Our Opinion: BIGS picture includes initiative to create process

Let’s narrow the focus on the BIGS picture.

BIGS is an acronym for Birthday, Initiatives, Growth and Structure — four task forces created by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Three of those task forces will focus on internal issues: Birthday will plan a celebration of the chamber’s 120th anniversary this year; growth will implement a membership recruitment and retention plan; and structure will review chamber committees and programs.

The Initiatives task force will look outward. As defined in the March issue “Chamber Today,” a publication included in Monday’s News Tribune, the group’s purpose is: “Develop a structure (either in place or new) to promote a focused number of community and economic development initiatives.”

Is this Transformation Part II?

Hardly.

(Transformation, readers will recall, was the sales tax proposal for specified economic development projects. It was rejected by voters last year).

Process, not product, is the goal of the task force, according to Janet Weckenborg, a chamber board member who serves as Initiatives co-chair and vice president of operations for Capital Region Medical Center.

“Although some good ideas came from Transformation, it didn’t give us an ongoing procedure to move good ideas forward,” she said.

“As a chamber, we are focused on economic vitality, but ideas also deal with social interaction and a sense of community,” Weckenborg said. “Our task force is looking at creating and sustaining a structure that will help solicit good ideas and move them through the discernment process.”

Worthy concepts would be advanced to the appropriate entity, which could be the city, county, school district, chamber or some combination.

Also in the chamber’s March issue, Board Chairman Joe Scheppers wrote: “Soon the groups will expand their ranks to include additional chamber members and interested area residents. As more people join in the process, more ideas will flow through the groups, boosting the potential for progress.”

We encourage area residents to be part of the process.

Contributing to the process is much more productive than criticizing the result.

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