Highlighting a Role Model Community Connection Campaign for the Nation
Making a Difference Pre & Post Covid
In order to reach the 30 million small & local businesses, the Peake Fellowship Network platform integrates the 8,000+ local chambers who together cover every community in the U.S. Moreover, each chamber shares the Peake Fellowship’s mission to provide a one-year program for recent college graduates, returning veterans, and military spouses to develop next generation leadership skills as they coach small & local businesses to succeed in a Networked AI & Big Data-driven world.
Years before Post-COVID, the Fellowship kicked off training with the local communities and chambers around the Blackstone River Valley and the nearby areas going the south to Providence, Rhode Island or going north and west to Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts. This region pioneered America’s first Industrial Revolution, driven by steam, at the end of the 1700s and continued to prosper during the second Industrial Revolution, driven by electricity, at the end of the 1800s. However, the region fell behind during the third Industrial Revolution, driven by computers, in the 1990s. The region had fallen even further back, in the current fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by Networked AI & Big Data. Geographically, this region appears to be relatively close to East Coast tech & venture capital hubs in Kendall Square and Silicon Alley; experientially, communities in the Blackstone Valley have often felt as far away from Cambridge and New York City as they do from Palo Alto and Austin.
The Fellowship Team chose the Blackstone Valley Region to be the role model for a national community connection campaign across the nation’s 8,000 local chambers. This section details the approach and impact of that mobilization role model.
When Post-COVID struck, the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce was already supported by the Peake Fellowship & Peake Fellowship Network platform. The chamber coordinated teams from vocational high schools and other higher ed institutions from four states. Each “closed for COVID” location safely transported their
3D printers to the individual homes where each student or teacher was sheltering in place. The chamber and its member-led team managed all transportation and manufacturing within the bounds of social distancing and other safety protocols. Together they made and distributed more than 20,000 face shields to mitigate the personal protective equipment shortages across Central Massachusetts.
Their response included delivering face shields to address the lack of PPE at the nearby Holyoke Veterans Home, an eldercare facility that suffered more than 75 Post-COVID deaths.
Meanwhile, the chamber ran 24/7 support for each of the member businesses to make
sure they got Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and other financial assistance. The chamber also ran webinars to upskill the members on continuity of operations. Especially for those companies with essential workers, the chamber became a lifeline. Throughout that process, the chamber relied on:
- Lessons learned from the community connection campaign with Fellows over seven annual cycles.
- The Peake Fellowship’s Networked AI & Big Data platform enabling the region to collaborate for the next Industrial Revolution.
- Best practice exchanges with the Blackstone Valley region and U.S. Defense Industrial Base leaders including in-person flag officer visits across the region (e.g., a session with General Darren McDew and Blackstone Valley regional leaders).
Networked AI & Big Data Adult Upskilling As A National Priority
“As a national security issue, the Department of Defense relies on every business in the industrial base to upskill their cyber & physical operations. Doing that successfully requires a deep understanding of new capabilities like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Trusted Transaction Networks. Too often, that understanding is missed, and the latest technologies are seen as shiny objects to be bought and sprinkled around big organizations. But with enough understanding, we can use those systems to transform the underpinnings of how people and technology work together.
We have come to a crossroads where our future depends on each of us in the industrial base upskilling as non-traditional learners. That includes even the smallest businesses. The future depends on inspiring each person’s passion to learn more; then giving them the tools to decide what to learn first given their interests and mission.
The Fellowship Program inspired me to think in a different way about trusted networks and upskilling, sparked my imagination, and got me to act on those ideas.”
— General Darren McDew (ret.), Commander USTRANSCOM 2016-2018, joint distribution process lead for the DoD, Co-Chair Special Committee to Review the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Certification Process.
After starting the Network Partnership with the Blackstone Valley Chamber in 2013, chamber members began to use the Fellowship’s Networked AI & Big Data platform. A specific set of these tools matched each of the 300+ market categories represented in the chamber membership. Those tools broadly divide into Revenue Growers for the for-profits, Support Growers for the nonprofits, and Wellness Growers for the healthcare practices. Fellows used these tools as part of their Best Practices Sessions with more than 1,000 businesses. At each one-on-one session, the Fellow coached a business leader based on that business’s Outreach & Engagement effectiveness as measured by 100 benchmarks per market category.
