Is there an appetite for disruption in cities with lingering social and economic challenges and limited resources?

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Is there an appetite for disruption in cities with lingering social and economic challenges and limited resources?

What is disruption and do cities with lingering social and economic challenges and limited resources have an appetite for it? The dictionary defines disruption as breaking apart and interrupting the normal course of action. When applying the concept of disruption in the business and public sector, disruption according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen,  “literally uproot and change how we think, behave, do business, learn and go about our day-to-day”. Christensen further argues that disruption displaces the old with something new setting in motion a process of creativity.

While effective in the private sector in both products and pricing, its application in the public sector is challenging at best. There are no secrets about the fact that there is nothing disruptive about the administration of government. Its a steady course with incremental steps.  In particular in cities with lingering social and economic challenges and limited resources. In theory one would think that disruptive strategy would exist with a fierce appetite in such cities.  But, in reality when you look at policy implementation in such cities they really aren’t disrupting much. They are simply doing what has always been done.

A question many ponder is why don’t we see disruption? Is it because of the lack of citizen engagement and interest? Could it be because of the complexity of stakeholders in the public sector? Is it the protective nature of the bureaucracy? Or, is it simply politics versus policy? I am really not sure what the answer to this question is. One thing is certain, for cities with limited resources and lingering social and economic challenges, the need for disruptive policy could not be greater.

What I am tryig to convey is that our communities have known for generations that resources from the local, state and federal level have been in decline. Its safe to say that the decline in resources will continue to trend downward. Despite this reality, the play book in terms of community development implementaion has not changed.

The larger issue and challenge that exist is to what extent communities with declining resources and growing social and economic challenges have an appetite for disruption. If the appetite is not there and agressively pursued by city leaders and engaged citizens, I am not sure if for example addressing issues such as affordable housing will have a leg to stand on.

Just someting to think about………..

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