Edward Strasser is CEO of the Innovation in Politics Institute and one of our founders. His professional career includes positions in politics and public relations. He has been a partner at the Skills Group, a leading Austrian PR firm. Before that, Edward was a member of the staff of the Secretary-General of the Social Democratic Party in Austria. He has initiated several political projects, including a press agency for migrant issues, and was co-founder of, an internet-based crowdfunding platform for civil society projects. Before that, he was General Manager of the Austrian Institute for Applied Telecommunications (OIAT) and a lecturer at the University of Vienna’s Department of Communication as well as Secretary-General of the Austrian Association of Public Relations Professionals for several years. His political work focuses on bridge-building projects and cooperation across the political spectrum.

BELGIUM / The Netherlands / Luxembourg

08 October 2019, 08WS734 - New ways to engage with citizens through permanent and structured consultations
Belgium - Brussels - October 2019

©European Union / PHILIPPE BUISSIN


Stephen Boucher is the founder and CEO of dreamocracy, a think and do tank dedicated to mobilising collective intelligence for the common good. He is the co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intelligence for Democracy and Governance (forthcoming, 2022) and the author of the Petit manuel de créativité politique – Comment libérer l’audace collective (“Little manual of political creativity”). He was previously CEO of, France’s largest online media on sustainable lifestyles, and director for European policy at the European Climate Foundation (ECF). A Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Sciences Po Paris graduate, he co-directed the Jacques Delors Institute for four years before the ECF. He currently teaches on matters related to policy innovation, civic techs and political influence at Sciences Po in Paris, the Solvay Brussels School and the Université Catholique de Louvain.



Alexander Dourchev is the Founder and CEO of All Channels Communication Group – the major Bulgarian independent communication group with more than 90 consultants in Sofia and Vienna. Together with his dynamic team, he is one of the most-awarded Eastern European communication experts. All Channels has won three Forbes Awards for the Best Business Strategy for SME and Best Client Service Policy in Bulgaria, among others. Alexander is a professor at the American University in Bulgaria and Sofia University. He has a PhD in Communication and Media studies and three Masters degrees in Public Relations, Business Administration and Political Management. Alexander was the Chairman of the Bulgarian Association of PR Agencies from 2011-2014 and its deputy chairman between 2009 and 2011.



Dalia Bankauskaitė is an Adjunct Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C and Media Program Director at Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis (VIPA). Her research focus is strategic communication, society’s resilience and trust building, society’s mobilization and motivation as state crafting. She has extensive professional experience in dealing with the public and private sectors in integrated communication and marketing, and project management in Lithuania, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia in the field of European integration. In addition, she has diplomatic experience with the Lithuanian Embassy in Moscow. Ms. Bankauskaitė holds a Master’s degree from the LSE, UK and EMBA from Baltic Management Institute (BMI) in Lithuania.


Dorina Ofrim

Dorina Ofrim has over 20 years of experience in building trust based relationship with clients, with a proven track record of leading programs in multi-functional, multi-cultural environments within business, governmental and non-profit organizations. This led her to bringing together industry leaders and top-notch researchers in maturing disruptive ideas to challenge the future and impact the public debate. She has a good knowledge & understanding of the world’s top-tier higher level education academic environment allowing to link business to innovation.

As a dynamic, forward-thinking and entrepreneurial person with strong leadership skills and experience, Dorina excels in highly challenging situations; she approaches them with both mental and emotional intelligence. She has a wide ranging experience in science, innovation, international relations as well as culture in global contexts. Moving constantly between broad analytical inputs and execution at the cutting edge of global research and innovation networks. She has demonstrated successful leadership in policy in very large, very complex international research projects.


Marie Wutzler

Marie Wutzler has been with the Innovation in Politics Institute since 2019, and is the head of our Berlin office. She has led several projects with political parties across Europe. In March 2023, she became the programme manager for PartyParty. Prior to joining the Institute, Marie co-founded ToolFest – a festival focusing on innovation methods. She holds a Master’s degree in National and International Administration and Policy from the University of Potsdam and studied at the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso Plattner Institute.



Dimitris is a Physicist with post-graduate studies in Astrophysics, in Athens University. But after jobs with a leading IT magazine throughout the 90’s, IBM Hellas’ Corporate Communication Department, from 1993 as Manager of Communication and Head of the Press Office for Greece, Dimitris became the Managing Director of OgilvyOne. In 2005, he left Ogilvy Group for Communication Effect, the Edelman affiliate in Greece and 3 years later joined OUT OF THE BOX PR agency, becoming a Managing Partner. OUT OF THE BOX covers the full spectrum of Public Relations services. Dimitris also serves, as Secretary General, on the board of EDEE (Hellenic Association of Advertising and Communication Agencies) and represents Greece at ICCO (International Communication Consultancies Organization).



