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Based on your context and needs, we have selected a choice of participation methods from the Toolbox which you can find below.

We strongly recommend that you consider the fragility and contextual aspects before starting your participation process. For this, you can find guiding questions here.

If you would like to explore additional participation methods, you can scroll through the Toolbox.

If you need further inspiration, you can also have a look at our “Participation in action” section, where you can find useful case studies.

Do not forget to do no harm – with any method, please reflect upon potential context-specific implications.

Online Idea Competition

Online Idea Competition allows for collective idea storming by letting an open or invited audience bring in suggestions on an issue and to achieve a decision by voting on them.

Walt Disney Method

The Walt Disney Method applies structured roleplay to assess an issue from three different perspectives (dreamer, realist & critique) to achieve innovative thinking and solutions.

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting allows citizens to influence the spending of public money by submitting proposals for budget consolidation as well as expenditures.

Planning for Real

Planning for real aims to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods using a jointly created 3D model by identifying areas of change, suggesting measures and implementing them.

Online Text Review / Collaborative Legislation

Online Text Review / Collaborative Legislation enables citizens to comment and co-create legislative texts prior to the approval of new plans, regulations or strategies.

Systemic Consensus / Systemic Consensing

Systemic Consensus / Systemic Consensing is a form of decision making that aims at determining the one proposal with the least objections and resistances within a group (instead of the highest acceptance).

Marketplace / Vernissage / Gallery Walk

Marketplace / Vernissage / Gallery Walk animates passers-by or invited participants to inform themselves and exchange about public matters or offers in an arranged physical or digital temporary space.

Asset Mapping / Community Mapping

Asset Mapping / Community Mapping visualizes selected socio-spatial aspects (e.g. resources, safe places) of an area by collecting pins on a printed, digital or self-created map, one color per criterium.

BarCamp / Unconference

A BarCamp / un-conference where attendees self-organize agenda, input and exchange on the spot with the rule that any attendee isn’t a spectator only but participates actively.

Carousel Speed Dating / Impromptu Networking

Carousel Speed Dating / Impromptu Networking is a conversation method where two people face each other in an inner and outer circle and alternating 1:1 exchange is maximized by rotation of these circles. 

Dotmocracy / Dot Voting

Dotmocracy / Dot Voting facilitates fast decision making and prioritization by collecting and revealing individual votes on a set of options using a limited number of dot stickers, marks or post-it’s

Card Sorting

Card Sorting asks participants to rank or categorize index cards with topics in a way it makes sense for them, revealing how information is interrelated (differently) in a group.

Annotable Digital Map

Annotable Digital Map enables the (asynchronous) cartographic collection of citizen’s location-bound needs, knowledge and experiences by commenting in online maps.

Red Couch

Red Couch is a temporary offer to citizens of a neighborhood, young and old alike, to sit on a red couch and talk about anything concerning their residential environment.

Lego® Serious Play®

Lego® Serious Play® facilitates thinking, communication, ideating, strategizing, or problem-solving by jointly building 3D-models with bricks in structured and moderated settings.

Traffic Light

Traffic Light enables a fast overview of the prevailing opinion in large groups where participants illustrate their level of advocacy through a green, yellow, or red card.

Citizens´ Assembly

Citizens´ Assembly is a structured, usually local municipal event that informs the interested public about a measure and invites to publicly discuss it.

Wisdom Council / Citizens’ Council / Bürger:innenrat

Wisdom Council / Citizens’ Council / Bürger:innenrat randomly selected citizens who convene regularly to find improvements and solutions for issues of public matter, ultimately presenting the results to the public.

Online Poll / Online Voting

Online Poll / Online Voting aims to collect decisions from citizens on legislative questions, proposals, and inquiries from institutions through an easily accessible online voting system. ​

Pro Action Café

Pro Action Café offers a moderated space to discuss self-initiated topics and actions in smaller groups and in several rounds, combining the World Café and Open Space approach.

Lightning Decision Jam

Lightning Decision Jam offers a well-structured approach to take a decision combining silent collection of issues, selection of issues presented, ideating solutions and voting thereof.

Agenda Conference

Agenda Conference aims at informing the public about current topics and plans, at co-evaluating and co-creating goals and measures thereof, and at forming corresponding working groups.

Dragon Dreaming

Dragon Dreaming is a structured project development approach that aims to realize visions and change in the service of earth on the basis of dreams and by building fellowship.

Future Workshop

Future Workshops are structured and very communicative group deliberations where participants imagine, experiment and design desired future conditions.

Focus Group

Focus Group is a moderated discussion where few selected participants exchange on a given topic along a given structure to obtain their feedback and opinions.


Typically, are full weekend events where small teams compete to develop a concrete, practical idea or a protype for a given challenge.

Image guided exchange of experience

Image-guided exchange of experience is a discussion format which utilizes and presents visuals (e.g. photographs, graphics) as prompts to stimulate sharing of experiences.


Online Brainstorming is a way for crowdsourcing ideas where participants can collectively generate ideas and solutions on specific questions, using a variety of techniques and tools.


Online Surveys gather information and opinions from a (randomly) selected audience by asking a set of multiple choice or open-ended questions.

Interactive Online Event

Interactive Online Event enables citizens to ask and upvote questions during on- or offline discussions through co-moderators who sort and obtain a digital speech list.

Online Citizen Proposal / E-Petition

The online citizen proposal or e-petition enables citizens to hand in petitions on an issue or topic, in order to raise awareness and induce a decision and change from governmental institutions.

Online Debate / E-Consultation

Online debates or E-consulting enables citizens to discuss and prioritize proposed topics by sharing and commenting their opinion and ideas in written form, gathering widely diversified conceptions.

adhocracy +

Adhocracy+ has a focus on providing digital citizen participation for a broad range of target groups: municipalities, NGOs, governments.

Open Space

Open Space is a conference format for very large groups where invited participants create their own agenda and manage the working sessions themselves once they arrived.


Ushahidi has a clear focus on data crowdsourcing without the need of an internet connection.


Consul has a clear focus on digital citizen participation especially for cities and national governments.

Citizen OS

Citizen OS has a focus on the decision-making part within the citizen participation process.

Living Library

Living Library/ Human Library is a concept for trustful dialogue and empathy on sensitive topics to dismantle prejudices by lending a conversation with a person instead of a book.


Transect Walks are systematic group walks along a pre-defined path to explore and map environmental and social conditions and resources by observing and interviewing.

Local Youth Council: Letting youth decide

A method that brings young people from a community together, in order to actively participate in decision-making, advocacy, and community development.

Body Map: Embodied Storytelling

A creative and participatory method that invites young people to express their thoughts, emotions, and experiences by creating visual representations on an outline of a human body.

Flower of Support: Visualizing networks

A visual and participatory method that engages young people in identifying and visualizing their support networks.

Click Click: Photo-Voicing

Participants capture images representing their feelings, ideas, and stories related to a specific topic or theme.

Youth Talk: Handing over the mic

A dynamic method inspired by the renowned TED Talks unleashes the inner speaker of youth.

Youthcast: Podcasting by the youth

Young people record their own podcast series with their own topics. They create their original content and host the show.

Visionary Festival: Shaping the future

Interactive and creative event that brings together young people to envision the future and collaborate on innovative ideas.

Minecraft: Building new realities

Minecraft emerges as a potent tool for bridging the digital divide in education and civic engagement.