September 17, 2013 05:00 ET

Solution Revolution Bridges Gap Between What Citizens Want and What Governments Can Provide

New book by Deloitte public sector leaders shows how today's pressing societal problems are being solved by cooperation and collaboration among citizens, social enterprises, business and government

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 17, 2013) - A form of collaborative problem solving to tackle some of society's most difficult challenges helps fill a void created as governments around the world find it increasingly difficult to fund solutions on their own, according to a new book by two Deloitte public sector leaders released today. While this rapidly expanding ecosystem of creative problem solving is quite advanced in countries such as the United Kingdom, it's still in its early stages in Canada as a result of several obstacles that need to be overcome.

The Solution Revolution: How Business, Government and Social Enterprises Are Teaming Up to Solve Society's Toughest Problems is written by Paul Macmillan, Global Industry Leader for the Public Sector practice for Deloitte, and William D. Eggers, Deloitte's Global Research Leader for the Public Sector practice. The pair spent two years meeting with business, government and not-for-profit leaders around the world to learn how these apparently unlikely partners are working together to solve seemingly intractable problems. The Solution Revolution looks at some of the more innovative and successful initiatives globally and provides a framework and roadmap on how non-government entities can play a key role in addressing societal problems such as the rising cost of health care, road congestion and education, and how government can enable and facilitate this change.

"While government's capacity and resources to solve society's most important problems may be relatively finite, the needs and wants of citizens are not," says Macmillan. "Canadians could benefit greatly from the expanding markets around societal problem solving, but only if governments at all levels adopt appropriate strategies to remove some of the barriers in Canada, including a challenging legislative and regulatory environment, government bureaucracy and limited market infrastructure."

The Solution Revolution shows how the global move away from government-only solutions is more than just altruism as these collaborative ecosystems turn social problems into market opportunities that businesses small and large can tap for growth and social benefit. It also explains how this unguided, organic and unstructured phenomenon is organized and how markets spring up around solving societal problems in much the same way that an economy is structured around exchanges.

"There is a multi-billion-dollar Solution Economy that is already inspiring a spring of innovation," says Eggers. "The challenge for governments will be to decide whether to enable, embrace, regulate or just get out of the way of this new breed of problem solvers."

The Solution Revolution is published by Harvard Business Review Press and is also available as an e-book.

About Deloitte Canada

Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte operates in Quebec as Deloitte s.e.n.c.r.l., a Quebec limited liability partnership.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

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