A local power broker called me the other day to tell me he liked my “Dayton Process”  idea a lot. Then he asked “is anyone else doing this?”
Hmmmm. Do I go to the patent office to check? Or Google? What do I search for? I wouldn’t even know where to begin?
Such is the nature of original thinking. Did the Wright Brothers have to have an example of man flying to try?
Seth Godin talks about asking for analogies and examples today:
I was talking to someone about a complex and specialized issue. It’s quite possible that this was the first and only time in the history of the world that this precise set of circumstances had ever occurred. He said, “do you have an example of how this has worked before for you?”
I was puzzled. I mean, not only hadn’t I ever had this precise problem, but no one in the world had…By the time there is a case study in your specific industry, it’s going to be way too late for you to catch up.
via Learning by analogy. 
Does someone else doing something first legitimize the idea? Is it only viable if it’s worked before? Go down this path and you are doomed to the status quo.
The Montgomery County Democratic Party runs a “candidates’ school” which is more about the process of getting elected the conventional way with fund raising, sound-bite campaigns and party machinery. There are even pay schools like this one in Virginia  where they talk about their success rate.
If you search for “level playing field elections” on Google,  all you find is examples of how the playing field is far from level anymore.
In some ways elections have become more akin to popularity contests, with our winners having to come out of central casting, in others- it’s just plain simple, we’ve got the best politicians money can buy.
There is a good possibility that by putting six well prepared candidates on the primary ballot in two years with the Dayton Process, plus the two incumbents (who are welcome to participate) could easily knock me out of the running in the primary (as well as the incumbents since only 4 candidate advance). It’s a risk that I’m fully aware of, but isn’t that the nature of innovation?
At this point, the process is still just an idea, I haven’t started setting a meeting schedule, or training programs. I’ve met with a volunteer who wants to help work with the CRM software and discussed it with the Mayor Elect.
I’m still looking for candidates, my list has grown since the first post. As part of the process, we’ll be keeping a “scorecard” of attendance, speaking engagements, blog posts, voter contacts made and recorded- so at the end of two years, voters will have an idea of how motivated candidates have been. There will be no more “claims” of service to the community that are undocumented, it will all be measured.
Each candidate will have to formulate their own platform and strategy for differentiating their candidacy. There could be a consensus among the candidates that some are better suited to run than others- and people step down. It could turn into reality TV with people scheming to work together- I don’t know all the answers. There could also be some major divisions among the candidates- making things a little more difficult- but all this will depend on the people involved and the way we work together.
The goal is better leadership for a better community through a new democratic process- not, to do something that people have done before.
The old way hasn’t been working too well, so it’s time to try something new. If it’s been done before, great. If not, what will it hurt?