The Toronto Star declared 2014 the "Year of the Idea." But we can't keep turning to the same sources for innovation. We can't keep having the same debates about the same questions. It's time to think outside the box and turn to unexpected sources for new ideas.
Which Political Leader is the only one who can beat the other guy and single-handedly heal our community? Exactly - but that's how we're sold our politicians, isn't it? More and more resources are being spent in promoting people at the top of a given silo while at the same time, competing organizations keep taking pot-shots at each other's foundations. Meanwhile, closed internal cultures are coming into conflict with social media and the emergence of Open Data and a newfound appetite for real accountability.
The Star's idea isn't new. Versions of it have already manifested with Samara's Everyday political citizen project; from a different angle, organizations like Maytree with their non-partisan GOTV training and civic engagement groups like Why Should I Care are seeking to open up information, access and the confidence to reach out and lead from the front within non-traditional political/policy actors.
In other words, empowering everyday citizens to become hidden experts.
These are exactly the sorts of people the catalysts of the Open Government/Open Data movement are looking to partner with and co-design processes and platforms with, using techniques and methodologies like those of Swerhun and Exhibit Change.
Open Data for a Responsible Society consisting of engaged citizens. There isn't anything revolutionary about this idea, but it is good to hear it coming around again.