The underpinning philosophy of citizen engagement is that people are entitled to decision-making power regarding decisions that impact their lives beyond simply voting for a representative once every few years. A related concept, public participation, “describes the activities by which people’s concerns, needs, interests, and values are incorporated into decisions and actions on public matters and issues”.
Citizen engagement can take many forms such as direct outreach to citizens and information campaigns, public meetings and consultation, deliberative processes such as citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ juries, and using SenseMaker®. The degree of citizen engagement can be measured on Arnstein’s ladder of engagement which ranges from manipulation at the bottom to citizen control at the top. Lower rungs of engagement are about one way communication; decision-makers telling citizens their plans. The higher rungs of the metaphorical ladder refer to when citizens have real decision-making power, they are in dialogue with decision makers, and information, stories and ideas flow between them.
In this brochure, we outline our ecosystem of methods that enables the collection of narrative, collective sensemaking, and insight to action design, at scale. An approach that can create deeper, more inclusive, and more far-reaching engagement to advance our democracies. We use real-time feedback to create more strategic and evidence-informed decision-making, and we empower citizens and communities to co-create on a local scale so they can rewrite the global story.
The Citizen Engagement & Democratic Innovation programme provides tools for collective sense-making in the areas of community development and youth work, civic engagement and democratic innovation, collaborative service/policy design and evaluation, housing/tenant engagement, futures and planning, shared learning and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.
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