Voices from the Citzens’ Jury of the Innovation in Politics Awards

In a world where the complexities of politics and governance often seem distant to the everyday citizen, initiatives like the Innovation in Politics Awards serve as a source of hope, showing the way towards a more inclusive, transparent, and innovative future for society. 

The Citizens’ Jury plays a central role in evaluating the most prominent examples for innovation in politics. We present three of our remarkable Citizen Jurors who had the opportunity of not only participating in the Citizens’ Jury this year but also winning the raffle to attend the prestigious Gala in Barcelona. 

Read their stories and reflections on the experience.

Dr. Sandeep Sandhu – Championing Innovation from the UK

Dr. Sandeep Sandhu is the Head of Stakeholder Relationships at Innovate UK Business Connect – the UK’s innovation agency. She develops and enhances strategic relationships between government, academia and industry to accelerate innovation in the UK and globally

Sandeep expressed, “The Innovation in Politics Awards provides a platform for people who have innovative solutions to the challenges we face across Europe. I wanted to play an active role in accelerating these innovations into meaningful change – acting as a juror allowed me to do this and gave me huge insights into the multitude of ideas and creative innovations that could make a huge difference to our world.”

Reflecting on her participation, Sandeep emphasized, “That you don’t have to work in innovation to create. This type of programme encourages people from all backgrounds with creative and innovative solutions to step forward and share their solutions to some of the most pressing challenges they face.” She was impressed by the range of solutions put forward and wondered “why we don’t engage citizens more in solution creation”.

To Sandeep, innovation in politics means, “ensuring democracy is protected for all as time and technology change.”

Alexander Grünwald – Advocating for Public Participation and Educational Innovation from Austria

From Vienna, Austria, Alexander Grünwald brought over 15 years of project management experience in the public and private sectors in Austria and Germany. He is currently a project manager, consultant and lecturer at gLAB, supporting organisations and individuals in creating value, improving performance and navigating change.

Alexander shared, “Participating as a juror in the Innovation in Politics Awards has given me a great opportunity to help identify and celebrate political innovations that address today’s challenges and build a better future for us all.” 

Through his participation, Alexander learned, “the immense value of bottom-up initiatives and intersectoral collaborations in addressing societal challenges. Engaging with a diversity of ideas and solutions has reinforced my belief in the transformative power of innovation in the public sector, and underlined the crucial role of citizens and other stakeholders in shaping effective governance and policy-making.”

To Alexander, innovation in politics entails, “introducing new ideas, processes, and tools to improve the way governments operate and policies are crafted. ⁤⁤It involves harnessing creativity, collaboration, and technology to effectively address societal challenges, build trust and boost engagement, and ensure that governments are more efficient, transparent, and responsive to the needs of citizens. ⁤”

Anca Gherle – Bridging Divides between the Private and Public Sector in Romania

Anca Gherle is the Country Director at Aretera Public Affairs in Romania. She has over 14 years of experience in national, European public administration and public affairs leadership. Currently, Anca’s focus is establishing innovative projects between the private and public sector, using her expertise in AI regulatory framework’s and digital projects implementation.

Anca articulated, “The biggest lesson I learned during my career is that a country can reach its full potential only through participatory governance and I believe I did my best to advocate for the participation and contribution of citizens in the process making, while developing projects that can facilitate this essential collaboration between communities and public officials.” Her decision to participate as a Citizen Juror is based on the belief that “a society grows great only through innovation, collaboration and true implication of valuable citizens”.

Through her involvement, Anca gained “insights and new ideas from all the participants. I think that we, as citizens, can find the right answers in order to develop a stronger impactful democracy that aims to protect human rights, integrate all the citizens and also help grow the economy of the countries that have a direct impact upon the people’s lives and well-being.”

To Anca, innovation in politics means, “the introduction of new technologies and addressing the real challenges we are facing by creating and advocating for an environment of citizenship participation and collaboration with national and local administrations.”

Learn more about the Innovation in Politics Awards and discover this year’s finalist projects selected by the Citizens’ Jury here: https://awards.innovationinpolitics.eu/