As you know, in the development consulting field today, two worlds come together to deliver most projects:The core team of the consulting firm that is accountable to the client, and a disconnected hub-and-spoke network of independent consultants, many of whom are affiliated to academic institutions.
Independent consultants have the opportunity of re-engineering the hub-and-spoke network into an inter-connected learning community.
That I believe from personal experience. By collaborating with other independent consultants I have been able to manage larger projects and deliver higher quality work to our clients.
I have seen first hand how synergies emerge through collaboration. Many of you no doubt resonate with that.
As a collaborative team we have better chances of finding work - with each of us on the lookout for opportunities for one another - and together we are able to bid more often on larger and more challenging projects.
This should come as no surprise to people working a full-time job in a traditional consultancy, where all projects are won and delivered through team work.
But collaboration alone is not enough.
Employed consultants also enjoy the kudos of their shared brand name, and the scale of their organization, which offers them a big boost when bidding on projects.
Without our own branded organization, the brand and scale we generate as independent consultants goes almost entirely to the consultancy managing the project.
So why work independently?
As independent consultants we enjoy our freedom from corporate constraints and usually earn much more per day than our counter-parts in full-time jobs.
The challenges are to regularly win projects, to meet bidding requirements of larger projects without the backing of an organization, and to find the time to bid on the next project.
How can independent consultants maintain independence and freedom from corporate constraints and develop a shared brand while increasing the flow and size of projects we work on?
How can we gain not just personal equity (reputation/contacts) but also:
brand equity (the value of a reputable brand), and
organisational capacity (financial standing, registration/licenses, economies of scale and other bidding and proposal requirements)?
These are the questions that led us to co-develop UrbanEmerge:
UrbanEmerge is a self-managed development consultancy designed to offer independent consultants the opportunities enjoyed by full-time consultants (access to more and larger projects), while maintaining our freedom and independence (from corporate hierarchy and control).
This I believe we can achieve by:
Leveraging new technologies for sharing, matching and collaborating, and
by replacing a management hierarchy with distributed leadership.
By collaborating on an enabling platform, UrbanEmerge offers independent consultants the opportunity to strategically team up with other independent consultants and partner organizations (such as boutique consulting practices), and co-bid on projects.
Together we can manage larger and more challenging projects for a range of clients including traditional consultancies, multi-lateral organizations, government organizations, private-sector companies, business & civic associations and non-profit organizations.
Collaboration ensures opportunities and ideas are widely shared, fluid teams are strategically formed on a project-by-project basis, consultants focus on their core competencies across several projects, and together we form a learning community with a shared purpose of making the world a better place.
But how do we maintain our quality standards as we grow?
To maintain quality control our network is highly-selective. Quality is assured through rigorous selection of reputable and experienced lead consultants.
Are you an experienced i