The Case for Creative Public-Private and Private-Private Partnerships

November 23, 2020
Written Insights

In May, I, along with every other person on the United Airlines email list, received a note from the CEO announcing a new program called United CleanPlus. CleanPlus is a "Cleanliness and Safety Partnership with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic." United CleanPlus "brings together...(the) most trusted name in disinfection and the country's leading medical experts to develop protocols designed to help keep customers safe at the airport and onboard."

I followed that note up with a personal conversation around "permission in the market" with Jonathan Healey, Assistant Director at the Ethics Lab at Georgetown University, that made me think, "why doesn't our industry do the same thing and work on public-private and private-private partnerships that are outside of the norm?" When we look at partnerships and integrations and even how we define System Integrators, why are we so insular?

Examples of our partnerships are usually:

  • Access Control Software company integrates with a mobile credential service.
  • Access Control Software company integrates with video management system.
  • The use of logical systems with physical.
  • Sensor or analytics slapped onto our systems.
  • Association to Association partnerships.

I am by no means saying anything is wrong with those examples as they are essential. I am also not saying that there are zero examples where this has happened. An example of a private-private partnership that recently happened and is slightly outside the traditional box was the announcement of Traction Guest working with Salesforce and their efforts. Besides that, examples like the United/Clorox/Cleveland Clinic type of partnership do not roll off our industry tounges the same way we can recall one of the many access control and video integrations. They just do not have the same mainstream "bang."

I am curious why we do not see external partnering opportunities as a strategy more often.

If I have missed any that were obvious, please email me some examples of public-private and private-private partnerships that I can highlight.

I do not necessarily have the reasons why we don't, but a quick thought exercise brought me the following ideas around why not:

  • Lack of time spent creatively ideating
  • Perceived lack of value or ROI
  • Not a priority
  • Lack of imagination
  • Do not know where to start

It feels to me there are unique byproducts of doing public-private and private-private partnerships. For instance:

  • Exposure to expertise: both for advancements but also risk avoidance
  • Permission in the market to deliver a solution or thought leadership
  • Potential increased value creation for all stakeholders
  • Exciting and new stories to tell
  • Exponential demand and customer reach

What are some examples of public-private and private-private partnerships that we could see in our industry? Here are a five that I came up with this morning:

  • Why reinvent the wheel? Someone should partner with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to provide the same type of solution for healthy buildings or getting back to work exercises.
  • Reach out to Uber and develop a "clean certified delivery service" for offices, college, and universities, or multifamily housing
  • HBCU partnership on working through marginalized communities and our technology.
  • Partner with LGBTIQA+ communities on Safe School Initiatives
  • Work with Khan Academy and create new certification programs.

Keep in mind; I am not just talking about this from a national point of view. I believe that local initiatives matter as much if not more than many national partnership programs showing up in press releases. This could be interesting and unique collaborations of local brands.

In the end, as we continue to see our industry go mainstream, an example of matching the external forces of disruption with our internal forces of disruption is to go on the offense and get creative on mainstream public-private and private-private partnerships.

What are some ideas you have on public-private and private-private partnerships?

Lee Odess

I've worked as an Entrepreneur and an Integrator (founded E+L+C), for a multinational billion dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry (Allegion), as an Executive of a start-up who pioneered the IoT/smart lock/smart physical access control industry (UniKey), and as an Executive with the first cloud based physical access control manufacturer (Brivo). I put all those years together to form a Growth Studio focused on business creation in the CRETech, proptech and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control and IoT industry.

Labeled as an uber-networker by the Washington Post, Lee Odess has over 18 years starting, building and leading businesses with an exceptional track record for sales growth and marketing effectiveness.

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