Making Community Readiness A Standard Operating Procedure
In early 2015, the Fellowship Team and the chamber created a Community Connection Campaign to help prepare for large scale disasters including infectious disease outbreaks. The effort brought together key leaders from across healthcare disciplines starting with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Director of Infectious Diseases who continues to lead the state’s efforts today. The Fellowship drew on Platform Development Team Founding Partner, Dr. Brad Perkins, a career U.S. Health Service Officer who went on to become Chief Strategy Officer for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Specifically, Dr. Perkins helped the Fellowship Team design how the chamber and community health resources can collaborate during disasters.
Meanwhile, Harvard Business School Dean Emeritus & Platform Development Team Founding Partner and Co-Chair for Training John McArthur convened a working group on community healthcare resource mobilization based on his hospital system experience as Founding Co-Chair of Mass General Brigham/Partners Healthcare, the largest private employer in Massachusetts. Platform Development Team Co-Chair for Training Vice Admiral David Brewer joined Dean McArthur at the roundtable based on Admiral Brewer’s experience commanding Navy Hospital Ships during Katrina and his understanding of population health from serving as Superintendent of the Los Angeles public schools.
In conjunction with the Blackstone Valley Chamber, the Healthcare Roundtable team met with a combination of recent graduates from universities and colleges between Worcester and Springfield, the state’s Director of Infectious Diseases, and the CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. Together, they addressed how small & local businesses could collaborate to prepare, respond, and recover from disasters.
Mobilizing Community Commerce & Community Health Resources
|REINVENTED POST-COVID COMMUNITY COMMERCE HUBS THROUGH NETWORKED AI & BIG DATA FOR INNOVATION|
|Local Chambers of Commerce and their equivalents serve as catalysts for:|
|1. Public Libraries that act as information sharing and collaboration spaces.|
|2. Membership-based Coworking Spaces that offer physical and digital services for start-up and business expansion.|
|3. Makerspaces that provide training and equipment for new product and service creation.|
|4. Business Incubators and Venture Capital Firms that facilitate business startups.|
|5. Military Facilities that add tax-funded spending into all nearby communities.|
|6. Healthcare Facilities that function as economic engines for business-to-business innovation in nearby communities.|
|7. Higher Ed Institutions including Independent Training Organizations and Vocational Technical High Schools that support industry and professional preparation.|
|8. Economic Development and Community Improvement Organizations that foster business innovation and collaboration.|
|9. Large Employers that supply funding for joint business development.|
|10. Government Organizations that underwrite funding and other support services for new business development.|
The Peake Fellowship & Peake Fellowship Network platform started in the Blackstone Valley, as it does with any chamber’s community, by providing a simple way to facilitate digital collaboration between every chamber-related organization. The Peake Fellowship’s Networked AI & Big Data platform — which is organized for every neighborhood, town, city, and region of the country — categorizes each organization into one of 1,000+ Community Commerce market categories.
Among all for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations in the Blackstone Valley, the Peake Fellowship focuses on connecting the Community Commerce Innovation Hubs. The Peake Fellowship defines these hubs as network-based organizations connecting multiple businesses to jointly develop new products and services both locally and globally. If these hubs in each U.S. community live up to their Post-COVID potential, they can lead the local recovery and reinvention of Community Commerce nationwide.
The Peake Fellowship specifies ten particular market categories that each naturally fill the function of a hub. Within those ten categories, the Peake Fellowship Network platform clusters and connects all organizations by geography. (See table.) For example, the first of the ten market categories in the cluster of “natural hubs” is Public Libraries. That means the Peake Fellowship considers each branch as a natural Community Commerce Hub for Innovation to be reinvented given that America’s public libraries have always been the country’s “original co-working spaces.”
While the Peake Fellowship Network platform lists chambers and these 10 market categories as natural hubs for innovation, any organization can position itself as a Community Commerce Hub for Innovation regardless of its market category.
The Peake Fellowship Network platform also highlights Community Health Resources as an additional cluster of market categories given their common role in any geography’s Community Commerce growth, since all segments of a community relate to health (e.g., houses of worship, the arts, etc.). However, the Peake Fellowship Network platform specifies 16 market categories as directly making up the standard cluster of Community Health Resources.
Blackstone Valley benefited from the Peake Fellowship Networked AI & Big Data connection of the hundreds of organizations in these innovation hub and Community Health Resource categories. Before the chamber’s Community Connection Campaign with the Peake Fellowship & Peake Fellowship Network platform, the Blackstone Valley often perceived itself as lacking in the resources compared to more affluent communities. With the Program & platform, the Blackstone Valley entered a collaborative process that expanded the chamber’s role as a Community Commerce Innovation Hub.
