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participants' responses to this interview.
David Broden, defense
and member of the Civic Caucus interview group
An Interview with
The Civic Caucus
8301 Creekside Circle #920, Bloomington, MN 55437
Notes of the
Verne Johnson (chair), Audrey Clay, Janis Clay,
Paul Gilje (coordinator), Tom Gillespy, Jim Hetland (phone),
(vice-chair), Tim McDonald
Summary of discussion
defense consultant, speaks of the need for a single, integrated state
vision toward which the priorities of both the private sector (business
and non-profits, etc.) and government can be targeted. He reflects on
Civic Caucus interviews of recent years calling for a unified, shared
sense of direction. He suggests a process for establishing a joint
public-private effort to work toward consensus on a vision for the state.
Such a state vision, he contends, must evolve by building on the visions
crafted by individual organizations to provide an integrated focus
and having "ownership" by all citizens. Broden summarized by encouraging
organizations that have worked to define such visions to seek to link
common vision themes to this objective at the state level.
Introduction of speakers
- Dave Broden is president of Broden Resource Solutions LLC, an aerospace
and defense consulting firm specializing in program management, systems
engineering, and advanced technological solutions for a wide array of
defense projects. He is also chairman of the Armament Division of the
National Defense Industrial Association and a member of a Department of
Defense Consortium executive committee. Broden was a program manager and
technical director with Honeywell and Alliant TechSystems for over 38
years. He graduated from
Olaf College and earned a master's degree in Physics and Mathematics from
the University of Minnesota.
past few years the Civic Caucus has frequently discussed the topic of a
vision for the state of
We have questioned both whether there is a well-defined, generally agreed
upon state vision and whether we need one.
a member of the regular interview team of the Civic Caucus, sought to
describe his impression of the thoughts both of past speakers and Caucus
members who have actively participated in the talks that have touched on
outlined his thoughts on a vision for the state in a document that may be
The state does not have a vision.
does not have an official single statement expressing "Minnesota's
Vision" which is shared by public and private organizations to focus
actions and to "sell" the state, Broden said.
today no public expression by state leadership of a state vision or
branding message or advocacy of the need for one. Nor has there been any
apparent action toward conscientiously moving the state in a particular,
clearly defined direction. There is at present no specific effort toward
developing a state vision being undertaken by any entity of the state
government. Broden noted that some state departments do have departmental
objectives or visions and that the private sector is well on the way to
shape independent visions. However, without such an integrated vision, the
state appears to some to have become rudderless in an increasingly
GOAL: The state needs a framework for planning that ensures action
to achieve specific milestones.
viewed as a strategic plan by management gurus today is different from
what it was as recently as 10 years ago. Planning once involved
professional facilitation of a group charged with creating a plan and
producing a document, he said. Then the document would go into a drawer
until it was retrieved the next year and updated.
kind of static planning is no longer accepted, Broden told the group.
Technological changes have caused the way the world interacts to change
substantially. "The world today is both collaborative and dynamic. You may
still have hierarchical leadership, but if the leadership isn't
collaborative you won't have a plan that works." A strategic plan needs
ownership on the part of those who work together to create it and it must
connect to those on whom the plan impacts. The dynamics of change requires
a plan with a core focus but which can be readily adapted to changes in
the economy or other factors.
What a vision should do.
argued that a vision statement must be "owned", that is, accepted in
principle, by stakeholders. This is critical because if the stakeholders
cannot see the value in the vision then there is no value. Note
"stakeholders" includes those implementing the vision and those affected.
should be a clear branding statement, Broden said, from which strategic
plans can be derived. It should have capacity to serve as a basis for
action, a statement from which actionable and measurable directives can
vision should have "hooks" that you can track." The vision should be
defined in a way that allows each related organization (public and
private) to apply the objectives to define specific actions that support
achieving elements of the vision. To be effective those defined actions,
when in process or completed, must have a measurable output that can be
understood by the "owners' and those affected. Achieving this suggests the
need for well thought-out metrics that can be simply tracked and
communicated. "We have to consider both the public vision and the private
vision, and they should be linked in an integral way for optimal results."
a vision statement must be adaptable to today's dynamic public and private
sectors and to the organizations within them.
need for a vision is evolving.
does not have a focused, integrated vision expressed by either the state
government or the private sector. Neither the Governor nor the legislature
has proposed or expressed interest in an effort to establish an official
state vision. And the State Planning Agency, which had once served a
dynamic planning function and might have been a guiding force in such an
effort, was abolished some years ago.
discussions with civic leaders, policy experts and business leaders over
the past two years, the Civic Caucus has observed a growing interest in
the need for a unified public-private integrated state vision, Broden
said. Some have argued that the vision must be specific to an industry
("To be the technical leader") or aspirational to an area of competence
("The Brain Power State"). Some believe that the state has and has always
had an implicit vision ("To be the best in the nation and the world.").
