Open innovation is a very promising way of organizing creative problem solving. OpenIDEO and other initiatives have shown the impact that the wisdom of crowds can have in finding workable solutions for new and difficult problems.
But to truly make a sustainable impact on society, open innovation has to become second nature to a lot of people, with different views and backgrounds, who should all contribute to improving our world. And as Nelson Mandela already pointed out: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
And education is already changing; there's much discussion on what education should should focus on now that the world seems to change at such a high pace. Topics like 21st century skills and lifelong learning indicate how required knowledge and skills are already changing, and will keep on changing at that same high pace.
And so there is room and demand for new paradigms in education. If school can't tell us what the future might look like, then at least it should teach us how to deal with change. And open innovation should be part of that teaching, because adapting is easier when you can work together.
There are promising signs for open innovation in the current discussion on education; design thinking is becoming an integral part of the 21st century skills, initiatives like www.challengebasedlearning.org offer new perspectives on teaching for a changing world and a recent project at Stanford University even offered a very interesting peek into the future of higher education: in a scenario study called Stanford 2025, students invented purpose learning (http://www.stanford2025.com/purpose-learning/) to replace degree learning in the future.
So let's start teaching open innovation. Because we'll need all the innovators we can get.