From November 2017 to March 2018 the EU Policy Lab ran a series of highly relevant and timely discussions on the role of government today and in the future from a citizen perspective. Together with partner policy labs and universities in six Member States – Austria, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Spain and Sweden – and through an additional workshop with European civil society organizations and think tanks in Brussels, we were able to launch a dialogue with around 130 citizens. The different countries allowed covering a broad variety of different cultural backgrounds and government styles. The participants were heterogeneous in their demographic structure and in their degree of political engagement. Besides citizens, we had business representatives, civil servants, and other stakeholders involved.
In each workshop we worked in small groups. In that way we managed to run about 20 dialogues in total, discussing citizens’ experiences with participation in political decision making and public services. By immersing the participants into the future, approximately 20 futures, in the year 2030 and beyond, were speculated. This allowed them to rethink the “what if…” question about possible future relationships of citizens with government. In order to think from the perspective of a future citizen, each group created a fictive persona and a story of a day in life of that persona. The obtained futures are currently analysed to develop overarching scenarios of the year 2030+. They will be further used as a basis to ideate future models of government.
In these workshops, we used an innovative approach that combines methods of foresight, futuring and design thinking. The workshop approach was co-designed by foresighters, designers and participation specialists.
EU Policy Lab wants to thank to all the participants for sharing their ideas and their time, as well as to all of our partners throughout Europe:
- GovLab Austria: Ursula Rosenbichler, Goran Jokic, Stephan Mathes, Alexander Gruenwald
- Service rePublic, Cork County Council: Julianne Coughlan and team, Simon O’Rafferty, Design Researcher EPA Irleand, Shane Waring, Dublin City Council
- University of Malta, Department of Public Policy: Anne Marie Thake, George Vital Zammit and colleagues
- Engage Warsaw: Marta Szymborska, Agnieszka Sikorska and colleagues
- Media Lab Prado, Madrid City Council: Saya Sauliere, Rebeca Diez
- eGovlab, Stockholm University: Vasilis Koulolias, Oxana Casu, Pooyeh Mobini and colleagues