different organizations in
think about the need to redesign work for the "new normal," many
organizations and agencies are evolving visions and strategic plans
independent of a central state focus. But to remain competitive, we must
assure that all with an interest in the state's future are joining forces
in working toward a common purpose. Further, the vision must convey
messages both internal to the state and outward to the nation and to the
rest of the world as globalization and connectivity is a key driver to
has had visions and branding statements in the past.
has had multiple visions or branding statements that have been established
either formally or informally by the public sector, private sector or
examples of past
The best state in the nation
The North Star state
Land of 10,000 lakes
The state that works
The brainpower state
A major league state
The state with the most Fortune 500
Certainly, these labels have been useful to some degree in the past, but
the time has come, Broden believes, to take a purposeful, analytical
approach to determining how a state vision can best serve to move the
What a vision should be.
should project a positive view of Minnesota's future (and of its
government, business, and citizens), Broden said. It should be easily
understood and "owned" by all Minnesotans. It should be equivalent to a
brand. It should enable linking between public and private organizations,
and be adaptable to rapidly changing circumstances.
Why do we need a vision?
"Redesign" has become a popular focus of state and local government.
Similarly "redesign" is being frequently addressed in the private sector
(business and non-profits). But for redesign efforts to evolve most
productively there must be a common sense of direction.
groups are establishing visions of segments of the economy, and
foundations are adjusting their missions with attention to economic and
demographic changes. The state could benefit from the same type of
thoughtful focus. Establishing a vision and key goals may eventually
facilitate more effective communication, stimulate citizen buy-in, and
help to identify specific actions needed to achieve objectives.
Form an integrated, joint public-private commission to develop a vision
and measurable action plan.
needs to inspire public and private leaders to commit to a state vision
and related action plan and then work to build citizen support.
this effort will be branding, and some will be more accurately categorized
as vision," Broden said. "But hopefully if we succeed in tying together
effective branding and vision, we can get rid of the moniker 'the cold
Develop a public/private partnership commission.
first step Broden proposed is to confirm both the needs for and benefits
of a public-private state vision and communicate these findings to both
public and private organizations through a "vision organization" endorsed
and supported by the Governor, legislature, local/county/regional
government units, non-profits, and business. The leadership and
sponsorship of such an effort does not need to be from the public sector.
group would establish the commitment of Minnesota leadership to a common
vision, one that encourages innovative public and private partnerships for
the advancement of state competitiveness. A key component of this effort
would be to utilize the visions that have evolved in various private and
public sectors-it is important to build on the previous work of
organizations, not to begin an entirely new effort.
vision organization would begin and evolve from an initiative to link
multiple organizations from throughout the state to consider a path
in mind that government sponsorship is not required for establishing a
commission, Broden suggested the following avenues be considered:
Leadership by the Governor
Joint leadership by the Governor and
Business or business association
Broad-based citizen involvement and
Involvement of public and private
colleges and universities
for the effort could come from a number of sources, Broden added,
including allocation from the legislature or private donations.
Visions focus attention on the long-term.
of vision, strategy and goals changes the nature of the debate so
policymakers cannot ignore the long-run issues. The short-run issues
become almost trivial in that process. "You are compelled to start doing
something about the problems that are obstacles to the vision. The issues
we face today we would not have faced if we'd had an effective planning
and related action process in place."
added that if the public and private sectors of the state return to
talking about vision then it might make it easier to get the conversation
back onto good government. This approach will benefit both the public and
private sectors by providing common objectives and links that will support
economic development, education, and overall quality of life.
have no idea where you're going, if the top levels of government appear to
be wandering, then it's natural for people to begin to focus narrowly on
self-interests. The value of an integrated vision linking the
public-private sectors is to provide a sense of direction and confidence
to the citizens of Minnesota, a sense that Minnesota has a focus on
opportunities for the future. This can reach to all who "sell" Minnesota
across the US and internationally. Without this vision focus and
well-defined, closely related actions that support that vision, our random
or arbitrary actions send messages of no leadership, no lack of thought
for the future and as a result economic growth becomes considerably more
benefits of an integrated vision for
Minnesota that offers connections to public-private stakeholders across
the state can be significant if effectively evolved by a statewide effort.
The need for a vision is driven in many ways, but perhaps most
significantly by the dynamics of change in all aspects of public and
private organizations. The Minnesota Legislature and several organizations
have recognized the need for "Redesign" of how government delivers
services and obtains necessary revenue. The private sector is adapting
business operations in response to changes in its world. A common vision
offers the opportunity to ensure that both public and private sectors move
in a positive direction. Realizing this capability through a purposeful
coordination of ongoing efforts would be an opportunity for Minnesota to
demonstrate a forward thinking approach that has distinguished this state
in times past.
his experience in the defense industry Broden contends that when people
get people together they can come up with better insights and ideas that
any individuals could come up with on their own. It's time, he believes,
to do that for the state.
chair thanked Mr. Broden for the visit.