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Foresight #4 on Reimagining Democracy

Across Europe we see divided nations and communities and how citizens feel left behind. Many experience that they have few opportunities to influence their own lives, as well as opportunities to influence the development of society. Involving those concerned is a key component when designing sustainable solutions to the societal challenges of today. 

In Social Innovation Foresight #4 on Reimagining democracy, 1 September, we reflected on and explored the problems of democracy and suggested different ways forward.

What are the main democracy issues? How can different actors and organisations empower citizens and assure that we give high quality access and voice to people in the margins, to the excluded or forgotten? How can research and innovation help to address the current challenges for democracies? How important is community involvement and empowerment for social innovation and for democracy? What different innovative ideas, alternatives and models are there? What can we achieve when involving a diversity of perspectives, from all sectors and target groups in society, in designing solutions for tomorrow? How can we reimagine democracy?

Listen to keynote Swati Banerjee, (PhD) Professor and Program Convenor at the School of Social Work, Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, 
Katja Reppel, Head of Unit Directorate-Generale Research and Innovation (RTD) at the European Commission and,
Gorka Espiau Idoiaga (PhD) the Director at the “Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies”. 

The talk was moderated by Erin Cory, Assistant professor and senior lecturer at Malmö University.

Further reading and inspiration

People, organisations and initiatives

Swati Banerjee

The Unit Research and Innovation at the European Commission contributes to research and innovation by promoting trust in governance, the rule of law, active citizenship, the future of democracy, balancing security and safety with fundamental rights, public sector innovation, and gender equality and diversity in R&I policy. 

The Agirre Lehendakaria Center-ALC (Basque Social Innovation Lab)

The Community Listening Processes generates information in real time about the perceptions of communities while responding to ongoing initiatives.

The Democratic Society, an international non-profit organization based in Brussels and working in twenty countries across Europe on participation, citizen engagement and new forms of governance.

New Citizenship Project

Leadership Council – the Democracy & Culture Foundation

Engage Britain

Ryan Shorthouse, is a British writer, thinker and entrepreneur. He is the founder and chief executive of Bright Blue, an independent think tank for promoting Liberal Conservatism.

The New Institute 
Which governance structures and forms of decision making enable legitimate and effective systemic change for a sustainable future? 

The Rethinking Democracy research platform (REDEM) at Malmö University

Voter Turnout by Country 2022 

Freedom House:
Reimagining American Democracy 

 The Conversation: 

 The Citizens’ convention on UK Democracy 

Democracy Digest

The World Forum for Democracy

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy, Pennstate College of Liberal Arts 

States united democracy center 


Nesta Democracy Pioneers 

Utmaningar och insatser för demokratin, inledande kartläggning av länsstyrelserna (pdf)


Nesta event: The road to recovery: upgrading our democracy to build back better, 1 October, 2020.

The EU Commission
Citizen participation in cohesion policy

How to fix democracy

How to Fix Democracy Season 3 | David van Reybrouck 

Democracy Next 
An international non-profit, non-partisan research and action institute 

Books & articles

Stories of digital social innovation: Democracy 

Citizen Participation in Democratic Europe : What Next for the EU? 

How social innovation can support citizen participation 

Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the Twenty-First Century by Hélène Landemore