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To transform Detroit, public and private sectors need to work together

flickr user Daviddje

The Next Idea

There are many questions about how the public and private sectors can and should work together.

Gabe Klein has had some success on both sides of that equation. He helped ZipCar grow from a small startup to a company known across the nation, and he has had key executive roles in city government in Washington DC and Chicago.

His new book is Startup City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done & Having Fun.

Klein believes there is no time to waste in implementing innovation in our cities for a number of reasons, pointing to our population’s rapid rate of reorganization as well as national and international issues of climate change, equity and safety.

“We have more citizens than we’ve had in a long time living in cities, over 50% of the population,” Klein says. “If your cities don’t feel safe, then families are not going to want to live there again as they did pre-1950s when people fled cities.”

In his book Klein talks about the need for “the new P3,” the “old” being public-private partnership. He suggests that both the public sector, mainly city government, and the corporate and start-up communities have to refocus and realign.

He explains that the old P3 was focused on collaborating to save the government money and to utilize the private sector’s expertise “to run things more efficiently.’

“While I think that’s excellent … the new P3 – focusing on people, planet, and profit – is really crucial,” he says.

Klein tells us that people are very concerned these days with good corporate citizenry, and he sees this as a good opportunity to encourage the private sector to work more for the greater good rather than pure profit.

Klein will be presenting some of his thoughts on the progress made by Detroit tonight at 1 Woodward Ave. at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to all. More information can be found here.

Gabe Klein is an entrepreneur and innovator, the former head of transportation for the cities of Chicago and Washington D.C. and the author of the new book “Startup City.”

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