The book, “100 Faces of Innovation,” has been launched recently. It is the result of enormous work made by its 100 authors and coordinators. So, congratulations Mihaela Nicola and Marius Stoian! I write an article about participative democracy serving as foundation for efficient policy making. I go into detail regarding advantages and barriers of citizen engagement, the characteristics of an ideal and more efficient participatory model and a case study on our SMART Method of Public Policy.
The conclusions are quite simple. Citizen engagement in policy making using various participatory models can improve the capacity of public authorities to solve community problems of local, national and international levels. When citizens and governments are working together, the latter are more efficient and effective in addressing community needs because the elected and appointed officials have more and better resources at their disposal. The participatory tools that we are using, rely on the provisions of some laws that are asking public institutions to be somewhat transparent. These are not all the time known by people, promoted or inclusive. People get involved in policy making to raise their standard of living, so they are more likely to participate when the policies are directly affecting their personal lives. That is why participation at the local level is greater than at national or international levels. Also, it is easier and faster to affect change at the local level than at national or international levels. Both online and offline engagement tools come with advantages and disadvantages. If they are mixed, they can generate more efficient tools, building on the advantages of the two. However, it is important that they manage to make success stories of citizen engagement that would serve as means to improve participation and build confidence in people’s abilities to affect change.