Ideology is no better than an antiquated user’s manual.

I looked up the word “ideology” in the dictionary on my Mac and got this: “the ideas and manner of thinking characteristic of a group, social class, or individual.”

The key phrase in that definition is “characteristic of a group,” because that means the “ideas” and “manner of thinking” are already baked, communicated and adopted by said group.

As you all know, our system of government has two primary “ideologies” dominating our political conversation: Liberalism and Conservatism. And I would argue that the reason our country can’t move forward is that the people attempting to solve our problems are trying to solve them with ideology, not creativity. Our country is where it is because we get four or eight years of this ideology followed by four or eight years of the other. It’s as if these respective parties believe their ideological “user’s manual” can just be followed and everything will be fixed. But a user’s manual is only helpful when the thing you’re building is pre-conceived, unwavering, and fixed, like an IKEA coffee table. The country is anything but unwavering right now.

What we need is a creative president (desperately).

We need someone who is skilled at looking at mounds of data and finding an insight no one else has seen. That’s creativity.

We need someone whose very core recoils with the thought of doing anything that’s been done before. That’s creativity, with a dash of healthy ego.

We need someone who not only lives with a natural flow of his or her own ideas, but surrounds him or herself with people who not only have their respective disciplines and perspectives (like modern day “advisors” to the president), but are prolific with ideas themselves. That’s a creative environment.

But creativity doesn’t end there. We also need someone who is willing to try things, to take chances, to conduct test markets, and to challenge conventions. That’s creativity taken all the way to innovation, pray tell. Imagine if our government were innovative.

Ideology-driven politics means too many things are automatically unthinkable. We need someone who truly believes that nothing is unthinkable.

I would rather see a Dan Wieden, creative director of Wieden & Kennedy, in the White House than Barack Obama. I would rather see a Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, in the White House than a Mitt Romney. It could be any “kind” of creative person. Look at Vaclav Havel. He was a poet for God’s sake and did wonders for the Czech Republic.

What we can do between now and 2012.

Sadly, I seriously doubt Dan or Steve or anyone equally creative within a particular segment of society would even want the job. They’re happy with what they’re doing because they are already doing great things. But there is still something WE can do as the important 2012 elections draw closer. Let’s look for the most creative candidate regardless of ideology. Better yet, let’s find a way to insert “creativity” into the national debate. Who is most likely to find the insights in the data? Who recoils at the thought of doing what’s been done before? Who surrounds him or herself with creative thinkers instead of broken-record ideologues?

I have no idea (ironic, I know) how to get the “creative factor” injected into the national debate, other than to write this post and hope that it does. But maybe you do. Maybe you’ve got connections to the national media or to the candidates themselves and can forward this post on. If you do, let us know at Ideasicle so we can track your progress.

What I do know is that our nation doesn’t need another ideologue president. It needs a creative director. And, whether or not “creativity” becomes a national topic, it’s how I will be evaluating the candidates in 2012.