Joan O’Flynn has over 20 years of extensive experience of working on social policy, equality and community development issues within the public and voluntary sectors. Joan also teaches social policy and policy communications and is a Board member of the Irish Penal Reform Trust.



Martin Slater is the founder and CEO of Noesis Group, one of Italy’s leading communication companies. He has broad experience of working in both the private and public sectors. After obtaining a degree from the University of Essex he went on to complete a PHD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specialising in the study of european politics, Martin then taught and carried out research for several years at the Universities of Harvard, Clark (both USA), Essex (UK) and Turin (Italy) before moving to the UK treasury where he advised ministers on agricultural and trade policies. In 1992, Slater set up a communications company in Milan. Previously, he had done extensive research on Italian politics and had also been a professor at Turin University. Martin had developed extensive networks within Italy. Running a business gave him a new perspective in understanding the importance of the political area to the economic, social and cultural development of the country. “politicians can make a real difference to people’s lives, both positively and negatively.”



Julia Kozak is a member of the council of experts at think tank (an independent analysis centre serving as a platform for the exchange of experience and views on management, leadership and globalisation issues) and the Polish academy of PR experts. She has 20 years of extensive experience in the field of integrated communication. She established the Polish office of FleishmanHillard, an international public relations and integrated communication agency, and led the company for 13 years. Julia and her team started one of the first public affairs companies in Poland. She has managed projects and communications for leading Polish and international companies and institutions. Julia has worked with teams from over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, planned communication activities for more than 200 companies and private and public organisations, winning a number of Polish and international industry awards. She was the Vice President of the Association of Public Relations Companies (PPRCA) for four years and a member of the American Chamber of Commerce for 11 years.


Michaela Benedigová

Michaela Benedigová is the Managing Partner and Director at Seesame, the largest Slovakian PR agency. Being on of the founders of the Slovakian PR-Scene, Michaela has been able to share her know-how for Reputation Management and Communication as a lecturer at the Technical University of Bratislava since 2003. In addition, she has been working as an advisor to the Mayor of Bratislava since 2019. Her other areas of activity include the vice presidency and membership of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia. In the past, Michaela Benedigová was also engaged as a lecturer for Public Relations and Reputation Management at the Pan European University Bratislava and works for Magna, a humanitarian organization.


David Leal

David Leal is an economist, PhD researcher in Sociology, system innovation consultant and dialogue facilitator passionate about unleashing collective intelligence to tackle our greatest challenges. He develops and applies networked governance methods which effectively support transformational leadership in administrations, companies and NGOs. He has applied his expertise in projects associated to municipalities (Madrid, Barcelona), regional governments (Castilla y León) and Erasmus+ projects, among others. He has 12 years of experience helping to catalyze change in the frontlines in fields ranging from refugee inclusion, rural development, entrepreneurship development, Education 4.0, sustainable agriculture to public health promotion. He is a fellow researcher of the Communication Networks & Social Change research group at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, where he looks into improving policy-making processes through the citizen engagement platform David has helped to design and execute participatory processes at MedialabPrado, Altekio, SenseTribe, and Platoniq, with six years of experience as a professor in the leadership studies field at Universidad Isabel I. He collaborates as associate Editor of The Smart Citizen portal and is cofounder and president of the Coincidimos Project.



Lisa Pelling is the Chief Analyst at Stockholm-based independent think tank Arena Idé, which is financed primarily by the Swedish Trade Union Movement. Arena Idé is part of the Arena Group, together with the publishing House Atlas, Communications and Campaign Consultancy Arena Opinion and leading Cultural and Political Magazine Arena. Lisa was appointed Political Advisor to the Swedish Minister for Development and Migration in 2002 and to the Swedish Foreign Minister in 2005. Before joining Arena Idé in 2013 she was the Programme Manager for Migration at Global Challenge, a think tank. In the same year, she completed a PHD in Political Science at the University of Vienna. Lisa Pelling is a columnist for Daily Digital Newspaper Dagens Arena and often appears as an expert and commentator in other media, such as Swedish State Television SVT and Public Service Radio SR.

United kingdom

Laura Thomas

Laura Thomas has been working with the Innovation in Politics Institute for a number of years as a freelance text-editor. During her time in Vienna, she worked as an English language teacher — an experience which gave her a greater awareness of the importance of the education system, as well as a deeper insight into the challenges it faces. Prior to this, Laura gained a Master’s in Global Health from Copenhagen University which enabled her to view global issues through a multidisciplinary lens. During this time, she developed her knowledge of sustainable agricultural systems and her understanding of the impact of environmental degradation on human health — a topic which she remains passionate about.