How it works

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What role does technology play in the current crisis of liberal democracy in Europe? Is it simply part of the problem? Or can technology be part of the solution?

The role of the Chatham House Commission on Democracy and Technology was to explore the questions of democratic governance raised by technological change, and to recommend practical policies to politicians, business leaders and others.

Our Commission was led by a panel of 13 experts on democracy and technology, but anyone with insights, ideas or evidence about democracy and technology was invited to contribute and join the discussions through the process described below.

The open research process took place in five phases between autumn 2018 and autumn 2019 and the steps below describe how we went about it.

Phase 1: Building a community

September 2018–January 2019

During the first phase of the project, we focused on building our panel of experts. We also began publishing articles and explainers to get the debate started and reaching out to anyone and everyone who can help.

By the end of Phase 1 we published the list of core questions our project will focus on going forward.

Phase 2: Gathering evidence

March-June 2019

In phase 2, we opened the collaborative part of the project by inviting evidence around our research questions from anyone who had ideas and insights to contribute. By the end of Phase 2 we had a comprehensive repository of discussions, testimony and data – all the things we need to sift through to answer our core questions.

You can read all the submissions here.

Phase 3: Generating ideas

July-August 2019

In phase 3, users were split into groups to sift through the evidence on each question. We hosted a number of collaborative working sessions in August 2019 where we invited users to work together in Google Docs on answering the three core questions by using submissions from the previous stage and any new insights.

The process was facilitated by our friends at the Democratic Society, Areeq Chowdhury (WebRoots Democracy) and Ásta Guðrún Helgadóttir. Summary documents, which included recommendations that came out of this stage, served as direct input into the final research report.

Phase 4: Reaching conclusions

August-December 2019

Findings and recommendations were integrated into a draft research report, which was then discussed with our Commission members and peer reviewed.

Phase 5: Launch

March 2020

Our final research report was published by Chatham House in March 2020.

You can read the full report on the Chatham House website. If you have any questions about the project, please get in touch with a member of the team.

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