SWP successfully replicated and scaled a federally backed, community self-help utility creation and upgrade program targeting underserved communities by creating a public private partnership innovation.
Collaborative partner value creation included an average 55% in total project cost savings while compressing average utility project ideation to infrastructure operation from seven years to less than 18 months.
All stakeholders gained multiples of value and acclerated enduringly positive outcomes for communities.
"This is not duplication of services, but multiplication of results by leveraging all resources..."
– Texas STEP (one of 16 statewide STEP innovation public private partnerships)
Baseline approach: the The Rensselearville Institute provided the STEP methodology for free to each state's government agency administering EPA regulatory programs. TRI gave each state agency dedicated STEP staff for project technical assistance to small communitities unable to fund projects. The STEP methodology produced resoundingly successful pilots, yet failed to create enough regulatory agency enthusiasm for more projects beyond what TRI technical assistance staff could directly support – real time replication and scale remained out of reach.
Innovation gains: SWP shifted TRI value creation focus away from TRI project technical assistance support activities to outcomes and results desired by multiple stakeholder audiences. TRI then attracted multiple, diverse public–private partners (in additoin to initial EPA state regulatory agencies), including businesses, philanthropies and local governments in each state:
Innovation design aligned a multitude of diverse partner's vested interests into focusing on valued outcomes desired from each community utility project.
Outcome clarity activated an ecosystem of project partners modeling unique contributions of needed resources so others could follow and further acclerate statewide replications to national scale and sustainability of the STEP program approach:
More than 600 underserved commuities successfully achieved affordable, high-quality health, financial and household benefits from sustainable utilities across 16 states in less than seven years.
Bonus Innovation: SWP program redesign included shifting the Institute's EPA grant-drawdown revenue for technical assistance give-aways into six-figure, fee-for-service client contracts and an earned income business. This business model innovation generated millions of dollars in annual top-line revenues (supporting over 30% of the Institute's budget) while scaling mission operations and impacts to national significance.
Impact value: Over $100 million in community and government program project cost savings with accelerated public utility creation and upgrades. Hundreds of thousands of residents in poor and rural household communities gained enduringly positive financial affordability, health and social well-being impacts.
Awards: STEP projects earned three state governors' awards (Maryland, Virginia & Texas) and national environmental group impact awards, State government agency partners won several fedral government awards, including EPA and HUD Blue Ribbons for innovative program methods and project results, as well as numerous local government commendations for projects delivering multitudes of highly-valued impacts to their local residents.
Sustainability: STEP public private partnership designs have delivered ongoing benefits to new communities for more than 20 years after Institute exit, as state and local government agency partners continue to apply SWP methods long after TRI staff ceased providing support. TRI also continues to deliver community sparkplug initiatives to improve lives in communities and schools.
Share your positive impact program replication, scale and sustainability challenges below and SWP will help you acclerate progress.