Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. 3. SC2 Pilot Implementation

08/25/2014

Each SC2 pilot city had a distinct history of growth and decline and faced a unique set of challenges. Cities were at different stages of readiness for change and city leaders and stakeholders varied in their visions for the future. Given this variability, SC2 teams took different approaches to implementing the pilot. Adding to the variability, each pilot city had a unique mix of team members and city leadership. How those partners worked together during the implementation helps explain the level of success the pilot cities achieved. This chapter details the key players in the implementation process, their roles, how activities were selected for the implementation period, how implementation evolved over time, and what was accomplished by the SC2 teams.

Chapter 3 Highlights

  • Within the SC2 teams, the team leads took key roles in understanding city priorities, relaying them to the rest of the SC2 team, and shaping the strategy of team members’ work. They also helped develop relationships between team members and city stakeholders and solved problems where necessary to advance implementation.
  • Pilot city mayors provided varying degrees of leadership during the pilot. Two mayors were very active in setting the vision for SC2 team work and providing leadership throughout the implementation. Two others had a less-clear vision for the pilot but were involved in the day-to-day work of the SC2 teams. The final two were supportive of the engagement but mostly uninvolved in its implementation.
  • In each city, at least one senior city staff served as a liaison between city leadership and the SC2 team.
  • Communication within the SC2 teams largely revolved around the SC2 team lead, who organized meetings and helped individual members communicate with one another. While SC2 team communication with city staff was initially also funneled through the SC2 team lead, team members tended to develop working relationships with individual city staff over time.
  • Cities and SC2 teams began their work together by developing a work plan. The amount of time this took varied by how clearly city leadership had identified priorities for the SC2 team before their deployment.
  • SC2 teams’ projects emerged as team members identified opportunities for partnership and came to better understand city priorities. Conversely, projects were sometimes stopped due to a lack of city involvement or enthusiasm, city and team member staff turnover, or lack of project viability.
  • SC2 teams conducted a wide array of activities in pilot cities. The substantive focus of these activities varied depending on city priorities and the makeup of the SC2 team. SC2 teams achieved many key accomplishments over the course of the evaluation period.
  • At times, political and logistical challenges hindered SC2 teams’ ability to make progress, including limited capacity of city governments, inflexibility on the part of engaged stakeholders, and misalignment of team member expertise with city priorities.

 

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