Introducing Democracy Labs: Shaping the Future of Democratic Innovation

Democracy Labs emerge as pioneering spaces for citizen-centred and multi-stakeholder collaboration aimed at fostering democratic innovation. Based on a Policy Lab approach, they serve as dynamic arenas where citizens, policymakers, bureaucrats, researchers, experts, and various stakeholders converge to co-create solutions that enhance our democratic systems.

At the core of Democracy Labs are democratic innovations – processes designed to empower citizens in influencing public policies and addressing societal challenges. By facilitating deliberation, participation, and engagement, these innovations aim to elevate the quality of democracies while promoting civic involvement.

“Democracy Labs represent a pivotal shift in how we approach democracy,” says Inês Campos, postdoctoral researcher at Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa and coordinator of the INCITE-DEM project. “Every one of us, as a citizen, has felt the disenchantment with traditional democratic structures and the polarisation spreading across Europe. What our Democracy Labs offer is the exciting idea that every person can actively shape the decisions that affect their lives, fostering a more inclusive and resilient democracy.”

Democracy Labs provide space to a diverse array of participants, including citizens, policymakers, researchers, and experts. Through collaborative efforts, these stakeholders work towards generating impactful solutions and fostering meaningful dialogue between marginalised communities and mainstream institutions.

Furthermore, Democracy Labs embrace digitalization and new technologies to amplify citizen participation and engagement. By leveraging digital platforms, Democracy Labs aim to create transparent feedback mechanisms and bridge the gap between citizens and decision-makers.

“Democracy Labs are spaces for sensemaking, ideation, and co-creation of insights into the future of democracy – collaborative environments where people gather to explore innovative approaches to bolster democracy,” says David Lamas, professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Tallinn University’s School of Digital Technologies leader of INCITE-DEM’s Democracy Labs work-package.

Democracy Labs operate through a generative design research and design fiction methodology, culminating in multimedia products that envision the future of democratic innovations. These products, including short stories and videos, offer glimpses into potential scenarios shaped by co-created democratic innovations.

Democracy Labs will be set up in six European cities:

  • Trondheim (18-19 April)
  • Lisbon (10-11 May)
  • Rome (28-29 May)
  • Potsdam (1-2 October)
  • Barcelona (17-18 October)
  • Ljubljana (week of 11-15 November).

For more information on Democracy Labs, please visit: