A recent post, "The Business Model to Downsize Government", talked about how the private sector could lead social change. I wanted to come back to this theme when I had more evidence than some research from HBS. I now have several confirmations that show that Tulane University was the local leader in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Wilma. Local government was apparently so corrupt and inept that a group of people, including the leadership at Tulane, took into their own hands to plan and execute a recovery.
Perhaps we have a data point where the private sector addressed and solved a large, complex social problem.
Also, interesting to note that one of the multiple networks of Tulane University (the Trustees) engaged in the project and then energized the other networks to support. Successful organizations have multiple effective networks, but it only takes one network to capture the attention of the other networks and bring to bear the full resources of the organization.A reader wrote to correct me. The hurricane was Katrina.