Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Digital Transformation Process
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
- “The city of Madrid had no experience in putting up a random, lottery-like selection and a deliberative process. It was through MediaLab and the involvement of NewDemocracy that both became real. Without the two processes, Decide Madrid would have stayed as the individual participation digital platform it already was.”
- The stages of design and development of the Observatory probably have been innovative from day 0: The idea in the Area of Participation and how the team in the government formed; the design and prototyping in the Collective Intelligence for Democracy workshop and the interaction with the Area; the design of the logistics of the Observatory; the design and implementation of the facilitation of the sessions; and the processes the members of the Observatory are following to reach agreements. All have been examples of innovative processes and finally public services in Madrid.
Challenges & Bottlenecks
- “As far as the operational part, the potential issue that we can see is the lack of diverse information for citizens to make decisions. We tend to think that the Council would give citizens just limited information from limited sources.”
- “Another potential problem is related to the selection process: We have not seen a properly diverse room. In Australia, we diversify based on education level and things like earnings, but that was difficult in Madrid; they allocated quotas to certain parts of Madrid trying to cover the economic certification in the room. People who are more educated and better off are more inclined to participate in this process, and they tend to group together in the decisions.” Coincidentally, “after the first draw and election of the members of the Observatory, we realised that certain groups of people have voluntarily declined participation (blacks and other ethnic minorities). We have spotted people that are not feeling part of the city, and we would like to know if this is something we could facilitate. Being aware of the potential biases influencing the decisions, we in the municipality government needed to be trained in how to prevent them.”
Transferability & Replicability
- “After testing and validating our design methodology for experimentation, we have four big projects (ParticipaLab among them) that could have their autonomy and start an ecology or network of labs to reach a larger population and transform it. They could even propose new ideas and adapted methods.”
- The most evident outcome of the processes described here is the Observatory itself – Madrid has now the first permanent citizens’ jury with the aim of reviewing citizens’ proposals, public policies and any topic they choose. “The process went really well. There was a confluence of interests and desires and they all fitted well (once in a lifetime this thing happens): from a prototype in a Lab, it went all the way to being implemented as a service development and public policy instrument. Some things we would have changed, but the final Observatory is part of a new way of negotiating by the public officials. Also, making it happen and in this short time was a big success. Ideally, this will continue and improve over time, since a design of this magnitude cannot have everything right from the outset.”
- Other complementary outcomes, some more subtle, are related to the new relationships the government has established with the experimentation practices of MediaLab (Madrid’s government-owned living lab), the internal shortcuts they have designed to establish participation in the municipality, and the learning they have got from the actual jury meetings.