Innovating Congress: Elect Intelligence & Competence

gridlock2As the on-going battle between parties in the congress winds on, it occurs to me that USA citizens might want to change how and why they vote for a representative. We’ve got it wrong. We voted for Gridlock!

Representatives in a republic are not supposed to “do your bidding.” No, they’re supposed to Think and Act For You. When you elect someone to vote a specific way on a specific issue what you’re doing is closing down creativity, opportunity, and solutions. It’s the opposite of innovative.

Let’s ignore party entirely.

How about if we vote for intelligence, competency, and effectiveness? Let’s ignore specific positions on one issue. Let’s be more holistic, and, let’s vote for people who really know something. I mean Really Know Something — you know like an expert at science, technology, or business. AND, not just talkers. Let’s elect people who have actually created things.

What I want in the congress, if I could wave a magic wand, is a very diverse set of very intelligent people. These would be people who have already solved complicated problems, and were part of solution development. My representative should be better informed, smarter than me, and focused on creative problem solving.

When we vote for a politician based solely on party, or on a very specific issue, we’re essentially voting based on fear. We’re not voting for the common good, we’re voting for special interest good. We’re certainly not voting based on who can be effective in Congress. Effective people are about solving problems. Effective people are highly competent and productive. They don’t measure success by how many times they prevented votes, or killed potential solutions. Voting based on party or issue means we’re voting to try to be on the winning side, as opposed to the concept that we’re all on the same side.

We’ve been voting, whether we know it or not, for incompetence.

It’s a proven fact that diverse teams are better innovators. Michael Kirton’s research proved that teams with broad creative style differences, and high level intelligence and knowledge bases, are the ones most likely to innovate. Does that sound like our current Congress?

Our Congress is mostly white men. Those men are mostly lawyers. In my experience lawyers have well-earned the derisive title of “deal killers.” Sure, we need lawyers to make laws, but how about more doctors in Congress? How about more scientists? I want a rocket scientist figuring out what to do with NASA! I want a doctor in the mix when we’re talking about healthcare. How about those people who tend to be collaborative in general — women!

So my simple point is, let’s start electing the smartest people in the room. Their background informs us, but we vote without being slaves to one issue or one party. Let’s tell our reps we want problems solved, and let’s turn them loose. You want to change America? Give this wacky idea a try and innovation will happen.

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Posted in Creative Problem Solving (CPS), Innovation, Inspirational, Politics & Government, Pop Culture, Public Speaking