The current societal climate is shaking our democracies to their core. Europe and its states are suffering from the defiance of citizens towards their institutions, which they see as out of touch with their concerns. In suspending some of our actions, drawing out the electoral process and generating a sense of confusion, the public health crisis has only reinforced this belief. Yet at the same time, a clear trend has emerged. Citizens are seeking to commit in other ways in order to tackle climate, environmental and social emergencies, with online forums, spontaneous mobilisations, direct contributions, other forms of civic engagement and desires expressed through new collective concepts. This movement was cemented at the peak of the crisis by many spontaneous acts of solidarity and a profound change in discussions on how our societies function.
In addition, the World Design Policy Conference aims to study design as a tool of resilience for our democracies. Here, we have an opportunity to explore and identify what design brings to the very heart of the democratic process.
“Frankly, we underinvest in democratic experimentation. We need to be more responsive in terms of proof of concept; in other words, see how we can test – in a frugal, simple way – elements of solutions and then attempt to scale them on a departmental, regional and national level. As such, civil society should be given more of a right to initiative and experimentation, after which politicians can take over in terms of evaluation, or at least share this evaluation with their own expert authorities, and then decide if and how the tested solutions are rolled out.” Cynthia Fleury – Philosopher