26 October 2010

Your Input, Our Future. Dream Big!

Filed under News

We just turned two on October 17th and it’s time to look to the future and set our sights by establishing a five year plan. What better way to model our own assertions than by reaching out to the public for guidance? [That means you!]

This post is the first in a series exploring the Open Forum Foundation’s future, present, and past – all within the context of how we should move forward from here. Each post is designed to present a different aspect of who we are, and to elicit conversation about how this can be leveraged as we think about the future of the organization.

On November 13, your input will be used at our annual board of director’s meeting to determine the future of the Open Forum Foundation.

Dream Big

In this first post, I’d like to encourage you to dream big about the relationship between citizens and governments. The bigger, the better!! What is the coolest thing you can imagine? If you were writing a Utopian novel, what would that relationship look like for you? In the best science fiction you’ve ever read, how do the government and citizens relate to one another? Once society has solved all of its problems (I said Dream Big!), how will it work?

I’ve written a couple to get you thinking:

  • Every citizen on the planet deserves a voice in the decisions that impact their life, work, and family. Technology can enable this by connecting citizens not only to their government officials, but also to each other and to the citizens of other countries. This web of interconnectivity will work to empower citizens and ensure that the governments of the world work to protect and improve the lives of their people.
  • In an ideal world, every citizen would have a say in every governmental decision that they have an interest in. This is not to say that they would get to make the decision, but simply that good ideas would always rise to the top, and policies would always fairly balance the needs of the few with the desires of the many.

Come on!! Give us something good!

Part 2 of this series is Tangibles.

8 Replies to Your Input, Our Future. Dream Big!

  1. I had a thought reading your post, and thought if everyone could have a say on an issue that effecting them, maybe there could be some computer algorithm that could be used to locate and define terms that indicated one way over another… so that our voices could be “heard” in a feasible way. I imagine anyone that could develop the capacity for this (like they have developed to track other “terms” online) the concept would be worthy to explore…

    Posted by Kristy Simmons on 26 October 2010 at 2:10pm

    • One term used to describe this capability is “sentiment analysis”. I agree this would be a good starting point, and then deeper discussion would be necessary to understand the reasons behind the opinions.

      I was part of a town hall meeting on the National Mall on Sept 12, 2009 which brought together members of the TEA and progressives. I wasn’t surprised to find that both sides disagreed about the public option in health care, but I was surprised to hear that they both held those opinions because they thought their position would bring about more competition and therefore lower costs. So it’s important to dig into the “why” and not just the “what” so that common ground can be explored.

      It would be fascinating to see something like your suggestion put into place.

      Posted by lucas on 3 November 2010 at 2:11pm

  2. My big dream is actually a small dream. Or maybe a dream of smallness. My dream is that the relationship between people and their government can look more like the town meetings my parents used to attend annually in our small New Hampshire town. A good portion of the town showed up for a day to vote on thing that needed to be voted on. Like stop signs and the school budget and I don’t know what else.

    Maybe technology can give us a way to engage 300 million people in a thoughtful, purposeful way that is about getting something done rather than about calling each other names.

    Posted by Meagen Ryan on 31 October 2010 at 9:10pm

  3. I like Meagen’s dream very much, but I fear that advocating small town-hall like governance will return us to right-wing (read: fear-mongering) politics — wherein the federal government gets cast as an outsider, or an unwanted limb of state governance. I believe in big government, and I believe in the government’s responsibility to take care of its people. So what is my dream? My dream is unrealistic. I’d like a government like Denmark or Sweden, wherein social democracy provides the means for the people to be at the center of any kind of conversation about politics.

    Posted by Shadee Malaklou on 2 November 2010 at 1:11pm

  4. Each of the largest problems that we face as a nation are so complex that it’s nearly impossible for any single institution to make a big difference working alone.

    I’d like to see the modern-day equivalent of the Manhattan Project focused on one of these complex and interdisciplinary issues. It’s not that we don’t have the intelligence to overcome these issues, it’s that we need to find new ways to harness our collective intelligence.

    Maybe we don’t need to bring everyone together in a remote part of New Mexico to solve one of these problems (as with the original Manhattan Project) or maybe we do. But undoubtedly it would be helpful to use technology to engage the public in intelligent ways, and that’s true to the mission of the Open Forum Foundation.

    I wonder, what would a modern-day Manhattan Project look like?

    Posted by lucas on 3 November 2010 at 1:11pm

  5. Pingback: Your Input, Our Future. Tangibles. « Open Forum Foundation

  6. Pingback: Your Input, Our Future. Projects. « Open Forum Foundation

  7. Pingback: Your Input, Our Future. Tangibles. | Open Forum Foundation

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