An IDEA like IKEA: eCollaboration Swedish Design

Suppose you have a problem, what’s the best way to solve it? How about inviting a selected number of experts on the topic from all over the world, pay for their travel, lock them up in a former prison on an island, seduce them to present their views, facilitate that by excellent food, cleverly moderate the discussion, confront the solutions with the problems, integrate and merge different views, and you’ll end up with a deliverable in the form of a manual to solve your problem. Good for you and inspiring for all participants.  This is precisely what the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) did when they discovered that eParticipation at the local and regional level in Sweden needed a boost. Of course there are lots of pilots and experiments, but they felt that a consistent view on possibilities and challenges posed by new media was lacking. So they convened a 48 hour #eSummit about this topic on the island of Långholmen in Stockholm. The eSummit started with 12 minutes statements by the experts about their core view. These covered Big data society, Co creation, Open government, Crowd sourcing, Participatory budgetting, Collaborative spatial planning, Empowerment by e-charters, Anti corruption & social accountability mechanisms, Business process redesign, and so on. Subsequently the experts worked in twos and fours to integrate their views. These were confronted with the expectations of the hosts as expressed by a “ginger group”. After this the question arose whether or not Sweden actually does have a problem. Being one of the richest countries in the world, with an egalitarian society and high trust in...

European Citizens’ Initiative: first step towards Europe 2.0

Whether we like it or not, Europe is becoming increasingly important. For that very reason, new tools are needed to increase the quality of european democracy. The European Citizens’ Initiative is a first step.. Matt Poelmans. Member of the Board, Petities.nl Foundation Democratic deficit If anything, the euro crisis has made it clear that we can not escape european cooperation. The alternative, the disintegration of the European Union (EU), has more disadvantages or brings even greater consequences and costs. In his recent book “The Hound of Tišma, What if Europe collapsed?” the Dutch historian Geert Mak notes that postponing decisions tends to makethe final solution even more difficult. Whether the euro will be a failure or a success, does not depend so much on what happened in the past, but rather what is awaiting us. Both supporters and opponents are right. The single currency in recent years has obscured the need for adjustments. But the euro now forces action that otherwise would also have been necessary because of diverging economic developments. The 20th century has shown how drastic and uncontrolled this can work out. The 21st century should reveal whether the awareness will rise that a better outcome can be reached through consultation. Greece is the test case. Anyway, when Europe gets more to say, the democratic deficit is increasingly a barrier. The EU political system is democratic in intent, but in practice people do not experience this. Hence the Euro scepticism is understandable. But instead of waiting until this changes for the better, we might as well seize the opportunity to create the requirements for further integration. European...