The Two Most Important Issues? Climate & Democracy

Excellent article by Tom Atlee...

Climate and democracy are what I call meta-issues – issues which impact virtually every other issue and therefore, I believe, have priority over all other issues. This is a controversial assertion. But I want to stress that it comes not from denial of the importance of other issues, but from caring about them from a big enough perspective to see that they can’t be successfully addressed in isolation from these two all-pervading issues which have the power to make or break everything else we are doing.
Click here to read the rest of this important article.

Tom Atlee is a brilliant observer of social systems and offers practical insights into the transformations involved in working towards wise democracy.  Tom's articles are available at

How to Catalyze Innovation - I-Teams around the world

i-teams: The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

This report tells the stories of 20 teams, units and funds established by governments and charged with making innovation happen. They work across the spectrum of innovation – from focusing on incremental improvements to aiming for radical transformations.

Key findings
  • All governments need institutions to catalyse innovation.  The best mayors and ministers recognise this and put in place i-teams, dedicated teams, units and funds, to structure and embed innovation methods and practice in government.
  • Based on our analysis, i-teams fall into one of four categories: creating solutions to solve specific challenges, engaging citizens, non-profits and businesses to find new ideas, transforming the processes, skills and culture of government, or achieving wider policy and systems change.  They are overcoming a range of issues, from reducing murder rates, making it easier to register a business, improving school performance, to booting economic growth.
  • Drawing on desk research, site visits, over 80 interviews, and a survey to analyse twenty i-teams from across six continents, the report reveals that innovation requires dedicated capacity, specific skills, methods, partnerships, and consistent political support. The study shows the ways in which these elements have been combined successfully to achieve impressive results.
  • We have created a set of 10 recommendations for other government leaders to learn from and to emulate these efforts.
Governments have pioneered some of the greatest innovations in modern history. Driven by entrepreneurial and visionary leadership, city and national governments are capable of amazing things.
But while governments can be pioneering and innovative, they can also struggle to find the space and time to invest in the future when they are responsible for delivering the services that people rely on today. Smart political leadership recognises this tendency and creates the structures, capabilities and space needed to allow innovation to happen.
These are the i-teams: the innovation teams, units and funds that are helping transform governments around the world.
Ruth Puttick, Philip Colligan, Peter Baeck

Crowdsourcing for Democracy is Online in Finland

Who makes laws? In most of the democratic world, that’s the sole preserve of elected governments. But in Finland, technology is making democracy significantly more direct.

Earlier this year, the Finnish government enabled something called a “citizens’ initiative”, through which registered voters can come up with new laws – if they can get 50,000 of their fellow citizens to back them up within six months, then the Eduskunta (the Finnish parliament) is forced to vote on the proposal (adapted from an article by David Meyer).

The Open Ministry (Avoin ministeriö) is about crowdsourcing legislation, deliberative and participatory democracy and citizens initiatives. It is a non-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland.

Open Ministry helps citizens and NGO's with national citizens' initiatives, EU citizens initiatives and developing the online services for collaborating, sharing and signing the initiatives.

See the Open Ministry website

A book is also available on this innovative approach:

January 1, 2013 - Program on Liberation Technology News

Crowdsourcing for Democracy: New Era in Policy-Making

By Tanja Aitamurto
By drawing on several cases around the world, this book illuminates the role of crowdsourcing in policy-making. From crowdsourced constitution reform in Iceland and participatory budgeting in Canada, to open innovation for services and crowdsourced federal strategy process in the United States, the book analyzes the impact of crowdsourcing on citizen agency in the public sphere. It also serves as a handbook with practical advice for successful crowdsourcing in a variety of public domains.

The book describes the evolution of crowdsourcing in its multitude of forms from innovation challenges to crowd funding. Crowdsourcing is situated in the toolkit to deploy Open Government practices.  The book summarizes the best practices for crowdsourcing and outlines the benefits and challenges of open policy-making processes.