Why we do it

Our case for change, and what drives us.

Democracy needs change.

Democracy is not a precious vase, something we just have to preserve for the next generation. Every year, we have to reinvent democracy to fit the times, and respond to how society is changing.

We want to create an innovative democracy, that can change and develop across future generations - one that is informed by democratic values of equality and openness.

Our Challenge

Governments around the world are trying to run the world with systems designed in the 19th century, from 18th century models, for a world that is being transformed by climate change and networked technologies. Trust and democratic commitment are suffering as a result.

We cannot rebuild trust between citizens and decision makers without a new approach to democracy, one that goes beyond a vote every five years to ensure that citizens can be informed, active participants in the decisions that shape their lives.

That doesn't just mean creating new digital tools, or better deliberative approaches. It means reapplying the fundamental principles of democracy in new settings, ensuring that equality, fairness and the rights of every citizen are at the centre of new ways of governing.

Our Approach

We have worked to improve democracy for over a decade, and in that time we've constantly developed our approaches and ideas - and we're still doing that.

Democratic innovation is moving from standalone projects and pilots into the mainstream. That means organisations like ours need to scale up our work, connect more people into democratic processes, and prove that participation can work at scale, and over time.

We believe that democracy has to start in your street, not on your TV or laptop, so we root our democracy work in local practice and local connections, through our constantly-growing European network. We believe it can't stop in your street, though, given the world-changing decisions being taken in global capitals. That's why from our local bases, we use our networks to involve people in decisions and action at regional, national and European level too.

It's easy to focus on the process and the decision, but we know that democracy is made of people - and we need to ensure that all voices are heard, all opinions taken into account, and that everyone has the chance to express themselves. We also know that not everyone wants to take part in every issue, so we work to ensure a balance between fair representation and active participation.

Our Values

Our work is informed by and we are committed to our strong democratic values.

  • Openness
  • Equality
  • Fairness
  • Participation
  • Internationalism.

We respect and deliver the European Union's fundamental values for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.

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