Radical Ideas Are Dangerous.

WARNING. If you’re not into radical ideas, don’t read this.

It may make you angry and if you start to agree with it you may be labeled a radical thinker. You’ve been warned.

A fair time back we started to notice traditionally corporate ideology applied to government entities. For instance, the branding of regions (Champagne, Fr; Roquefort, Fr) and cities (“Branded Cities” book). This idea makes sense as the economics of a region or city impact its citizens through tourism, trade and general economic development. The principles apply in a rather elegant manner.

Which led us to consider all economic entities from the same perspective. Cities are essentially large organizations with income and expenses, with reputations, leaders and many similarities to a business. Even in the political realm there has been this fight between which is more powerful, business or government entities. Further evidence how similar a government entity (city, county, state, country) is to a business (small, medium, large).

Now, from a values perspective, business has a tendency to put it’s own interests above the greater global good (Enron, Worldcom, Wall Street, etc). Government sometimes favors what it sees as the greater global good to the disadvantage of its citizens (Foreign wars, donations to failing dictators, etc.). So, each type of entity could learn from the other, business doing a little bit more for the greater good and government doing more for the everyday US citizen.

Then we started applying the principles of business to cities and we discovered something worth discussing.

If the City of Minneapolis and the City of St. Paul are two brands, organizations, entities with a fair amount of similarities, why are they still TWO entities? Why do we have two large entities within six minutes of each other with people in the same roles doing the same job each and every day. If these two cities were actually seen as business entities there would be a meeting of the minds (mayors, leaders, presidents, CEOs, etc) and a discussion about an eventual merger. Has anyone ever witnessed cities merging into one larger city?

Why?

Because the new entity would be more efficient. Even if the new entity wasn’t a 1:1 equality and the leadership was required to keep 75% of each workforce, the savings would still be extraordinary. Now, you first reaction might be, “we’d have more people unemployed.” This is true for a while, but eventually they would be reworked into the economy doing things that have a greater economic benefit. Everyday citizens would benefit from a smaller required budget to run the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

So, if you’re getting this, we would like to hear reasons why it wouldn’t work.Give us emotional or rational reasons why. If you like it, can we suggest some names for the new merged city?

[Image] This is our view, from the North Loop. And, this is our view of the world.

Thoughts?