Interview questions on the impact of digital technology on democracy and social inequality

Dear @audreyt and the PDIS community,

Our company D21 is serving as rapporteur as part of the EU’s Digital Single Market midterm review. Our specific task is to identify the most important emerging trends concerning the impact of digital technology on democracy and social inequality, and make policy recommendations.

We believe that your pioneering work in Taiwan should be brought to the attention of the EU policymakers to promote similar initiatives in Europe. So we’re looking forward to your response to the following questions:

  1. The ‘always on’ problem. Given instant communication and proliferation of channels, how do you think we should manage citizen expectations regarding government responsiveness? Conversely, how do we prevent ‘participation fatigue’ on the part of citizens?

  2. Big data vs. citizen dialogue. What are best principles on how to blend the two in an open policymaking process? What are some good cases where this was done well?

  3. Informed citizenship. How best to get high-quality, factual information into the hands of citizens prior to their participation? Where has this been done well?

  4. Inequality. What are smartest ways in which participatory channels can help close political, economic, and digital divides? Where has this been done well?

  5. Policy support ‘from above’. What are the most effective policy levers for a regional/national/supranational government to support democratic innovation at the local level? (E.g. mandates; pooled funds; ‘scale-up’ initiatives; other incentives?)

Thank you for all of your responses!

D21 Team

  1. Standard CRM techniques apply: De-duplication of input questions into public FAQs, a brief context of “synthesis document”, and a full audit trail generated in the flow of work. See for an example.

  2. Privacy need to be ensured at collection site; analysis models need to be made open along with the raw data; crowd-funded civic media need to collaborate with public sectors. The recent 3 stories at are all good cases.

  3. The platform automatically turns every scheduled regulation and every major government project into a discussion area, with an open data pipeline that channels between internal project management systems and the public. A cross-sectoral team also publishes international observations as part of platform which focuses on digital economy rulemaking.

  4. Assistive civic tech, with an aim of allowing mentally and physically disadvantaged stakeholders to speak for themselves, not through proxies, is demonstrated in Taipei’s Social Housing deliberation.

  5. Each government has a different political context and so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. My personal approach is “optimize for fun”, which turns the “above” around — which is why I call myself “a public servant of public servants”.

Similarly, facilitates cross-ministry collaborative learning of participation officers (1-3 career public servants from each ministry), through weekly, monthly and quarterly sessions, with policymaking power through guaranteed escalation to the weekly Premier meeting.