Reaching out and tapping into the collective intelligence of the public to solve problems and innovate is a wise move. There is no shortage of ideas and smart brains willing to help.
Here are three examples of how governments have/and are opening up their problems to a diverse set of skills and talents:
Your Country Your Call – this was a major initiative in Ireland in 2010. The government held a contest for ideas to foster economic recovery. It received thousands of entries and selected two concepts it felt had the most potential to deliver jobs and prosperity. One was for a media park to attract global content industries and the other involved the development of green “mega data centers”.
Crowdsourcing a constitution – following the financial crisis of 2008 Iceland decided to rewrite its constitution and invited citizens to share their ideas about what it should contain. The project involved a number of social media platforms.
Challenge.gov– since his first day in office president Barack Obama has promoted open innovation and encouraged citizens to provide their expertise to help the nation solve many of its problems. Challenge.gov is an online challenge platform to address issues in numerous areas including health education, the economy, international affairs, and defense.
There is also the Open Innovator’s Toolkit, a useful guide that provides 20 case studies of how the White House has been trying to stimulate innovation in government.