Digital democracy: the tools transforming political engagement

23 February 2017
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Key findings

  • Digital democracy is a broad concept and not easy to define. The paper provides a granular approach to help encompass its various activities and methods (our ‘typology of digital democracy’).
  • Many initiatives exist simply as an app, or web page, driven by what the technology can do, rather than by what the need is.
  • Lessons from global case studies describe how digital tools are being used to engage communities in more meaningful political participation, and how they are improving the quality and legitimacy of decision-making.
  • Digital democracy is still young. Projects must embed better methods for evaluation of their goals if the field is to grow.

    Thanks to digital technologies, today we can bank, read the news, study for a degree, and chat with friends across the world - all without leaving the comfort of our homes. But one area that seems to have remained impervious to these benefits is our model of democratic governance, which has remained largely unchanged since it was invented in the 20th century.

    New experiments are showing how digital technologies can play a critical role in engaging new groups of people, empowering citizens and forging a new relationship between cities and local residents, and parliamentarians and citizens.

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    Suggested Citation

    Julie Simon, Theo Bass, Victoria Boelman, Geoff Mulgan, 2017, Digital democracy: the tools transforming political engagement, Nesta, viewed 29 April 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/74302>.

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