Incubator for participatory democracy
The incubator for participatory democracy is based on an alliance of democracy innovators, brought together by the Council of Europe at the World Forum for Democracy and co-ordinated by The Democratic Society. Its purpose is to connect city governments in Europe and beyond with democracy innovators to replicate and scale up democratic innovations.
It is made up of local government institutions, mostly city councils, interested in developing or further developing their practice on participatory democracy. Alongside them, a number of innovation partners support and accelerate the development of ideas. The Incubator members collectively hold the vision and work to support its development. Next meeting will be on Sunday 18th November in Strasbourg, before the formal opening of WFD 2018.
Cities can join the Incubator by demonstrating a willingness to engage in participative innovation, some track record of success and a brief written self-assessment exercise. Once in the Incubator they can work with others in the Incubator who are working on similar problems and receive mutual assistance and support from the innovation partners, for example for local ‘town hall’ meetings to bring together local people and organisations interested in participation.
The incubator should help civil servants and political decision-makers in cities build an open infrastructure to boost democracy for smart, inclusive and innovative cities. It should be strongly goal-oriented. It has five main objectives:
- To bring together local governments and democracy innovators from different cultural and demographic perspectives in a network of mutual support.
- To reduce duplicated effort on development and research around participative democracy by encouraging collaboration and developing linked participation methods in a wide range of settings.
- To accelerate the spread of participative democracy both within local governments and the democratic innovation community.
- To improve democracy development and human rights in local government, supporting the goals of the Council of Europe, the cities and the innovation partners.
- To research, measure and improve the quality of participation and democracy at local, national and European level.
Researcher at Stanford University, USA
Dr. Tanja Aitamurto is the Deputy Director and a Brown Fellow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the School of Engineering at Stanford. She examines how collective intelligence, whether gathered by crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or co-creation, impacts journalism, governance and product design, particularly media innovations. Tanja is the author of Crowdsourcing for Democracy: New Era in Policy-Making. She has lead the design and implementation of the Finnish Experiment, a pioneering case in crowdsourcing policymaking. She advises and studies Open Government projects in several countries, the projects including topics such as participatory budgeting and crowdsourced legislation. She has attended meetings and given talks about her research at the White House, the Wikimedia Foundation, OECD, the Council of Europe and in several Parliaments and Governments, including those of Canada, Austria and Finland. More about Tanja's work at www.tanjaaitamurto.com
Dialogue and engagement consultant, Malmö, Sweden
Edward Andersson is a dialogue and engagement consultant based in Malmö, Sweden. He was a founding staff member of the Involve Foundation and worked as the organisation's Deputy Director for five years. Today he is Involve's European Associate and a board member of E-Democracy.org. Edward is also a Certified Professional Facilitator, certified by the International Association of Facilitators. Edward works with training, capacity building, evaluation, process design, facilitation and graphic design in the field of public participation and deliberation. Edward has advised numerous organisations on engagement and involvement, including the UK Department for Communities and Local Government, the OECD, the UK Home Office, the Sciencewise Programme, National School for Government and the European Commission.
Coordinator of the Digital Communication bachelor's program, the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brasil
Daniel Bittencourt is coordinator of the Digital Communication bachelor's program, the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos), has a degree in Journalism and a Masters in Social Communication at the Graduate in Social Communication Unisinos Program. His research focused on engagement systems, emerging systems, collaboration, co-creation in digital cities, developing projects that work innovative forms of interaction and building collective knowledge through the Economic of Participation. Currently pursuing PhD in Unisinos which discusses the possibilities for mediatization of cities from digital collaborative platforms. In 2010, it was one of the co-creators of Redenção.cc, collaborative project created under the Creative Commons platform that sought to rescue the affective memory of Porto Alegre about his most beloved park, Redemption. The project grew and made possible the creation of the first wikicidade the world, PortoAlegre.cc. One of his most recent projects is the Agora Network (http://www.agoraemrede.com.br) - a social network Canoas City Hall connecting citizens and public officials through video hangouts and open innovation systems. It is one of the founders of the Lung, technology-based startup that develops innovative engagement systems for the transformation of cities.
