At the top of our site today you’ll find an eloquent call to action by Pierre Omidyar, the founder, publisher and CEO of Honolulu Civil Beat.

Simply put, it’s time to have a conversation about the future. The pandemic if nothing else has exposed critical flaws in Hawaii’s economic structure, our government and leadership structure and even our social structure.

We need to do better. And we hope our new IDEAS section will be the forum for as robust a debate as this state has seen in a long time.

The new Essays section will showcase smart ideas about the future of Hawaii, from the state’s sharpest thinkers. We will be working with people from every sector to offer commentary that stretches our collective thinking about a problem or an issue. We need new ideas and solid suggestions for how to implement them.

But most important: how do we do things differently, or better? Hawaii has long had big dreamers and innovative proposals. But too many great ideas end up gathering dust on shelves, the final resting place for blue-ribbon commission reports and collections of academic essays.

If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change written on a paper. Blurred vintage styled background.

Our hope is to use our digital space to keep the best ideas alive, including hosting community discussions (virtually as we’ve been doing lately), with online chats and other engagement forums. We want to seize this moment and keep it going — whether putting forth creative new ideas or dusting off the solutions that we’ve been wrestling with for years.

The IDEAS section is also where you’ll find all of our opinion coverage — our columnists, our own editorials and Community Voices. You’ll see the articles all have a different look now, as we strive to differentiate our opinion content from our news stories even more clearly.

We’re excited to be at the center of a discussion about Hawaii’s future. As Pierre notes in his piece introducing the new section, it’s in many ways what he envisioned for Civil Beat when we launched 10 years ago. The ultimate town square, a marketplace of ideas.

We hope you will join the conversation and contribute your ideas for the future of our island state. More importantly, help us keep it going, hold our leaders accountable and bring about positive change through all means of civic engagement. There’s too much at stake to settle for the status quo.

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