Steve Jobs is known for many things…Creating Apple, perfecting Pixar and reinventing Apple. Reinventing Apple was based on Steve Jobs new philosophy based on an ad campaign created by Chait/Day in 1997 -- ”Think Different.” Well, the business and social climate already is going through a transformation, now it is time for the city, both the mayor and city council to, stop “Believe in Detroit,” and start to, “Think Different.”
While Detroit is not alone in its problems, it is working alone at trying to find solutions. Cities every year have high unemployment, rising pension costs and high health care costs, falling property values and cut backs in funding from the state and federal governments.
Cities now lack the capacity to provide the basic services, its residents rely on. Today, cities are in a desperate search for capital. In the end, a consent agreement or emergency financial manager is about becoming fiscally sound by either limiting expenses, finding capital or both.
Through the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Business Council, Mayors are turning to the private sector for support. For example, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker recently turned to Class Green Capital, who used creative transactions with real estate owned by the city to help identify funding for both long and short-term needs. Providence, Rhode Island also turned to Class Green Capital. Companies like GE, Best Buy, Wal Mart, Target and others have corporate foundations set up to fund specific projects.
In January, a group of technology executives launched the “San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation,” an effort to help make San Francisco the “innovation capital of the world.” While in Detroit, organizations such as TechTown, NextEnergy, Detroit Venture Partners, Compuware Ventures, DTE Energy Ventures, Invest Detroit and others are proving to be a great success, we need to coordinate our efforts and think more strategic.
In addition to making a financial contribution or finding the support necessary to keep certain city services from going away, there are other ways companies can get involved and are. The private sector, as well as labor can lend their muscle and equipment in cleaning Detroit’s parks, abandoned streets and neighborhoods. It is time that we all work together to re-make, re-build and re-invent Detroit, it is about time that we all do it and work at it together.