From mini publics to maxi publics 🇬🇧

How to scale high-quality deliberation with digital meansLink zur Session

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Deliberative Wave has taken a digital turn: public authorities increasingly transfer high-quality deliberation formats online, be it citizen assemblies, panels, or councils. However, most digital deliberation processes still only involve small groups of participants. How can we scale-up high-quality deliberation formats using digital tools? What can we learn from global best practice examples of digital or hybrid mass participation? And which learnings can be transferred to the German and EU context?

Labeled the Deliberative Wave by the OECD, public authorities across all continents and levels of government increasingly make use of deliberation to involve citizens in policy decisions. Following quality criteria of inclusivity, deliberation, and effectiveness, dialogue-based participation formats bear the potential of deeply engaging participants in political processes and leading to high-quality policy recommendations. However, most conventional deliberative formats count on small numbers of randomly selected participants to ensure personal exchange and in-depth discussions. Thus, few people get the opportunity to participate.

While Covid-19 has facilitated a transfer of citizen assemblies to the digital sphere, the focus has largely remained on maintaining a high quality of deliberation, rather than involving more participants. Could the use of digital tools for deliberation be taken a step further to allow more participants to join political debates? Is it possible to scale-up deliberation without deteriorating quality of discussion, outputs, and participants’ experience? Are “deliberation” and “mass participation” at all reconcilable? And, if yes, how? To address these questions, let’s learn from global forerunners.

Moderated by Anna Rachel Heckhausen from the Bertelsmann Stiftung, participation experts Ekatarina Petrikevich, Weiyu Kim Strandberg will provide insights into global best practice examples of digital or hybrid high-quality mass-participation. Together, the hosts will engage with the audience discussing key learnings from the examples and their applicability to the German and EU context.


Anna Rachel Heckhausen (Junior Project Manager „Democracy and Participation in Europe“ at the Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Ekaterina Petrikevich (Co-founder and International Director of Participation Factory)

Kim Strandberg (Professor at Ă…bo Akademi University)

Weiyu Zhang (Director of Civic Tech Lab)

Session-Partner: Bertelsmann Stiftung
Mi 13:00 - 13:45
100 max
Englischsprachige Sessions