Blackstone Valley Chamber members led a Community Commerce gap analysis to highlight health-related capabilities that existed and those that were under-engaged.
The process also identified missing capabilities that could be added. For example, the Blackstone Valley lacked any nearby dialysis center, but has recently filled that gap with a new facility championed by the chamber.
As a comparative example, Fellows and university volunteers created similar network was created across the ecosystem surrounding the Harvard teaching hospitals that make up Mass General Brigham/Partners Healthcare. The combined resources within the Blackstone Valley provided a remarkably strong regional
capability set relative to the renowned Mass General Brigham/Partners Healthcare. The joint capabilities of the Blackstone Valley have become increasingly vital as the POST-COVID recovery required an understanding of local resources.
|ENGAGING HEALTH RESOURCE MARKET CATEGORIES IN THE PEAKE FELLOWSHIP’S NETWORKED AI & BIG DATA PLATFORM|
|1. Physicians (293 specialties)|
|2. Hospitals (Hospitals with Emergency Rooms; Hospitals without Emergency Room)|
|3. Ambulance Service Providers (Fire Departments with EMT tag; Ambulance Service Providers with a tag as a Regional EMT; Ambulance Service Providers with a tag as a Private EMT)|
|4. Rehabilitation Centers (Rehabilitation Centers; Substance Abuse Treatment Centers; Alcohol Abuse Treatment Centers; Vocational Rehabilitation Centers)|
|5. Medical Clinics (Medical Clinics; Retail and Urgent Care Clinics – Retail Medical Clinics Urgent Care Centers)|
|6. Health and Personal Retailers (Pharmacies; Opticians – Eyeglass and Contacts Shops; Vitamin and Supplement Stores; Beauty Supply Stores; Medical Supply Retailers)|
|7. Senior and Elder Care (Assisted Living Facilities; Full-nursing Facilities; Home Healthcare Service Providers; Visiting Nurse Service Providers; Hospices)|
|8. Dental Practices (All specialties)|
|9. Fitness and Outdoor Recreation (Gyms; Fitness Class and Instruction Providers; Beaches; Botanical Gardens; Country Clubs; Hiking Areas; Lakes; Nature Preserves; Recreation Centers; Sculpture Gardens; Zoos, Aquariums, and Other Live Animal Exhibits; Outdoor Recreation)|
|10. Alternative Medicine Practices (Alternative Medicine Practices; Chiropractic Practice; Hypnotherapy Practices; Massage Therapy Practices; Acupuncture Practices)|
|11. Public Health (Public Health; Social Services Organizations; Education and Research; Free/Homeless Clinics)|
|12. Behavioral and Mental Health Practices (All specialties)|
|13. Allied Health Practices (All specialties)|
|14. Dialysis Centers, Imaging Centers, Labs, & Specialty Facilities (Dialysis Centers; Medical Laboratories; Infusion Therapy Firms; X-ray Imaging Firms; CT Scan Firms (computed tomography scan); MRI Firms (magnetic resonance imaging);Ultrasound Firms; Nuclear Medicine Imaging Firms)|
|15. Health Insurance Providers (Insurance Firms (Medical); Insurance Firms (Dental)|
|16. Houses of Worship (All faiths and practices)|
Reframing the Next Generation Community Commerce Hub For Innovation
In addition to healthcare, the chamber’s Community Commerce innovation process recognized that the Blackstone Valley’s strength for 200 years had been manufacturing, but there was no concerted, next generation effort on 3D printing and other additive production techniques. Working with the Fellowship Program and local partners, the Blackstone Valley became the first chamber in the country to run its own Makerspace and Education Hub. The Blackstone Valley Chamber co-located the Makerspace and Ed Hub at the chamber headquarters as part of a 24/7 Innovation Center.
To house all of these next generation efforts, the Blackstone Valley Chamber and a chamber member who enrolled as a Fellowship Applied Learning Partner, co-led a renovation of a 19th century mill that was scheduled to be demolished. Today, that mill also serves as the U.S. National Park Service headquarters for the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Students from the Blackstone Valley Vocational Technical High School built out the Makerspace and Ed Hub as part of the $500,000 project. The fully outfitted complex includes 3D printers, welding, and both CNC (computer numerical control) and conventional machine tools with CAD (computer aided design) workstations across multiple classroom/shop areas. Despite the COVID-19 facility shutdowns, the operation continues as an innovation hub running online advanced programs in conjunction with small & local businesses, community colleges, universities, and vocational technical high schools.
