1. Be able to express urgent needs
Many politicians, civil servants and political decision-makers have been overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the (new) tasks they have faced and the decisions that they have had to make to manage this crisis. Rather than focusing on the imperfections of government, decision-makers should embrace the challenge and understand that they can energise their communities and stakeholders in times of turmoil. To do this, they need to be able to articulate their needs so that help can create value immediately. This way, new and innovative solutions are created quickly, and democracy as a whole is strengthened. Many administrations have shown that they can follow this principle, for instance by organising large scale hackathons or calling for help with providing government services.
2. Support communities in their efforts to self-organise
What the coronavirus crisis has clearly shown is that communities are able to organise themselves very quickly. We have seen people programming apps in order to establish regional support systems, organisations taking care of the elderly, institutions providing free rooms for the most vulnerable members of society, and an increase in local business platforms. Meanwhile, governments have created crowdsourcing platforms and launched public volunteer programmes. The crisis has proven that citizens are willing and able to take action themselves and that governments should focus on providing professional support to such individuals and/or groups who take the initiative.
3. Provide information on measures to all citizens
Although governments have published their measures on websites and in the media, it is imperative to understand that different target groups need to be reached using different channels and different content. This has forced decision-makers to develop innovative formats and methods. We have seen many different approaches, ranging from media conferences for children to special messaging services aimed at migrant groups, as well as governments issuing calls to develop formats to reach all of the different audiences.
4. Bring about innovations in democracy
Digitalisation should be top of policymakers’ agendas when it comes to developing democracy. We have seen political institutions providing virtual tours, as well as city councils going digital. But there still seems to be much more potential for enhanced digitalisation of services provided by parliaments, councils and other bodies. Politicians and decision-makers need to realise that in order to shape the societies of the future, they have to develop plans to revitalise democracy. Digital council meetings may not be the ultimate goal, but they are a good start.
We are continuing to research, review and upload initiatives, so our platform will carry on growing. If you would like to contribute, please send us details of innovative measures you know about (follow this link).