COUNTRIES

AUSTRIA / HEAD OFFICE

EDWARD STRASSER (CEO)

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 respekt.net, 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
#EURegionsWeek
Belgium - Brussels - October 2019



©European Union / PHILIPPE BUISSIN

STEPHEN BOUCHER

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 consoGlobe.com, 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.

BULGARIA

ALEXANDER DOURCHEV

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.

ESTONIA / LATVIA / LITHUANIA

DALIA BANKAUSKAITĖ

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.

FRANCE

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.

GERMANY

Josef Lentsch

JOSEF LENTSCH

Josef Lentsch is Managing Partner of the Innovation in Politics Institute Germany. He has 20 years of experience in political and administrative innovation. In 2012, he became a co-founder and founding board member of NEOS, Austria’s most successful political start-up since WWII. In 2014, he became Founding Director of NEOS Lab, the party’s think and do tank. Previously, he worked as Director International at the Royal Society of Arts in London, and as co-founder and Managing Partner of UNIPORT, Austria’s largest careers service for students and graduates. In 2018, Springer published his book “Political Entrepreneurship”. Josef is passionate about designing and prototyping new policies, formats and organisations that can be scaled up to make a real difference for politicians and citizens alike. He holds an MSc in Psychology from the University of Vienna, and an MPA in Public Administration from Harvard University.

GREECE

DIMITRIS ROULIAS

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).

IRELAND

JOAN O’FLYNN

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.

ITALY

MARTIN SLATER

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.”

POLAND

JULIA KOZAK

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.

SLOVAKIA

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.

SPain

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 www.decidim.org. 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.

SWEDEN

LISA PELLING

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.

SWITZERLAND

DANIEL HELLER

Daniel is partner at Farner Consulting, Switzerlands leading Communication Consulting Agency with offices in Zurich, Bern, Lausanne and St. Gallen. He has over 30 years of experience in Strategic Leadership, Governance, Corporate Affairs and Crisis Communication. Daniel headed the Public Affairs unit at Farner Consulting, presides the Innovation Board and leads Farner’s Innovation and Startup Communications Desk. The longterm Member of the Parliament in the Canton of Aargau, Switzerland also served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Group “Freisinnig Demokratische Partei” (FDP) for ten years. Daniel is the President of the Board of Directors of the Cantonal Hospital Baden (KSB), the Clinic Barmelweid, the finance Institutes Clientis Bank Aareland and Reuss Private Group. Daniel holds a PhD in History and Political Science from the University of Zurich.

United kingdom

Ruth Hannan

Ruth Hannan is Joint Head of the People & Place programme at the RSA, leading a team of researchers and policy leads working to explore the role improved participation in policies and services can have to reduce inequalities and centre wellbeing (the ability to live a good life) in system design and delivery. She has worked in the third sector for 15 years working with unpaid carers and mental health services.

 

Riley thorold

Riley Thorold is a Researcher at the RSA, focusing primarily on new forms of participatory and deliberative democracy. He has supported the design and delivery of several deliberative processes around the UK and led the RSA’s involvement in the government-commissioned Innovation in Democracy. Prior to joining the RSA, Riley contributed to the UCL Constitution Unit’s research into deliberative democracy. He is the lead author of ‘Transitions to Participatory Democracy’, a handbook for local authorities interested in growing public participation in their area.