Department of Innovation to inform changes in the City’s business licensing process and to enhance the City’s Start Up in a Day program. The success of this partnership would not have been possible without ongoing, iterative dialogue that allowed both partners to reevaluate and renegotiate project plans and goals, manage expectations, and ensure that project deliverables were relevant and useful. . . .

What we found was that both partners had specific goals and priorities, but both were open to adapting and changing these as the project evolved. By focusing first on establishing a dialogue rather than a set of binding terms, the partnership became more nimble, able to shift and move in new directions as new ideas arose. This flexible style of collaboration required a foundation of mutual trust; the dialogue that we established early on helped the partnership to withstand the uncertainty and challenges that emerge in a project committed to innovation. . . .”

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.