Thinking critically about political innovation

This is a statement of the aims of the political innovation project, agreed by the core team.

This project is intended to help improve understanding of how democracy works in a changing world.

We support more participative and interactive forms of policy-making. We recognise that our existing democratic settlements are intended, at least in part, to protect the majority from an active or well-resourced minority trying to impose their interests or beliefs upon others.

Our work seeks to ensure that these safeguards are not lost during a period of rapid change. We want to make it easier for the public to hold government to account – to ensure that policy-making is fair and rational and that government and our elected representatives are not unduly swayed by sectional lobbies, cloaked agendas or cynical campaigning.

We want to ensure that legislation is not the by-product of well-funded lobbying or cynically selective approaches to research. We will explore new approaches to inclusive policy making and deliberative democratic debate.

New technologies allow more people to collaborate more often, to co-create more easily than ever before. A growing section of the public can now access data, analyse it and present it in ways that add value to debate. We want to ensure that more of us have the skills to take part effectively in democracy. We are also concerned that those who are in possession of these skills are able to use them to enable – rather than control – public discourse.

From improving information literacy to adopting games-based approaches to policy and engagement, we are about finding better ways of involving people who were distant from traditional policy-making circles.

The growing and accessible amount of information about public preferences, sentiment, values and knowledge provides new evidence and perspectives for policy-makers. We want to find new and more effective ways to harness this for better policy outcomes.

We will work to promote political innovation by organising events, building networks, promoting projects, conducting research and producing multimedia materials designed to help to build this conversation throughout the UK, Ireland and beyond.