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ESADE describes public-private partnership as a ‘symptom of advanced democracy’ with a ‘multiplier effect’

Participants called for a ‘change in the current ideological framework’ to prevent this model becoming ‘ammunition for public debate’ – and called for more investment in a type of public management that is ‘professional and not subject to political changes’

‘Cooperation between public administrations and private companies is more necessary and more difficult than ever’. With these words, Francisco Longo, professor and deputy general director of ESADE, presented the conclusions of the Ninth ESADE Chair of Leadership and Governance Meeting held at Sant Benet Monastery.

After a day of debate and reflection among businessmen and politicians, the attendees agreed that ‘good public-private collaboration’ can produce ‘a multiplier effect’ for creating public value. But Professor Longo warned that the ‘paradigm of mistrust and remoteness’ caused by recent bad practices and corruption must be overcome.

According to ESADE experts participating in the meeting: ‘there is evidence of the success of public-private cooperation that goes beyond the current strongly ideological framework’ and that cooperation models between administrations and companies have become ‘ammunition for public debate’. For this reason, the further development of public-private cooperation needs a ‘risk map’ and, especially, a ‘contingent leadership’ within the public sector.

As well as defending the public-private model, participants called for ‘more professional public administration managers who are selected on talent and merit rather than political affiliation’. The ESADE experts justify public-private cooperation as a ‘symptom of an advanced democracy’ that requires ‘spaces of consensus, and policies of transparency and accountability’.

The discussion also enabled the definition of the profile of the ‘contingent leaders’ needed for the implementation of models of public-private collaboration. The definition includes qualities such as: ‘knowing how to accept that the other side also creates public value’; an ability to ‘create stable spaces of trust’; and a willingness to ‘take calculated risks’.

Some 80 executives, politicians, and representatives of civil society participated in the meeting (including executives from Everis, Volkswagen, IBM, Uber, Fira de Barcelona, ​​Borges, Port de Barcelona, Sellbytel, Bon Preu, and the RACC). Also attending were representatives of the Cercle d'Economia and PIMECn, as well as several politicians (including Artur Mas, Xavier Trias, Lluís Juncà, Marina Geli, and Jaume Collboni).