For Release Saturday, March 10, 2012
MADISON — There are COWS in the Sewell Social Science building on the campus of the University of Wisconsin here. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise, given Wisconsin’s reputation as “America’s Dairyland.” But it’s not the kind of cows you would expect. COWS is an acronym for the “Center On Wisconsin Strategy.” For the past 20 years it has been an epicenter for promoting and disseminating “high road” solutions to a wide array of social, economic, and environmental problems.
The idea behind “high road” solutions is based on a set of values — a focus on equity, sustainability, and democracy. And closely allied, implementation strategies to improve the efficiency and productivity of government. It is about creating “an appropriate infrastructure for a progressive economy,” says Joel Rogers, COWS Director. “People have lost faith in government and our democratic institutions. Part of what COWS does is focus on inventories and benchmarks and then help to find ways to reduce waste, add value, and then capture and share the benefits for all. We are a think-and-do tank.”
COWS has a variety of programs that address topics such as improving job quality, promoting innovation in clean and efficient energy, and providing progressive policy options to state governments and their DOTs. One program that is getting increasing attention and having a growing impact is the Mayors Innovation Project (MIP).