Research Briefing June 2016

Transforming governance: how can technology help reshape democracy?

Published on 1 June 2016

Around the world, people are asking how we can make democracy work in new and better
ways. We are frustrated by political systems in which voting is the only legitimate political
act, concerned that many republics don’t have the strength or appeal to withstand
authoritarian figures, and disillusioned by the inability of many countries to address the
fundamental challenges of health, education and economic development.

If we want to create democracies in which citizens have meaningful roles in shaping
public decisions and solving public problems, we should be asking a number of questions
about civic tech, including:
• How can online tools best support new forms of democracy?
• What are the examples of how this has happened?
• What are some variables to consider in comparing these examples?
• How can we learn from each other as we move forward?

This background note has been developed to help democratic innovators explore these
questions and examine how their work can provide answers.

Cite this publication

Leighninger, M. (2016) Transforming governance: how can technology help reshape democracy? Brighton: IDS.

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Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Leighninger, Matt


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