Fix California Challenge prompts idea for executive education in civic collaboration for public sector

blogimage_Fix Caifornia ChallengeWhile our public leaders face challenges as complex as ever, “this generation of leaders [is] tasked with solving them without the ability to match current needs.” So argues an idea recently submitted to the new and noteworthy Fix California Challenge — an initiative of Innovate Your State that invites individuals and organizations to submit ideas to “reinvigorate the state and renew its greatness.” The proposed solution: As opportunities for collaboration across sectors continue to rise, California should “capitalize on the immense interest in civic collaboration” to launch training for all levels of government in public-private partnerships.

We love this proposal. It aligns with an idea we’ve recently begun to explore: that there is a potential “public sector gap” in the industry of advisory services, training organizations, educational institutions, etc. that support leaders in their work across sectors. As our Executive Director Neil Britto explains, public sector practitioners often tell us they “go it alone,” working to diagnose, design, implement, and evaluate intersector collaborations without the kinds of tools and standard processes that have become commonplace in other areas of public administration — risk management, for example. More than ever, government leaders need training in identifying opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and in navigating the complexities that inevitably accompany those opportunities.

The Fix California Challenge proposal for executive education programs for current public sector leaders in civic collaboration is intended to enable “20th century government [to] effectively scale 21st century solutions.” The proposal argues that the idea could be implemented leveraging current physical, institutional, and relational infrastructure.

  • Leverage existing partners, networks, and facilities by looking to programs that are doing this well across the country (e.g. the Presidio Institute).
  • Engage cutting edge private sector partners who can leverage their own networks of professionals to design certification standards and deliver executive education programs.
  • Apply modules from curricula developed at places such as the Presidio Institute, University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business, Stanford d. School, University of Chicago, and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Design for agility by designing certification standards that address the latest thinking. “Cross-sector, eternally iterative networks can make this a reality.”

The Fix California Challenge is the first in a series of projects to improve state government launched by Innovate Your State, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and encouraging public participation to fundamentally improve government. Innovate Your State “believes that through innovation and collaboration we can find solutions to the governance challenges we face today.”

The Challenge has six guiding principles — transformation, representation, education, accountability, opportunity, and renewal — and calls upon the pioneers and entrepreneurs in California to address issues such as “increasing poverty, poor education systems, and failing infrastructure.”

This proposal unfortunately didn’t make it into the “Stately 16,” but we’re hopeful that executive education programs in civic collaboration for public sector leaders can be implemented in the near future. To learn more about the challenge and Innovate Your State visit or watch this video.