This is the last sign that there is something behind user & open innovation: The Catholic Church has started an online open innovation idea competition (well, one could say that the entire church IS a lead user invention anyway).
KJG, the Catholic youth organization of Cologne, one of Germany’s largest dioceses, just launched a web site where young people are encouraged to submit ideas what they want to change at the Catholic Church.
The website aenderwas.de (German for „Make a change“) broadly asks for ideas and suggestions. You can either submit a short idea or comment, or upload a long suggestion (perhaps for a real innovative interior design of a Church that you would like to see; or the tunes of a song you would like to sing …). Interestingly, they also ask one of the easiest but often neglected questions: If you don’t go to church, why?
People who submit the best and most innovative ideas will be invited to a kind of lead user workshop to build on these ideas and to transfer them into more concrete offerings. But the people behind the initiative also know about the limits of this approach and acknowledge in a disclaimer that not all change requests can be incorporated immediately.
It all started, by the way, when one of the organizers was in an Executive MBA class I taught on open innovation a while ago. She immediately saw the opportunities of improving the offerings directed towards younger people by the Church, and later transferred her learning into this project.
I am very curious to see what comes out of this initiative and what will be the experiences of this project. Will such a broad call for input generate real innovative ideas? I will keep you posted – and if you have an idea what to change with the Catholic Church (from the perspective of you, the user), the opportunity is there: www.aenderwas.de (note: While God speaks all languages, you need German language skills for this).