Thursday, May 6, 2010

Search for solutions: Jim Jacks says business as usual doesn’t cut it

Today's special - problem-solving

State Rep. Jim Jacks knows that contemporary problem-solving – serving up a tasty entrée out of today’s menu of unsavory problems – will call for a lot more than sprinkling a trendy tomorrowizer on yesterday’s careworn hash of ideas. It will call for just the right dash of teamwork – and yes, you bet it will call for just the right splash of individual spunk.

As a matter of fact, Jacks has been tapped for a national leadership post with a prominent problem-solving outfit called the Policy Consensus Initiative (PCI). According to its Web site, the PCI works toward “collaborative governance, consensus building, and conflict resolution.” The Clark County lawmaker recently accepted a seat on the PCI National Board of Directors. He said the national leadership position affords him a tremendous opportunity both for contributing to and for learning from the countrywide search for lasting, nonpartisan, real-world solutions to troubles that have long vexed our communities, our states, and our nation.

He agrees that “thinking outside the box” is a very over-used expression. But Jacks said the fact is that we simply must be open to solutions that perhaps don’t fit neatly into our old ways of problem-solving. Business as usual doesn’t cut it. He said he’s excited to join forces with folks who firmly believe that thinking outside the box is what we need if we expect to have any shot at overcoming our challenges.

A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the PCI is dedicated to assisting state and local leaders in developing and pioneering collaborative solutions to problems they face in their communities. Since 1997, it has served as a catalyst and support for leaders who want to harness the power of collaboration to break through outdated governance structures that often hinder innovation in solving public problems. The PCI Board of Directors is co-chaired by two governors – one Democrat and one Republican – and it includes legislators, mayors, and other leaders from 15 states.

The Policy Consensus Initiative assists leaders in convening their fellow citizens from all sectors of society to develop effective, lasting solutions to public problems that go beyond what any sector could achieve on its own. Its Public Solutions System, a model for collaborative governance, has been used successfully by state and local leaders in Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest region as well as in Salt Lake City, California, Colorado, Maine and Virginia. The Solutions System was recognized by Harvard’s Ash Institute as among the top 50 innovations in government in 2008.

Bon appétit!