|Before discarding valuable work on
active projects, whether or not the plans were implemented, please consider the
option of "recycling" useful knowledge through GDI Solutions so that others
may benefit through our shared knowledge base. You may also be the beneficiary of such knowledge
For example, as executives evaluate competing
business locations or service providers, they develop knowledge which might
be very helpful to others so each investor doesn't have to "reinvent the wheel".
Some research may be proprietary, whether to the company or professional
advisors who performed the research work, but some can be shared. Even
if details cannot be shared openly, it may be possible to identify the
existence and scope of such knowledge, and who to contact.
Similarly, area representatives and service providers can
benefit from shared knowledge to the extent that valuable "lessons learned",
timely information, and useful contacts can be separated from any of their
confidential or proprietary work among investors.
For Corporate Executives
Even the largest companies may not have an organized
"debriefing" or "knowledge management" process to enhance the "institutional
memory" about the "lessons learned" or valuable information
which were identified through the project planning process.
Another complicating factor is that major investment
projects may be fairly infrequent in a company, particularly within a single
business division or location. This increases the tendency to think of
each project as a unique event, rather than as a process which develops some
highly valuable knowledge which should be preserved, or as a process which
might benefit from the knowledge shared by others.
The executives who work on the plans for a
project in one location may never again face that task, while other
executives working in the same company on other projects may not even know much about prior
projects, or who was involved, or how key issues were addressed.
Frequently, the executives who took key decisions may have already left the
company, or their memory about the process may be limited, and any records
about their work may have been destroyed.
An external, shared knowledge management process
GDI Solutions can provide an external
solution to the challenge of developing and managing such a shared knowledgebase
about work in this niche.
As part of the ongoing working relationship with key executives at
participating companies, the assigned relationship leader can help to document the "lessons learned" and
separate what can be shared externally from any knowledge which is deemed by
the responsible executives to be
proprietary or confidential.
This means that such knowledge can be shared in the future
within the company, as well as externally as appropriate. Project planners at the company can expect to
benefit from similar initiatives among peers at other corporate participants in the services of
In this manner, valuable knowledge can be shared rather than discarded as the work on project plans
Whether or not a particular project is ever implemented, there may be very
valuable knowledge which was developed throughout the planning process.
The best time to capture such knowledge is during the actual planning work,
rather than through interviews or research work afterwards. The
relationship leader is in a good position to do this, and to also apply
judgment about knowledge which is new and potentially valuable to share with
others in the future, because that is the focus of our work.
Over time, this process makes it possible for all
participating companies to benefit from the shared experience of all the
companies which choose to share such knowledge. This complements other
feedback processes, from the structured research work of the GUIDE
Experience Reports to the more informal feedback through working
relationships or the sharing of "lessons learned" and "proven solutions" as
explained in another section.
Sharing knowledge developed with other types of participants
GDI Solutions is also able to develop related
knowledge through the support of project plans among professional service
providers and area representatives, limited once again by the extent to
which they are willing to share knowledge of a non-confidential or
non-proprietary nature as a quid pro quo for being the beneficiary of such
Aside from sharing the non-proprietary knowledge gained
from project research work, such as to address particular planning issues,
corporate executives can also benefit by sharing their experiences with
specific service providers or area representatives, whether through informal
feedback or the more formal process of interviews for the GUIDE Experience
Reports. This, in turn, makes it easier for all such corporate
participants to benefit from greater knowledge about relevant services
whenever they are needed.
Networking among peers
Finally, as explained further in the section on Referrals
from corporate executives to corporate executives, participants may
encounter peers in other divisions of the company, or in other companies,
who have project responsibilities and are not yet aware of GDI Solutions or
the support services which can be introduced.
Without the need to share any sensitive knowledge about
the specific project plans of such peers, participating executives can either
suggest that they look into GDI Solutions, or can suggest who we should call
to introduce ourselves.
This process can help GDI Solutions to rapidly develop a
far more valuable service and a much larger network of corporate executives
with responsibilities for direct investment project decisions, which should benefit all
such participants. As more companies, executives, and major investment
project plans are supported, there will be more useful knowledge to be
Helping the "invisible hand" in the pursuit of self-interests
The growth of the network of corporate relationships also obviously reinforces the attraction of the entire process
for the participants who are funding these free services for corporate
Supply is eager to meet Demand, and vice versa.
It should be in the interest of all the professional service providers
and area representatives for GDI Solutions to work together with them to develop
independent, ongoing support relationships
among as many executives as possible so that their own services can be
introduced quickly and easily whenever they may be relevant to the needs of
such executives. A more efficient marketplace should become the
"rising tide which raises all boats". Their participation creates such
The "recycling" of project knowledge therefore combines
with other aspects of the referrals process and the relationship development
research work of GDI Solutions to greatly enhance the value which can be
delivered to corporate executives and all other participants.
take some time and a lot of cooperation among many participants to fully develop,
but if successful it should transform the process of planning major direct
investment projects worldwide.
The vision is to turn the global economic development profession into an
effective "one stop shop" as a global network through which any executive
can, through contact with any point in the network, anywhere in the world,
be connected quickly and easily to other relevant contacts so that
investment decisions develop faster and better.
