I have always been fascinated by innovation. It is what America was built on, has helped keep America strong, and I believe is where our strength in the future lies. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology and seek to add my own innovations.
For me, and I believe for many others, that was one of the things that made the 2004 Presidential cycle so exciting. There were great innovations in the use of the Internet. What was most important about those innovations is that everyone was invited to help innovate.
At the 2006 Personal Democracy Forum, one of the great, unanswered questions was, what will be the breakthrough technological innovation of the 2008 Presidential cycle. No one had a compelling answer. At the Media in Transition conference as well as at Personal Democracy Forum this year, I found myself talking with many people about the 2008 Presidential cycle. There was a sense of disappointment that isn’t any great innovation going on.
Instead, people are building their blogs, social networks and email lists. They are repeating what was innovative and successful in 2004 but no longer is innovative. They are adding videos, which were hot in 2006, but are not all that innovative anymore. More significantly, there isn’t that sense of being invited in, the way we were in 2004. The ask for help at the end of a pitch has reverted back to an ask for cash. New ideas on how we can change politics isn’t be asked for anymore.
At Personal Democracy Forum, Tom Friedman repeated an important line, “Whatever can be done, will be done, and the question is, will it be done by you, or to you.”
So, it is time to rally the grassroots innovators. We need to get involved and work on changing politics in our country. We need to ask the campaigns, will you issue an innovation invitation? Do you want us to do it with you, or to you?