Citizens Foundation Iceland, President & CTO, Iceland
Robert is a successful entrepreneur that introduced the web to Iceland in 1993 and in 1995 to Denmark. Before co-founding the Citizens Foundation he worked in the online gaming industry where his team received many industry awards including two BAFTA awards for games. Robert has extensive experience with AI algorithms and 3D software spanning over 20 years.
Steven Clift is @democracy on Twitter. A pioneer in using technology for good, we was honored as a White House Champion of Change for Open Government in 2013. He launched E-Democracy.org, the world’s first election information website in 1994. His “government by day, citizen by night” insights come from leading Minnesota’s first e-government initiative. An Ashoka Fellow who has spoken across 35 countries, today he leads global outreach for the UK-based Knowledge Hub. Based in Minnesota, he serves as E-Democracy’s volunteer Executive Director.
Chairman, Election and Democracy Commission, Falun, Sweden
Bruno Kaufmann, Member of City Government (Executive Branch) and responsible City Councillor for Elections and Citizens Participation. Bruno Kaufmann is a trained political scientist and journalist. He has covered elections and referendums across the world. In his research as President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute in Marburg/Germany Bruno has focused on active citizenship and participatory democracy at all political levels. Bruno Kaufmann has published dozen of books and thousands of newspaper articles and radio broadcasts. He serves in the Falun City government since 2011 and has led a continous work to develop the city infrastructure for participatory democracy. At the EU level Bruno has authored the new European passport to active citizenship. Globally he is editor-in-chief of the new democracy platform people2power.info (hosted by the Swiss National Broadcasting Company) and co-leads the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. He is a research fellow at the Center of Social Cohesion at Arizona State University in Tempe/USA.
Démocratie Ouverte, Democracy Innovation Incubator, France
Elisa Lewis is a member of Démocratie Ouverte, a community gathering elected representatives, members of institutions, social entrepreneurs and project leaders developing creative solutions to upgrade democracy. Démocratie Ouverte aims at broadcasting and experimenting projects leading to a more collaborative, transparent and inclusive democracy. She has co-launched with Romain Slitine the project of an incubator for participatory and collaborative democratic projects. They are the authors of a book on democratic innovations around the world (to be published in 2016 – La Découverte).
Co-founder and CEO of CiviQ, Ireland
Dr. Vanessa Liston is co-founder and CEO of CiviQ, a company delivering innovations in public participation and deliberation. CiviQ’s mission is the creation of an open data source on public opinion and changes in social perspectives to help respond to complex social and environmental challenges. Vanessa holds a PhD in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where she was a Government of Ireland Scholar. She publishes regularly in international journals on development issues, deliberative democracy, Web 2.0 technologies, and political system innovation. Vanessa also has a background in international development and a management consulting career in Accenture and Cambridge Technology Partners. In 2014 she was listed by TechnologyVoice as one of Ireland’s Talented 38 Technology Women.
Co-Founder at GovFaces, Switzerland
Tudor Mihailescu is a Co-Founder at GovFaces and a Doctoral Candidate in Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Upon joining GovFaces in 2013, Tudor conceived and led the implementation efforts for GovFaces’ community development strategy, relying on volunteer-based grassroots promotion across 15 European countries. With the launch of the full GovFaces platform in the United Kingdom in 2015, he took on the challenge of preparing and coordinating the platform’s expansion at the local level in the South East of England. Before joining GovFaces, Tudor worked in volunteer management and political awareness campaigns in Romania. Complementing his professional experience, Tudor is currently pursuing doctoral research, focusing on political communication and rhetoric.
Director and Co-founder of Debating Europe
Adam is the Director and Co-founder of Debating Europe. He manages the team on a daily basis, and is responsible for the platforms overall strategy, including fundraising, marketing and partnerships. Currently also the Publication Director at the policy journal Europe’s World, he has extensive experience in digital media having launched the Brussels-based newswire service EUPOLITIX.com in 2003, before merging it into The Parliament Magazine, where he was the Managing Director.
About Debating Europe
Debating Europe - www.debatingeurope.eu – is the successful online discussion platform designed to engage Europe’s citizens and policymakers in an ongoing conversation on the critical issues affecting our continent.
