As we venture further into this Presidential election year, we will hear the old refrain more and more: my vote doesn’t matter. I’m only one person, what difference could I make?
The answer is: a big difference!
While it’s harder to make the case for a single vote in a national election, it’s easier to convince people that their opinions as citizens matter when they are presented with opportunities like Innovate Your State. Innovate Your State is a nonprofit organization devoted to educating and encouraging public participation in improving government.
Innovate Your State has realized that citizens are uniquely suited to solving state problems, and they are tapping into that resource. One of the big reasons citizens are the best for solving problems is that—much like employees often having fantastic insight into possible room for improvement—those citizens experience the problems firsthand, and more regularly than anybody else. Those citizens are also likely to have practical solutions to those problems, solutions which will benefit themselves and their neighbors.
Recently, Innovate Your State hosted its first online challenge to put the citizens of California to the test. The Fix California Challenge surfaced over four hundred diverse ideas, which were then whittled down to two winning ideas for funding and implementation.
While the final two ideas were ultimately the winners, the Innovate Your State team considers one of the greatest successes to be the surfacing of issues that were of the highest importance for members of the public. In fact, some of the other ideas are currently under consideration for the future! Innovate Your State hopes to replicate this challenge in other states in the future as well, giving citizens a more active, actionable way of participating in the governing of their daily lives.
To find out more about Innovate Your State’s Fix California Challenge, click here to download our recent case study.