Collective Wisdom in Capacity Building

October 2, 2009

Ambassador Bagley’s sentiments laid the groundwork for the panel that would follow:  “The problems we face today will not be solved by governments alone.  They will be solved by partnerships.”  (Of course, as the State Department’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships, she might be slightly biased.)

Ambassador Bagley also encouraged participants to think in multiple dimensions.  Emerging market development will only be successful if a number of moving parts are simultaneously set in motion.  After all, success is unlikely if money is invested in a great infrastructure where 40% of the local workforce is battling HIV/AIDS. 

Each of the panelists presented a unique approach for defining local challenges, assessing current capabilities, and building capacity in new markets.  A summary of their collective wisdom follows:

 

  • Tim Stiles:  KPMG

The private sector and not-for-profit entities need to explicitly define their expectations of one another.  When working for not-for-profit organizations, KPMG has three informal types of relationships:  pro-bono, low-bono, and no-bono.  Even the private sector has limited resources, and they obviously can’t do everything for everyone for free.  Offering some services for a fee and other services for free is an easy way to communicate intentions and ensure both parties are on the same page.

  • Silvia Garrigo:  Chevron

When trying to develop community, it is important to get all of the right parties to the table.  That includes local government, not-for-profit organizations, and yes, even competitors.  In too many cases, the private sector companies focus more on competing for emerging markets than developing cross-company partnerships.  In many cases, it is the latter case that will lead to bigger long-term gains for both the developing community and the bottom line.

  • Pamela Passman:  Microsoft Corporation

While Microsoft is primarily a software company, it also is one part of a long chain of distributors and vendors, each with their own core capabilities.  Since Microsoft relies on them (and vice versa), it benefits from finding partners with complementary core competencies.  When entering new markets, Microsoft looks for partners on the ground who understand the local landscape, the local needs, and the local systems.  Working with these organizations, Microsoft is able to learn and build its competencies in a new market quickly.

An archived video of the panel is available on BCLC’s conference website.

Matthew Holtry is a Consultant with PRIZIM Inc., an environmental and energy management services firm and was part of the blogging team at BCLC’s Emerging Markets Conference.