Democratic Innovations — institutions specifically designed to increase and deepen citizen participation in the political decision-making process as for example the Participatory Budgeting, Participatory Urban Planning, Citizen Assemblies, etc. — have become a ubiquitous feature of policymaking and governance building at EU level.
Even if for decades the technology of DIs was carried out through “traditional” off-line means of participation (meetings, Focus Groups assemblies, etc.), with the recent consolidation of the network society, it has been progressively contaminated by the emergence of a new set of ICT-based participatory innovations, coming both from the public (e-government and e-democracy solutions) and private sectors (civic media, social collaborative networks, etc.).
Such a rapid growth and diffusion of DDI's emphasized a number of issues and contradictions boosted by the multiplication and mismatches between off-line and on-line channels of participation. While opening opportunities for a better integration between different processes and spaces of participation, the digitization also multiplied redundancy, produced fragmentation and created new explicit and implicit barriers to the actual engagement of inhabitants and organized stakeholders in public policy making.
The EMPATIA project, launched in 2016 and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to research, develop, test and disseminate innovative approaches and consistent ICT solutions for the design and management of multi-channel PB processes.
This presentation will focus on the main topics covered by EMPATIA, presenting both scientific and technical results achieved after the first year.
Michelangelo Secchi is a research fellow at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has been working for more than ten years as Public Sector consultant on the design and implementation of citizen engagement processes and participatory governance strategies. . Recently he has been working as expert on stakeholder engagement in EU funded projects in the area of international development (EUROPEAID) and Smart Cities (National and Regional Structural Funds in Italy – PON REC Smart City). Since 2016 he is coordinating for CES the research activity of the CAPS project EMPATIA funded by the EC Horizon 2020 program.