The Ingenuity Ringmaster (blessed and supported by the city) would commit to a problem worth solving, and citizen innovators would submit ideas, and then the city would create a portfolio of projects with design criteria and guidance. Leveraging a micro-financing engine, citizens could vote with their dollars to decide which problems were solved. Personal investment would also drive involvement and contribution (anyone can volunteer to mentor the team, etc.). People would share, learn, and improve upon the idea. The Ringmaster would also ensure that the right courses were available online by cause or project, and would determine a curriculum and library for those innovators. The final concept would be reported across multiple platforms and key stakeholders in the solution would be consulted throughout to implement it properly. All the implementations are considered experiments to learn from, making additional “best practices” and learning content. Failures and successes would also be celebrated equally and openly.

This is part 17 of a continuing brainstorm on the future of cities, inaugurated at the CEOs for Cities Velocity conference in September, 2009. We’ll post a new idea each day until we run out, at which point we’re counting on you to come up with something smart. Do you have a good idea for improving your city? Add it in the comments below, or tweet it to @GOOD with hashtag #cityideas—we’ll publish the best ones. Tomorrow’s idea: Citizen Recruiters.