May 27, 2024

Innovation democracy is a rapidly growing movement that aims to change our time-honored notions of democratic participation and voting by providing new ways for citizens to be involved in democratic decision-making. The innovations vary in their approaches, objectives and effects, but they all share the common purpose of enhancing, educating and supporting the voices of citizens. The innovations described in this article vary from engagement commissions to citizen’s assemblies as well as participatory budgeting, serious games, SMS-enabled discussion to citizen’s advisory councils and Ad-hoc panels.

They address many different problems including climate change and urban safety to economic vitality and racial justice. They advocate for different values, like social cohesion, solidarity economy and feminism, as well as cosmopolitanism, feminism and a commitment towards non-violence and the human rights. A lot of these reforms and adaptations are aimed at addressing so-called wicked issues, characterized by their complex nature and an awareness of values and preferences.

The majority of the innovations in this area take more of a broad view of citizenship than traditional democratic practices and the majority extend beyond the right to vote. They also promote a broad sense of democracy as a viable alternative to the dictatorship or technocratic state. The 15-M movement, for instance, strongly influenced Barcelona en Comu’s and Madrid’s policies. They led to democratic innovations like creating citizens’ assemblies based on random selection. Gao et al. (2017) test Popper’s hypothesis that democracy is necessary for stimulating innovation by studying global panel data. They discovered that this connection was not a reality when measured using various indicators of innovation and models.

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