It’s based on a simple model: citizens speak, decision makers respond.
It’s also proved to be very popular: since launching in 2011, it’s built up a 1.7 million strong community of citizens from across Europe, including 250,000 Facebook and Twitter followers, to debate with its leaders, challenging “top-down” thinking with a “bottom-up” approach. A selection of their 80,000 questions have been put to over 2,000 key policymakers including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 8 Prime Ministers, 23 Commissioners, 250+ MEPs, to mention but a few.
The idea behind Debating Europe, and the lessons learnt over 5 years, can be scaled to a regional/city context, connecting local citizens and policymakers in a series of online debates on the key concerns facing their community. In a digital age, mayors and councilors must adapt to changing technologies and expectations, by being more reactive and accessible to citizens via greater transparency, openness, and frank and honest dialogue. Debating Europe’s model aims to provide the place where these discussions take place.
Co-founder and Head of Business Development at Civocracy
Chloe is co-founder and Head of Business Development at Civocracy. A serial entrepreneur and social activist by heart, Chloe founded and managed three businesses in China before co-founding Civocracy. She has a background in Human Resources, Psychology and Social Entrepreneurship; and is passionate about innovation and social change.
Civocracy is an online platform that connects citizens, local governments and stakeholders (businesses, organizations, scientific communities) and provides them with the necessary tools to communicate and collaborate effectively around community issues.
Ana Lis RODRÍGUEZ NARDELLI
Research Director of Democracia en Red Foundation and peer of The Net Party, Argentina
Ana Lis Rodríguez Nardelli is the Research Director of Democracia en Red Foundation and peer of The Net Party (Partido de la Red). With a Bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology (UBA) and MSSc in Human Development (FLACSO – UN), she has focused her research on gender, public policies, and citizen participation from an anthropological perspective. She is passionate about building more equal and vibrant democracies through civic engagement using open source technologies like DemocracyOS. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1982.
Senior Advisor, Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, Norway
Dag Vestrheim has since 1988 worked in the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation on issues related to central-local relationship, local democracy and elections. His work now including issues on voting age, research issues, issues related to voter turnout and questions about citizens' involvement in local decision making, especially in connection with the ongoing local government reform, how local democracy and the condition for participation can be developed in merged municipalities.
Executive Director of the NewDemocracy Foundation, Australia
Iain leads the work of the newDemocracy Foundation in Australia conducting real world trials of innovative democratic processes with elected representatives. NDF assess resulting levels of public trust, whether they generate useable decisions and if they help broaden the agenda for elected representatives. The focus of the Foundation is to explore more representative, less adversarial and clearly deliberative processes – and advocate their role as a complementary part of our democratic structure. The work of NDF is motivated by a belief we need to positively ask citizens ‘How can we govern ourselves better?’ rather than contributing to a culture of complaint.
The Democratic Society, United Kingdom
Anthony Zacharzewski is the director of the Democratic Society, a British non-profit organisation that promotes democracy, good debate and new models of participative government. The Society is involved in a range of projects designing new democratic spaces, including NHS Citizen and is a national partner on the UK Government’s Open Policymaking programme. In his earlier career, Anthony was a senior civil servant in the British Cabinet Office and worked on strategy and policy in HM Treasury, the Privy Council Office, Brighton & Hove City Council and the Department of Health.
Blogger, Social innovation advisor, Netherlands
Hems Zwier is founder and ‘inspirator’ of the Social Innovation Lab, a meshwork organization that pilots new concepts for modern society. As a lecturer he educates future change managers to become the positive change and to create a sustainable world. Keywords in his work are social innovation, social entrepreneurship, co-creation, re-inventing society, leadership and the strategic use of social media and community building. He believes the modern world is best understood as an all connected ecosystem and uses that paradigm as an enabler to solve wicked problems. He is a strong advocate of working with grass roots to feel the pulse of society.
- Draft Agenda of the 3rd Participatory Democracy Incubator Meeting Europe Youth Centre, Strasbourg, 7th November 2017
- Background paper: Public Participation and Democratic Innovations: Assessing Democratic Institutions and Processes for Deepening and Increased Public Participation in Political Decision-Making