President Barack Obama certainly piqued the curiosity of an army of big thinkers with all of his State of the Union Address innovation talk. But talk without action is cheap. As part of the follow through, his team is starting to show us how they plan to realize this new innovative push—through innovative means. For example, The White House has launched an information crowdsourcing initiative called "Advise the Advisor"—focused presently on the needs of small businesses but expanding to other relevant topics in the coming weeks. And they're offering a chance for Fast Company’s readers to chip in. Discussion topics right now include everything from "access to capital" to "workforce developement."
It should be noted that broad crowdsourcing efforts are no easy task: They can be hijacked by partisans who fill up forums with attacks or cluttered up by well-intentioned citizens whose abstract opinions are not entirely informative. Previous experiments, such as a polling of unhelpful business regulations by Congressman Darrell Issa, show that specificity and personal experience are two elements of useful advice. Another great example is the President’s SAVE Award, where citizens reported on government waste that they actually saw in their day-to-day lives.
Senior officials have legions of economists and political experts for the big ideas, but they’re blind to the nuanced ways in which law stymies productivity. More so than most audiences, Fast Company readers are in the trenches of the innovation economy. Help the White House see the problems that effect you every day: click here.
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[Image by Pete Souza]