The BIG Idea


What is the big idea, and why should anyone care about it?

Lava tube cave near Kalahuipuaa

Sunday May 5th, we had a workshop with Neil Hannahs of Ho’okele Strategies. Having worked as the head of Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division for many years, Neil is very familiar with big ideas in agriculture. In this workshop he shared with the ALP class some tools for thinking big picture. The challenge he presented was a thought exercise that encouraged us to think about the issues that are most critical for Hawaii agriculture today.

The premise: the governor has issued the goal of doubling the local production of food by 2030, you are a candidate for appointment as chair of the Department of Agriculture. How will you achieve the goal?

We broke out into groups and set to the task of developing a strategy to achieve the governors goal. We were given a tool to develop our ideas. The tool is the Social Lean Canvass and is an adaptation of the Business Model Canvass. Using this framework we began collectively generating ideas and concepts around our “theory of change” and “value proposition”. After a brief share back to the whole group and giving each other feed back we dug back into the work of creating a polishing and presenting our strategy for the governor.

While it was a theoretical exercise I heard many great ideas from my class mates on how to increase our local food production. Collectively everyones ideas targeted critical pain points for agribusiness in Hawaii and sought to alleviate these through collaboration, resource development for farmers and investment in education around farming. It was amazing to see what we were able to come up with in the course of a few hours.

The real big idea came when we were doing our post workshop debrief of the Seminar as a whole. We realized that it is up to us as individuals and as a group to find ways to lead our state and our peers towards a better future for Hawaii Ag.

At the close of seminar 6, we look forward to the next journey which will take us to Washington DC and Massachusetts. I hope that our class will continue to learn from and strengthen each other so that we may be eloquent and effective at presenting some big ideas for Hawaii Ag to our representatives on the mainland.