As a part of dialogue on today’s and future needs of the governments and on the alternative forms of government (Future of government 2030+ project), the EU Policy Lab – in collaboration with Policy labs from 6 different countries, is organising workshops with citizens to understand their needs and relationship with the government today and in the future.

The first citizen workshop took place on December 10th, in Warsaw (Poland). It was run by Engage Warsaw, a local non-governmental organisation which focuses on public service design. During 4-hour, an heterogeneous group of 20 citizens recruited on the basis of their demographic characteristics and the degree of involvement in politics was involved in the discussion. Engage Warsaw’s designers and researchers used a combination of methodologies (co-developed with the EU Policy Lab) coming from focus groups and design thinking techniques.

Credit: Engage Warsaw

The workshop was organized around three areas: today’s relationship between citizens and governments, future perspectives and ideas on the future of government. As these were very abstract concepts for the participants, Engage Warsaw “translated” them into more understandable notions. The first step was to define the impact that government (at different levels) had on their lives. The second step was to give an idea of the speed of changes in the contemporary world. After discussing the major changes in participants’ lives, six main factors of change were analysed. All six factors were prepared by Engage Warsaw experts and described with examples from the everyday life: digitalisation, privatisation of public services, citizen influence on decision making, business influence on decision making, trust and transparency, sustainable development.

Credit: Engage Warsaw

Last but not least, three different personas were proposed to the groups. The task was to imagine how theirs lives will look like in 2030. The participants could relate to their personas and, thanks to the storytelling technique, express their intuitions about the future. It was an important task for each group facilitator to keep the stories realistic. Participants were not supposed to express their hopes of the better future, but their beliefs on how the future would actually look like.

Credit: Engage Warsaw

It should be noted that the participants to the workshop were people who do not deal with policy making nor work on this issues on a daily basis. Therefore, Engage Warsaw had to pay attention to the terminology and to make sure the tasks were clearly understood. The objective of this workshop was not an easy one, but when the facilitation job is done well, we can learn a lot from the citizens’ experience.

This post has been written in collaboration with Engage Warsaw’s team

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