• 5241 Finchley Lane
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • 23455
  • (757) 636-1775

"The New Localism": Local Geography and Community-based Collective Impact

Posted by Joe Antle on April 1, 2019 6:40 AM EDT
Joe  Antle photo

After reading Thomas' recent blog (and having read both books myself) about concepts that reading the two books, "It Takes A Family" by Debra Jay and "The Prosperity Paradox" by Dr. Clayton Christensen, I have to say.....

...I couldn't agree more with Thomas' observations. In fact, I think it's one of the best blog entries that Thomas has posted on this platform.

That said, it missed a couple of ideas that we collectively think are key elements to driving healthier populations at scale.  Thomas, Chip Block and I all feel that there are a number of factors or elements that can drive healthier populations and thus lower the overall costs of healthcare.  Clearly, improving the quality and the cost of healthcare itself and in helping people reduce their health risks over a sustainable period to time are among those. 

There are at least three other essential elements that the three of us have written and championed over many writings.  Those three are the following: the power of community-people helping people help themselves, the centricity of geography-not just as a dimension of "community" but as its own driving force and context for healthier living and even recovery and the idea of collective impact-collaboration, coordination and resource-sharing across multiple sectors of a regional economy.  

And of course, the galvanizing "glue" or "fuel" of innovation applied to all of these factors for positive, dramatic and sustained change.

I would like to add another book to the mix of the two that Thomas has so effectively and eloquently described in his blog.  The book I am referring to is titled "The New Localism" by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak.  Both are strong researchers and Katz has the power of the Brookings Institute and its world-renown cities research behind the work.  The book is well-written and has a strong hint of academia in it.  It is thus both credible and trustworthy.

Like Thomas said in his recent blog, the goal here is not to provide an in-depth review, but simply to note how its central tenets support the three issues cited above and the key points in the two books Thomas wrote about.  While the focus of the book is based largely on the role of urban development, the political, socioeconomic and commercialization of cities and metropolitan areas, a focus that Brookings Institute is famous for being an expert knowledge resource, the book offers many specific examples of the model the authors call "The New Localism".  Hence, this is a book based on research, clear thinking about ways to apply the research and it's also well-titled.

However, as I read the book, I could not help but draw the comparisons to the exceptional work done by Stanford University around "collective impact".  We are great believers in the model of "collective impact" and thus this book reminded me of that model of collaboration across regions and focused on socioeconomic issues important to a given place, region or country.

In "The New Localism", the focus is on emerging models of how cities specifically can recapitalize and reposition their physical assets to make the region a better place to live, work and play.  Much like Dr. Christensen's latest book, the goal of innovation fulfills the opportunity to create jobs and to build opportunities for the lower income segments of the population.  "The New Localism" model argues for rethinking organizational structure to improve strategic long term leverage of assets-so there are powerful arguments and examples in favor of a different form of governance and financial support models.  This differs in focus from the pure-play view of "collective impact".  It sets the locus on the centricity of the city and region as the point of leverage in bringing together government, universities, healthcare, private sector/corporations and citizens to finance, manage and execute against key projects that have both a long term focus but also create greater value for the assets owned by the city/region and thus benefit the taxpayers and residents in additional new ways.  In fact, in some ways, I see that the concept of "The New Localism" movement can be a compliment or supporting "infrastructure" for a host of collective impact projects that can be delivered locally, but may, in fact, be expandable to other regions and cities upon noteworthy and replicable success.  So, while creating a healthier population is a topic we care about, and it fits all regions and cities....stemming the impact of sea-level rise may only relate to coastal cities.  But there are many coastal cities that could benefit from the lessons learned and repeatable success an initial city may bring to that problem.

The combination of the lessons in the first two books, along with the key points in "The New Localism" can bring powerful new ideas for tackling issues related to the improvement of population health either broadly or around specific conditions based on prevention or recovery.

There are no comments

Sign in to add your comment.

Recent Posts

Affordable Care Act and Healthy Lives Innovation "Metals"
Thoma's recent blog posting of articulating the importance of putting others first and improving our...
read more
In Innovation, What's Better Than The Golden Rule?
At the "heart" of the innovation that we consistently proclaim is the key to breakthrough innovation...
read more
Jane Gardner: A Tribute to A Courageous "Healthcare Hero"
Throughout my three-decades-long career in the newspaper business with two of the three largest...
read more
Mid-Year 2020: Applying "Focus" and "Vision" to An Unpredictable Year
As we stand at mid-year, 2020, it's important to consider the idea of how to apply "vison" and...
read more
July 4th: Celebration of America's Freedom and Independence
While we celebrate our heritage and our proud history, let us not forget that America's values which...
read more
Innovation and Newspapers as Socio-economic Platforms
I was recently asked if there is a great benefit to my role as a healthy living advocate for...
read more
Father's Day 2020: A Clearer Vision Into the Joys of Fatherhood
For more than three decades I have had the great honor to be a father. And these years have been...
read more
An Experienced Health Insurance Executive's Theory on Recent Riots
Recently, I had an opportunity to participate in a most enlightening and interesting text message...
read more
Seeing What's Next
The last three months of heart-breaking issues, battling COVID-19, social distancing, economic...
read more
Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Dealing with the Impact of COVID-19
While it is true that all innovations aren't necessarily created by entrepreneurs and all...
read more

Go to blog