At the local level, such
professionals already maintain contact with leading companies and the top
executives in their areas. They may have difficulty getting in the
door elsewhere, but they are in a good position to be very helpful to top
executives within their own area of responsibility. That creates the
potential for mutual benefit in areas all over the world by working together
at the local level.
That's "Corporate Development for a Networked World",
for investment "From Anywhere, To Anywhere".
|For Area Representatives
Thousands of economic development organizations invest
heavily in marketing activities each year to try to identify and reach the
executives responsible for major projects on a timely basis and compete for
Unfortunately, even if an area reaches a final "short list" of perhaps
five competing locations, that still means 80% of those organizations which
are doing a lot of hard work to try to win the project are eventually going
to be disappointed. Many compete, but few are chosen, and some
apparently good "leads" never turn into real projects for anyone.
Of course, those who didn't even reach the "short list", or perhaps even
get onto the initial "long list" for a relevant project, are even more
disappointed by the return on their marketing efforts and investments.
In short, finding "hot" prospects for investment in one location with
limited marketing resources is a daunting challenge. It is the
proverbial search for a needle in a haystack, or indeed a world full of
Nobody expects area representatives to share "hot" project
leads which they have found through their marketing investments, and still
believe they might be able to win for their location. Even though we
might be able to introduce additional non-competing services or useful
information to help the area to better serve the investor, the reality is that few participants are
likely to share their own "hot" project leads. They are too
rare and valuable.
The 99% solution : unleashing high value in all "qualified leads"
On the other hand, perhaps as much as 99% of the qualified "real project" leads identified through
the marketing efforts for an area turn out, at some point in the subsequent
follow-up process, to not be viable for the area to "win", for whatever
GDI Solutions may still be able to add high value for those
executives after the area is no longer a contender for the project.
The company may need professional help evaluating the preferred locations,
or developing some aspects of their plans, or implementing the project.
In short, we can still make good use of a
real project "lead" after it would be discarded by others who know
it is no longer relevant to their own capabilities. Somebody else can
perhaps still help that investor.
In effect, imagine the potential impact of sharing the
knowledge which thousands of professionals spending millions of dollars in
marketing investments develop each year. Instead of discarding 99% of such
work because the qualified leads don't eventually turn out to be a match for
their specific location or service, 100% of the real projects which are
identified can potentially be introduced to the capabilities of other people
who can professionally help executives to do what they want.
This changes everything : leveraging sunk marketing costs
Think about the above section for a moment. Imagine the potential
impact on the direct investment world if every real investor can be quickly
and easily introduced to the people they want to meet. It turns the
entire economic development profession into a "one stop shop", though which
contact with any participant in this process, anywhere in the world, can
help an executive find what is sought, quickly and easily.
In short, the "sunk cost" of hard work and marketing investments to
develop leads which don't prove to be real prospects for the area can be
recycled into a very high value service for every such contact. You
may not be able to help them in your area, but you can help them to find
what they are seeking, and develop their project faster and better, without
doing any more work than pointing them in our direction. That can
create a lot of good will and high value among investors, and demonstrates
the potential value of participation. After all, you may
similarly be the beneficiary of a lead which somebody else abandons.
Whether the "hit rate" for your marketing program is 1% or 10% or any
other level, it certainly isn't anywhere close to 100%. Think about
the combined marketing investment and "reach" of all participants. Now
consider the potential value, and good will, generated by helping the
executives behind every qualified project lead to quickly and easily find
whatever they are seeking, anywhere in the world. That, after all, is
our mission. There is obviously potential to work together to achieve
dramatic efficiencies for the benefit of all participants in this process.
How it works : a very simple and professional referral process
There are obviously constraints on the sharing of any
information about project plans which a company has provided in confidence, but
there are still three viable alternative ways to "recycle" such project leads.
- Inform the executive about our existence, and how to reach us
- Alert us if the executive expresses interest in our capabilities
- Alert us without necessarily trying to introduce us directly,
and without sharing knowledge which might be deemed confidential
First, you can simply inform the contacts about the existence of
GDI Solutions as a potentially valuable service, thereby helping to preserve
a valued relationship by offering useful advice even though that specific
project has already been "lost" for your purposes. It therefore
remains entirely at the discretion of the executive whether to contact GDI
Solutions or not about supporting the project.
Alternatively, if the executive doesn't object, you can
alert GDI Solutions to the project and the appropriate contact information
without sharing any sensitive details, and we can simply follow-up directly
with the executive. In this manner, it also remains entirely at the
discretion of the executive whether or not to share project details or use
the services of GDI Solutions. Once again, this is a way to reinforce
your own relationship with the executive by trying to be helpful even when a
particular project has been "lost".
Finally, there is also the "anonymous tip". Since
GDI Solutions does extensive marketing work to find project "leads" directly, and
can pick up information about projects from many sources, there is no need
to identify the source of a "tip" to contact a particular executive.
The only constraint is the obvious limitation on the
inappropriate sharing of confidential project knowledge. If we know
who to call, or just know that a company has a project, we can
professionally take it from
there to determine whether the responsible executives may be interested in
the support of GDI Solutions. They can then make their own decisions
about how much information to share about their plans.