LA Daily News: Californians rising to challenge of fixing their state
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Daily News.
By, Tim Draper
In response to the many problems that have plagued California, last year I proposed the Six Californias initiative to allow people to be closer to the government that serves them. Some people liked the idea and others didn’t. But it got people, including myself, thinking about other ways to improve California.
In fact, so many of the people I talked to had their own ideas for how to innovate our great state that we decided to launch a contest called the “Fix California Challenge.”
The Fix California Challenge calls on Californians to collaborate and come up with ideas that will transform our state. The thinking is that if you have an idea that is better than Six Californias, I want to hear it. If you bring your idea to me via www.FixCal.org, we’ll take a look at it and maybe we can get it on the ballot.
When I proposed Six Californias, I did so because I wanted to fundamentally transform the system and force real change so we could have a government that really serves its people, a government that anticipates and prepares well for the future.
That’s also exactly what we’re looking for in ideas for the Fix California Challenge. We have a government that is stuck in the past and it has become clear that we simply cannot rely on our current system in Sacramento to solve our problems. We need a government that is as forward-looking as the people it serves.
As a venture capitalist, I see innovative ideas and solutions every day, and I recognize that we get most of our ideas when people come together and collaborate. This works in business and technology, and government should be no different, but it is.
California is the world’s seventh largest economy. We are rich in diverse communities, and we have enormous economic engines in technology, media, entertainment, tourism, energy and more. We can create a California where everyone benefits from everything it has to offer, but first we have to fix some of the problems that are innately structural.
Thus far, we have had a great response to the Fix California Challenge. We have received more than 300 idea submissions. We are starting to see some very creative ideas. Californians know we need to fix this state and the ideas run the gamut; from thoughts on innovating our infrastructure to reforming government processes as they relate to businesses to ideas on California’s water crisis.
An analysis of the ideas submitted to date shows that 42 percent of all ideas discuss ways to increase representation and improve the legislative process. Ideas on improving representation are the most submitted for the Fix California Challenge.
Twenty-two percent of all ideas submitted deal with innovating California’s infrastructure or improving California’s water systems and policies. From roadways and waterways to bullet trains and public transportation, it is clear that there are a variety of infrastructure projects that could benefit from new thinking. The drought that has resulted in a state of emergency and local rationing has no doubt influenced innovative thinking on solutions including a crowd-sourced convening on water.
Fourteen percent of the ideas mention ways to improve California through business. Business reform and civic tech ideas have been trending and Californians are really thinking outside of the box on topics that improve government processes.
In addition to being one of Fix California’s core principles, 10 percent of the ideas that have been pitched are related to improving education outcomes.
As someone who invested in many transformative businesses that started from the gem of an idea, like Skype, Hotmail and Tesla, I recognize we are a state built by innovators and sustained by entrepreneurs.
Californians are already stepping up to innovate their State and we invite more to collaborate with each other to come up with ideas to Fix California. The deadline for submissions is June 30 and you can submit your idea by visiting www.FixCal.org.
Tim Draper is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.