Strategy

Society demands change, evolution, innovation and transformation of our democratic institutions to encourage more direct participation in public and common issues, which affect everyone.

It is precisely this productive, creative and communicative power of participation which has enabled transformation in many areas of social life (education, knowledge management, communication, culture, economic etcetera) and which needs to bring about  changes in the conception of  institutions, management and decision-making.

This transformation will not occur on its own. It depends on our capacity to research and develop new operational models and bring about innovation in participatory processes, measures and mechanisms in the city.

The goals of Democratic Innovation are:

  • Developing, designing and standardising new participatory models.

  • Designing and developing digital environments (open, safe and free) for participatory democracy and collaborative coordination.

  • Leading democratic innovation on the regional and international scale.

  • Standardising and promoting participatory research and development processes.

  • Researching the changes that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) create in the various areas of participatory democracy.

  • Providing access to democratic participatory processes.

  • Promoting competition, knowledge and critical skills for technologically-mediated democratic participation.

  • Developing technologies for communication, collaboration and internal participation in the City Council.

Strategic lines

Transforming democratic institutions and direct participation through R&D&i

1. Creating: Developing a digital-participation and democratic-collaboration platform.

We are creating digital infrastructures for participatory democracy. We have developed Decidim, a platform that enables citizens to decide on the city they want, to collaborate on designing action plans, public facilities and services, to propose communal legislative initiatives, to take part in City Council Sessions and to create Barcelona's public policies together. This strategic line responds to the collective demand reflected in the PAM initiative: 4.2.1 Developing a digital-participation platform.

2. Researching: “From Smart City to Democratic City”  Research Plan

We promote a coordinated network of participatory research projects geared towards boosting social intelligence and the social economy by improving democratic quality, multi-scale techno-political innovation, transparency and public-commons technological infrastructures. We aim to contribute towards better processing and holding data as belonging to the commons, digital coordination, decentralising social life and, finally,re-appropriating democracy in the city. Hence, we have launched a network of social agents (researchers, citizens, associations, experts and so on) with the aim of solving specific governance problems relating to general research, thus enabling new narratives promoted around a democratically smart city. This strategic line responds to the demand of the PAM initiative: 4.2.11. Researching smart cities and democratic cities.

3. Experimenting: Laboratory for democratic innovation and collaborative practices

We are experimenting in designing and creating an open and participatory laboratory offering space, resources, relational and symbolic capital, management services and funding for research and democratic and collaborative innovation. The laboratory’s work covers governance issues, social innovation, commons co-management and, in general, urban challenges that have to be resolved in a smart, participatory and democratic way. This is an open laboratory that calls for its own space with shared public resources (workshops, auditorium for events and talks), open to and run with the public. It also has its own digital and communication space. And the organisation as a whole needs to become a scalable model of co-management and governance for other urban laboratories.  This strategic line responds to the demand of the PAM initiative: 04/02/2012. Creating a laboratory for democratic innovation and public-collaboration

4. Capacity Building: Plan for infrastructures, capacity building and digital mediation through participation

We promote territorial infrastructure which guarantees access to digital participation, designing courses and materials to foster the necessary wherewithal (critical view, empowerment, knowledge etcetera,) to ensure quality, and defining the types of mediation necessary for strengthening the two previous points. This triple orientation is designed for the general public and, above all, excluded sectors.  This strategic line responds to the demand of the PAM initiative: 2.1.4 Encouraging projects like Urban Lab, and fab centres linking them with local-development policies and thereby strengthening the city’s network of social-digital innovation facilities.

Strategic lines

Transforming democratic institutions and direct participation through R&D&i

Creating

Decidim Barcelona, a digital-participation and democratic-collaboration platform. We create digital infrastructure for participatory democracy.

Researching

“From Smart City to Democratic City” Research Plan. We are launching a coordinated network of projects to improve the city’s democratic quality.

Experimenting

Laboratory for democratic innovation and collaborative practices. We are also experimenting in designing and creating an open and participatory laboratory.

Capacity Building

Plan for infrastructures, capacity building and digital mediation through participation. We promote territorial infrastructures that guarantee access to digital participation.