Open innovation is all about involvement - getting as much concerned people to try and tackle pressing issues. This process of crowdsourcing solutions, using collective intelligence to find answers that no one could have come up with on his own, offers amazing new possibilities through recent technological advancements.
But great demonstrations of harnessing collective intelligence existed before the internet as well, and few of them with the same impact as democracy. A cultural ritual that can make millions of people think about the future of their country, what choices there are to be made and who to trust to make those choices, that's an achievement every open innovation guru can only dream about.
And wouldn't it be a shame if all this collective thinking will keep on boiling down to one simple ballot every couple of years, for all eternity?
So what if we would use technology to make our citizens smart? Not intelligent, like they already are, but connected in a smart way using technology, and as citizens and not just consumers. Imagine liking the best shelter for the homeless in your town just as you like a photo on Facebook? Or suggesting how to solve crime in your neighbourhood, instead of calling the police every week? And what would it be like if you could pick the most urgent topics for the political agenda yourself instead of just choosing a representative you've never met in your life to make the choices for you?
If we treat policy-making and government issues as open innovation challenges, using the power of the democratic institutions than we can use open innovation to make the best choices for a country as a whole and at the same time use democracy for more than just ticking a box on a ballot every couple of years.