Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Institutional innovation also requires bottom-up involvement



Tomorrow there will be elections in The Netherlands.  You can choose from 21 parties. Will there be some real (needed) change?
As there will not be one party to gain the majority of the votes, there will always has to be a coalition of parties formed. This will be extremely challenging. Out of these 21 parties there will only be 5/6 parties who will deal the cards among themselves. This is really nothing new. We have had these coalitions for many years now, so the expected changes will be rather limited. There will not be a huge change in the political and governmental landscape.

However, a huge change is required in many different areas like education, healthcare, employment, social welfare, sustainability, and traffic. There are some very interesting new parties who have real innovating plans and insights, but there voice is just not being heard. They are not featured in the big debates on TV and they don’t have the funds to run large-scale multimedia campaigns. So, it is very likely that they will get very few votes.

Also politics has moved away from the interests of the citizens. In the last few weeks I did check with fiends and nobody knows details about the respective programs, and it is even hard to mention some of our current ministers. It looks like politics has become a game in itself, which is played with just a few people for a few people.

Obviously this is not sustainable. The citizens (young and old) need to be much more involved as the stakes are just to high to leave all the major decisions to just a few professional politicians. Also the challenges in the Dutch, European an global society require lots of innovation for which support of all the citizens is needed.

This means that bottom-up involvement should be standard rather than the exception. Maybe the referendum and community model of Switzerland is a good starting point.

What do you think?



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