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Disrupting democracy

"Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people." - Abraham Lincoln

  • Representative democracy was created in the 18th century and reflects the environment of its time: poor communication tools and limited access to knowledge.

  • Early adopters of 21st century e-participation technology were initially protest groups, but it has not gone mainstream yet.

  • Young people are often not participating in the traditional democratic process, and the system is at a risk of being hijacked by extremes.

  • Policy-making has to address increasing complexity, and is sourcing expertise from interest groups and lobbies, while collective intelligence from citizens is not harvested.

  • Government is often acting as a centralized monopoly providing bad service at a high cost. In the industry, such behavior would be challenged by agile and innovative new entrants.

  • As geographic borders become less relevant, governments are exposed to competition between themselves (see the example of Estonia).

  • Poorer countries cannot afford expensive eGov solutions from large IT vendors, but could benefit from a bottom-up approach involving startups.

The life-cycle of policy-making: digital apps for each stage of the process


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