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June 30, 2023

Exploring the space of new governance


We opened the first day's work by tackling a role-playing game. It was an interactive way of exploring the decision-making and engagement modes that we encounter in our daily professional and relational activities. Webinar attendees played the crew of the critically damaged spaceship Europa and experienced different decision-making approaches under challenging conditions.

From this small experiment it clearly emerged that participation and sharing of decisions produces some collective beneficial effects even when it is not really able to solve the problems to be addressed in the best possible way.

This initial awareness formed the basis of the subsequent exploration phase of the theme of participation. We have thus explored the ladder of participation and the concept of openness which can lead us to a different interpretation of the value of participation itself.

Some of the participants after surviving in space ...

We have tried to interpret the various degrees of the scale no longer as elements of increasing value, but as complementary tools with which to develop awareness. Resources to be used, alone or combined, depending on the scenarios to be faced, bearing in mind the objective to be achieved and the available resources. 

In practice we have transformed the metaphor of the ladder of participation into that of a tray of openness. The hypothesis is that this approach could be more suited to the current times and to the challenges we are now facing both at the local and at the European level.

On the second day, recalling and linking up with the previous day's activities, we tried to better understand what are the reasons for calling citizens and social forces to participate with particular reference to the concept of wisdom of the crowd.

Vila Nova de Famalicão, Dąbrowa Górnicza and Valsamoggia presented the participants with three different experiences of participatory involvement also trying to connect them to what has been explored up to now at a theoretical level (see also attached presentations).

The first case (video), from Portugal, concerned citizens participation in city strategic planning and citizens participation in community artistic practices (download presentation). The second experience (video), from Poland, reported a number of different approaches for the involvement of senior citizenship in various support and animation activities. The last (video), from Italy, was about a deliberative process on the referendum question that led to the birth of the municipality of Valsamoggia through the merger of five pre-existing municipalities (download presentation).

The last part of the day was dedicated to an introduction regarding the methodologies of deliberative democracy (video) and Sociocracy 3.0 (video). An attempt has been made to focus on the specific characteristics of the two approaches and their practical placement on the tray of openness.

An aspect of particular importance for the future could be the ability of the sociocratic method to allow participation in decision-making processes also to non-human entities such as ecosystems, natural entities with legal personality such as rivers or districts, or artificial intelligences.

Funded by European Union
Vila Nova de
Arcueil's Logo
Dąbrowa Górniczaa
Valsamoggia's Logo