Recognizing Small & Local Business Innovation Leaders
Since 2014, these efforts culminated in a retrospective of what the chamber accomplished with the inspiration of Platform Development Team Founding Partner and Advanced Manufacturing Strategy Lead, Evan Malone. At a gathering of the whole Blackstone Valley Chamber, Peake Fellowship Development Team Methodologies Lead Chiderah Okoye emceed a November 2019 celebration of all the chamber had achieved. Platform Development Team Founding Partner Andrea Jung, Platform Development Team Founding Partner Executive Chair Paul Horn, Platform Development Team Founding Partner and Co-Chair for Training Vice Admiral David Brewer, and Platform Development Team Founding Partner & Rollout Strategy Lead Mark Coblitz gave the first Community Commerce Innovation Awards to recognize the pacesetting efforts of the chamber and the members as role models for what will be done nationwide.
“Working with the Fellowship Program has been a revolutionary experience for the Blackstone Valley Chamber. Our Fellows stimulated us to collaborate and develop partnerships that advance the region and the community and encouraged us to become an organization that truly does work every day to live our mission and not just talk about it. And because of Platform Development Team Founding Partner Evan Malone, we were inspired to create the Blackstone Valley Ed Hub which transformed how the whole region responded to COVID-19.”
— Jeannie Hebert, Blackstone Valley Chamber CEO
Community Commerce Pacesetter Awards
|The Fellowship Network platform’s open community exchange recognized the Blackstone Valley Chamber with the Mary S. Peake Community Commerce Innovation Award based on the chamber’s leadership as measured against 100 best practices benchmarked for every chamber across the U.S. In conjunction with the Blackstone Valley Chamber, the Fellowship then awarded a number of the Blackstone Valley businesses with the John McArthur Community Commerce Innovation Award. The Fellowship established the McArthur Award to be given in partnership with U.S. business associations to recognize individual businesses as Community Commerce pacesetters.|
The Mary S. Peake Community Commerce Innovation Award honors local chambers, business associations, and their equivalents nationally which serve as the hubs for leading next generation Applied Learning and Teaching among their member businesses.
The John McArthur Community Commerce Innovation Award honors pacesetting small & local businesses who are role models for the country on Community Commerce best practices.
American teacher and community leader Mary Peake was born in 1823. She illegally taught enslaved African Americans to read under a tree in Hampton, Virginia. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time in the South under that tree which became known as the Emancipation Oak. Through Mary Peake’s pioneering efforts in education, Hampton University grew up from under that tree. The image of the Emancipation Oak on Peake awards signifies how much has been achieved with grassroots resources.
Harvard Business School Dean John McArthur, Platform Team Development Founding Partner and Co-Chair for Training, was legendary for many reasons. One of them was that the Harvard Business School has been there for more than 110 years, and John was there for 62 of them. A quality that made John special was his passion for grassroots innovation. For John, the pivotal learning experience in his life was working in a sawmill at the start of his career, and he always looked for new skills from actual business experience with his sleeves rolled up.
Making a Difference One Organization at a Time
“Thanks to the Blackstone Valley Chamber for connecting us to the Fellowship Program. The Fellows helped me by web conference every step of the way from showing me how to use more of the functions on my iPhone to growing our clients through smarter outreach.
The Fellowship Network platform allowed us to see how much strength we had around the Blackstone Valley. We were able to envision new services with other firms who we should have been working with already, but never would have seen as natural partners without our new insights from the Fellowship Network platform.
Then COVID-19 hit, and I got to understand why all our Central Blackstone Valley’s work on Community Health Resources was so important.“
— Therese DeLongchamp, Director of Elderwood Home Care, specialized elder care provider, Blackstone Valley Chamber member, 2-year Fellowship Applied Learning Partner.
“During Lampin’s seven years of work with the Fellows Service, we’ve been able to get new customers and serve our strategic partners in more sustainably profitable relationships. That began with analyzing which customers and suppliers are most strategic with the help of Big Data and the open community exchange Private Group.
We’ve responded to COVID-19, but we can do even more in the future if we work smarter together. We shouldn’t wait, as a company or as a country, for the next emergency to talk about the essential products and services we can already predict that the country will need. For example, why don’t all of us as local machining companies understand our capacities ahead of time for making essential products for predictable scenarios? That way we would be able to better leverage our capabilities here in the U.S. during a crisis when it’s hard to be dependent on faraway suppliers.“
— Robin LeClaire, President of Lampin Corp., precision component manufacturer, Blackstone Valley Chamber member, 7-Year Fellowship Applied Learning Partner, and 33-year Lampin employee.
