Our Projects

Project 1: Design, Implementation and Analysis Tool (DIA Tool) for Citizens’ Assemblies in Switzerland

The DIA Tool project aims to develop an instrument that enables citizens’ assemblies to be planned, implemented and analysed. In order to develop a first prototype, we will be following the first national citizens’ council/assembly on a Common Food Policy (www.buergerinnenrat.ch) through involvement in the research process. We will not only analyse and assess all the stages and the public perception of the proceedings but also its efficiency. From this we will develop a first prototype, which will enable us to design, implement and analyse the next national citizens’ assembly from start to finish. From this further cycle we will then develop the final tool. The aim is to develop a method that is as adapted as possible to the Swiss setting and which will enable such citizens’ councils to be used as a democracy-strengthening instrument in a targeted and efficient way. Contexts such as the choice of the various actors in the process which complies with the need for transparency and independence should be guaranteed, as should the selection of   participants who actually represent the target population. The potential of innovative forms of dialogue and process design, such as the application of Theory U and Art of Hosting, should also be clearly embedded.


Step 1: Accompanied research of the Common Food Policy + Control group research (2022)

Step 2: Process development analysis (2022&2023)

Step 3: Apply findings in a new national prototype (2023/2024)

Step 4: Process development analysis (2023/2024)

Step 5: Tool development and publications (2024/2025)

Members involved: 
Alexandra Gavilano, Bettina Duerr, Brigitte Portner, Rafael Widmer (Assistant facilitator)

Project 2:  Anchoring Citizens’ Assemblies in the Swiss Political System

In this project, our aim is to introduce a new direct-democracy instrument into the Swiss political system in order to make faster yet democratically-supported decisions on complex issues. After discussions with actors from politics and civil society, as well as observations made during the Corona pandemic and the debate on climate protection and agriculture, it has become clear that there has to be new forms of decision-making that are also supported by the population. With the convening of citizens’ assemblies by parliament or the people, a decision reached through this form of deliberation could already be found within a year. In order that such citizens’ assemblies are not just perceived as an interesting exercise in politics, we have developed a fact sheet as a further basis for discussion.


Step 1: Sensitization and dialogues with relevant stakeholders in the Catalyst Lab(2019)

Step 2: Networking with different stakeholder – Nova Helvetia (2020/2021)

Step 3: Implement learnings in Citizen’s Democracy and adapt strategy (2021)

Step 4: 1st & 2nd round of discussions with parliamentarians for citizen’ assembly implementation as new direct democratic tool (2021/2022)

Step 5: 3rd round of discussions with parliamentarians for political motion (2023/2024)

Members involved: 
Alexandra Gavilano, Rafael Widmer

If you are interested in joining one of the projects, don’t hesitate to contact us via contact@citizens-democracy.ch

Citizens’ Democracy

Connecting Swiss deliberative democracy
initiatives & promoting Citizens’ assemblies
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