When trying to explain the recent rise of the social innovation/unconference by saying something to the effect that ‘its about getting a group of people together to create shared solutions to social problems’ – I was met with the response:
“Isn’t that what political parties are for…?”
This is a bloody good question. Yes, of course that is what political parties are supposed to be for, but has our common perception of what a party is/does now lost sight of that focus on fellowship in problem solving and collective action for the greater social good? Surely parties are for arguing, combat and infighting – not problem solving…?
It seems that people now increasingly think of political parties as not being applicable to their own lives. Is this a question of party political structure that needs revitalising from the inside out, or a far wider reaching issue connected to social trends at work in society at large, such as the relentless rise of the single issue politics and individualism?
Whatever the preceise nature of the problem, it is clear that parties cannot carry on the way they are as membership dwindles ever further. So what would the parties of the future look like and what can they learn from social innovation style problem-solving models and ways of working?
(I can’t resist saying it) – What would PartyPolitics 2.0 actually look like, and would an innovative social approach be any better than a traditional route to renewal?