Process Poised for Greater Good

Guest Correspondence


Business is about strategy.  Michael Porter, the founder of the modern business strategy field, once posited that “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  Indeed, for every decision we make we also, in essence, forgo countless other options by at the same time choosing not to pursue them instead. It is from this vantage point whereby one might most appreciate the work being undertaken by the citizen/community group Bayfront 20:20.

The group made a significant choice not to be exclusionary. What this brought to the process was opposing views, pointed criticisms, contrasting personalities, difficult questions and exponentially more work for those closely devoted to the process. What it resulted in was what many consider to be a wholly unique and unprecedented example of a unified and regionally positive goal for one of the area’s most valuable assets, the City of Sarasota’s coastline. 

The easy approach would have perhaps been to cherry-pick a few moderately to well-known community leaders/activists under the guise of a vetting process. Instead, the group hosted nearly 100 community meetings, ranging in nature from an open-house at a local brewery to a dinner at a local community center. Those involved waded through thousands of suggestions, comments, and revisions in an effort to ensure that the guiding principles were refined and reflective of a multi-generational vision for the next iteration of Sarasota’s iconic history.

The group also made a significant choice not to focus on a single beneficiary. The Bayfront 20:20 question has never been one of what it might do for the arts, or for business, or the tourist, or the resident, or for the job seeker. Rather, the question has been centered on how to maximize the potential that the bayfront holds for all of the subsets of the community who make it what it is.  From a business perspective, it couldn’t make more sense… invest significantly in your most important assets in a way that creates a unique and valuable outcome for everyone involved. 

On February 17, the civic leaders who carry the torch for Bayfront 20:20 will look to the Sarasota City Commission for action or direction on further advancing the efforts of the community collaborative.  Specifically, the group seeks to have the Commission adopt the implementation principles that have emerged from the process. A choice to adopt those principles, and to support the ongoing efforts of the group, would seemingly be in the best interest of the greater community. Choosing not to abandon a fundamentally sound process, choosing not to steer clear of a regionally significant opportunity, choosing not to restrict the maximization of our core assets, choosing not to continue leaving the legacy of Sarasota’s bayfront yet unwritten–these would be an appropriate strategy.

SRQ Daily Columnist Kevin Cooper is the vice president for Public Policy and Sarasota Tomorrow Initiatives for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

« View The Saturday Feb 14, 2015 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

What Will Single Member Districts Really Mean?

Among the litany of issues Sarasota County voters consider this year will be whether to switch to single-member districts when electing county commissioners. It’s fairly easy to see why this inspires sharp partisan divide. Democrats lament no one from the blue team has won a seat on the com

Jacob Ogles | Oct 13, 2018

District 72 Remains Region's Hottest House Race

An unexpected contest and surprising upset this year turned state House District 72 into the center of the political world in February. This November, voters weigh in again, and while the race this time will be one of many in the region, it remains one of the marquis battles in the region.

Jacob Ogles | Sep 22, 2018

Letting Go at Ringling

We have had the great pleasure at Ringling College of Art and Design this past week of welcoming the largest incoming freshman class in the history of our institution. That’s right, over 500 new young people, representing 42 different states and 30 diverse countries, arrived in Sara

Dr. Larry Thompson | Aug 25, 2018

Good and Graham Swinging for Glass Ceiling

As the woman who could become Florida’s first female governor stumped in Sarasota this week, she turned to the region’s biggest Democratic star for a boost. State Rep. Margaret, D-Sarasota, took the stage at the Francis Thursday to throw her personal support behind gubernatorial candi

Jacob Ogles | Jul 28, 2018