Enrolling Applied Learning Partners
More than a quarter of these businesses enrolled in an Applied Learning Partnership with a Fellow after completing their chamber-sponsored, no-cost Best Practice Session. As part of the enrollment, each business pays a $180 set up fee, followed by $6 per day to continue the coaching relationship with a Fellow. On average the businesses “graduate” after ten months of support on their Outreach & Engagement. Once the Fellows introduce the Institute’s other three business tracks: Community Commerce, Operations, and Cybersecurity, the average business graduates after five years. That $6/day service makes the Fellowship model self-sustaining as the Fellowship rolls out 1,400 Fellows nationally.
Although chambers pay nothing for the Network Partnership, they schedule the Best Practice Sessions so that Fellows can focus on serving the membership. Each chamber receives benefits for their next generation growth from the Network Partnership. (See Infobox on the chamber Benefits from the Fellowship Program.)
|10 CHAMBER BENEFITS FROM THE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM|
|1. New Jobs come from two sources: 1. Outstanding college graduates, returning veterans, and military spouses receive a paid Fellowship that creates a new job made possible by the chamber and funded by the Fellowship. 2. Chamber members create jobs based on their net new or saved revenue which is measured as part of the Program.
2. Best Practice Benchmarking Sessions deliver personalized analysis of each business’s social media and other web-based capabilities compared to local leaders in that business’s particular market category. The Fellowship Network platform covers over 1,000 different market categories, and each session ends with essential next steps to improve that presence.
3. Social Media Directory provides a chamber-branded and mobile-friendly listing of all members after each business has completed a Best Practice Benchmarking Session.
4. Person-to-Person Skills Development enables measurable business growth by chamber members’ adoption of cutting-edge capabilities through personalized training and coaching.
5. Staff Support assists the chamber team on the social media channels (including the liking and following of chamber members). This builds on the Fellowship Program and Fellowship Network platform’s role with individual member businesses.
6. Spark Event ignite online community innovation through sessions that build on the local pride in the region’s strengths and engagement of potential community resources for growth.
7. Systemic Innovation Process drive the creation of new products and services jointly developed by its members and facilitated by the Fellow-led services for Outreach & Engagement, Community Commerce, Operations, and Cybersecurity.
8. Community Connection promotes chamber members using social media channels to like and follow each other and the chamber. More importantly, the social media channels help new, joint products and services go to market, get found, and increase chamber member sales.
9. Online Dashboards offer the chamber and its members access to analytics and benchmarking on critical metrics for within Outreach & Engagement, Community Commerce, Operations, and Cybersecurity.
10. New Member Outreach expands brand awareness of the chamber to non-chamber businesses to increase chamber membership.
“A member CEO stood up at the last board meeting and said that the social media training by the chamber’s Fellow was one of the most valuable experiences they had ever had. Since the Best Practice Sessions are customized to each chamber member, the members can get a valuable analysis of their business without paying anything beyond their chamber membership. Then they get an affordable way forward if they need more.”
— Jeannie Hebert, Blackstone Valley Chamber CEO
|FELLOWSHIP NETWORK PLATFORM|
|At a high level, the Fellowship’s Networked AI & Big Data platform promotes collaboration through community expansion of all:
“The model itself — a strategic and tactical partnership with “the local chambers” leveraging community commerce — all in a non-governmental pursuit of innovation, solutions, and success — is a priceless gift to our nation, and indeed the world.”
— General Walt Kross (ret.) Longtime DOD supply chain leader
From the start, the Fellowship intended for the Blackstone Valley and surrounding areas to serve as a national role model for mobilization. In that spirit, the Blackstone Valley Chamber’s CEO co-presented with the Fellowship Platform Development Team’s leadership and Fellows at the national gathering of local chambers in Nashville, Tennessee. the Fellowship’s 50 state rollout builds on field-developed, tested, and continually improved Fellowship Program and Fellowship Network platform modules for mass scale.
The Fellowship and Platform Development Teams engineered both the Program and the platform for a Sustainable & Inclusive Growth-driven approach. Other sections of this document describe the Fellowship Program in more depth. The Fellowship also provides local chambers with separate documentation of the Fellowship Network platform as an open source system with mass accessibility.