What PPP can learn from Tough Mudder
Yes! Tough Mudder will come to the Philippines this year, the first in this part of the world. This July and November, TM will be offering to the growing Filipino community of obstacle-sports enthusiasts its mud run
Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation, the national sports association on obstacle sports, defines the sport as one in which a participant or competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges that are in the form of obstacles.
Being a public-private partnership (PPP) advocate and an active obstacle sports enthusiast, this columnist cannot help but compare the vision and values of PPP and TM. Previously, he wrote about Traversing PPPs is like a Spartan Race. Aroo!!! right after he joined his first obstacle course race in September 2016.
PPPs and TMs are the same in at least five dimensions.
(1) Shared Vision. PPPs and TM aim to have better quality of life. In PPPs, all projects have this as its true north. Government projects, undertaken with private-sector proponents (PSPs), are all geared for the people. For its part, TM wants to “grow” the “Mudder Nation into a Global Tribe that lives courage, personal accomplishment, teamwork and fun.” All these partake of better quality of life.
(2) Toughness needed. To hurdle political, social, economic, environmental and spatial obstacles in PPPs, resiliency is needed. PPP projects that may last for 50 years must be future-proofed so that the avowed vision of PPPs is achieved. For mudders (and mudders-to-be), one must be tough or must train to be tough.
(3) “Tougher together.” “The strength of one person is nothing compared to the power of a team.” Seemingly insurmountable obstacles—Everest, Pyramid Scheme, Berlin Walls, Electroshock Therapy and Ladder to Hell, to name a few—become surmountable with mudders helping mudders. TM obstacles are designed to encouraged group participation and camaraderie. One needs others to complete the course. This is also the very essence of PPPs. The government/implementing agency (IA) and PSP need each other to reach the finish line.
(4) Innovation also. The very names of the obstacles—like Block Ness Monster and Skid Marked(obstacles you will witness, better yet, conquer with others, this year)
denote creativity with a purpose. Notably, the ideation of TM obstacles is not within the sole purview of TM owners. TM solicits and rewards ideas submitted by mudders. Innovation is also a hallmark of PPPs. PPP by itself is an innovation. The IA and PSP themselves must likewise innovate, and think and work outside the box.
(5) Challenge, not a race. One of the matters emphasized during the launch of TM Philippines was the nature of TM, i.e., TM challenge series, which are untimed events, and are not about getting ahead, competing against other racers and leaving others behind. TM 5k, Half and Full are social challenges where the end goal is finishing together. For PPPs, the IA and PSP are partners, not competitors, working toward the shared vision.
Let us all be part of that Global Tribe of partnerships, teamwork and fun. See you in July. Let us get muddy together.