Democracy thrives on public participation – this is the foundation of our society. But participation means more than just voting in general elections every few years. It means that all members of a society, including marginalised groups, can articulate their interests and get directly involved in shaping political decision-making. It is a way to empower citizens to take active roles in the democratic and socio-economic change of their region. Reforms can only have a long-term impact if they are developed in an inclusive way and supported by the citizens. For this, the processes need to be transparent and comprehensible.
Digital transformation is not only about changing relationships between people, but also between governments and societies. Through innovative technologies, you can reach a wider range of citizens with less effort. These technologies allow for collaborative and inclusive processes to work on specific issues or solutions. This is relevant for various actors: Public institutions can engage more citizens in different ways on newly planned projects or policies; and civil society organisations can interact with their target groups and mobilise for joint advocacy more efficiently.
You can engage citizens irrespectively of their location and hear the opinions of people that would normally not attend in-person meetings.
Top-down decision making is increasingly less accepted. Decisions that are made without the participation of those affected often fail to meet their needs and lead to dissatisfaction among communities.
There is no limit to the number of people who can take part in a digital participation journey, which makes it very easy to scale. You also don’t need to worry about a venue or catering for your participants.
Through digital participation you can increase the variety of opinions and perspectives on a specific matter. This will generate new knowledge, reveal new ideas and assist in creating new solutions.
If it is easier for people to include their views or have a stronger stake and say at current issues and topics, they will naturally identify more with the planned participation journey.