Here’s your participation toolbox. It includes everything you’ll need for your participation journey. We have collected hands-on information on different in-person and digital formats for citizen participation.

We are continuously further developing this toolbox – so please get in touch if you would like to share any methods!

Case studies

Involving citizens in public dialogue and decision-making is a context specific process. However, good examples and experiences from participation journeys exist and can serve as an inspiration and orientation for your own journey.

Please get in touch if you want to share your example with the community!

Method cards

The method cards provide you with an overview of possible participation methods and formats that you can use for your participation journey.

They include information about the method itself and the required process of applying it, target group(s), expected results, options for online and blended participation, and required resources.

Digital tools for participation

The list of digital tools for participation is the result of a research conducted as part of the youth component of PartiCipate. The list should be seen as a source of inspiration for partners and projects.

You can download it here as a pdf file.

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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.


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.

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.

Citizen OS

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


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


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

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.

adhocracy +

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

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.

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.

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


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.

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.


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

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.

Future Workshop

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. ​

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.