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Democratic innovation and digital participation

Harnessing collective intelligence for 21st-century decision-making
Community participation Democracy Democratic reform Direct democracy Finland Norway Sweden

Democratic principles are under threat around the world. Yet democratic innovations and digital participation tools hold the potential to rejuvenate democracy and drive citizen-led decision-making in public institutions. This report highlights the barriers faced when advancing democratic innovations and how these barriers can be overcome to harness the collective intelligence of citizens.

This report is based on insights from global examples of digital democratic innovation, and in particular, three pilots from the COLDIGIT project: a citizens’ assembly in Trondheim, Norway; participatory budgeting in Gothenburg, Sweden; and participatory budgeting in Helsinki, Finland.

This report sets out a three-level framework for delivering, expanding and embedding democratic innovations.

  1. Deliver democratic innovations to achieve best practice. This ensures that you get the basics right and that more people can experience a participatory process.
  2. Expand democratic innovations to build inclusive and accessible participation. This ensures that everyone affected by the topic of participation has an equitable platform to participate and is motivated to engage.
  3. Embed democratic innovations to create participatory systems of governance. This ensures a more transparent institution with more areas of government that are influenced by participation.
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