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POLITEIA 2.0: Democracy is being reborn by citizens

Athens, GreeceAthens, Greece
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

POLITEIA 2.0 is a platform for political innovation that develops digital and physical applications for the reinvention of Democracy. Information campaigns, web apps, educational trainings, cultural events and social design labs aim to create new theories and applications of Democracy for Greece.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if Greece could give birth to new forms of Democracy and civic engagement? What if Athens could become a global centre for innovation in Politics?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Greece, policy and decision making processes at local and national level fail to facilitate creativity, cross-sector collaboration, citizens' participation and social innovation. Political institutions are controlled by closed networks of power and private interests that impede openness, trust, participation and transparency. Globally, political structures fail to keep up with the social challenges and technological progresses of our times.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We explore new forms of Democracy and Politics and create a global R&I Centre in Athens: We map, connect, empower and promote Civil Society initiatives and activists supporting Democracy. We document, visualize and disseminate information on the Democratic Deficit and on contemporary theories and practices of Democracy. We design and produce exemplary experiential opportunities of democratic dialogue and participatory decision-making. We initiate a public dialogue for the need for a New Constitution for Greece and provide a practical manual for its participatory design through Citizens’ Workshops. We organize open social, educational and cultural events to discuss, inquire, discover and collectively design new applications of Democracy.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ioanna is very concerned about the future of her country. She has lost trust in political parties and faith in ideologies, yet she has a number of very specific and practical ideas on how to improve state functioning in Greece. Through Politeia 2.0 she has the opportunity to network with like-minded people, read information and share viral material on the democratic deficit and the possibilities of Democracy in today's world. She can participate in citizens' workshops for policy-making, related events and trainings and make her ideas heard and spread. She can develop her own project and gain access to know-how and support. She can regain faith in Politics and be part of a rebirth process of what unites us as a nation.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2012 Politeia 2.0 won the Audience Award at the EU Investment Bank Social Innovation Tournament. It has been presented at the EU Parliament and several conferences abroad and has received international media attention. Over 10.000 citizens from 18 countries receive our newsletter while our DemocracyReborn.org campaign is gaining momentum. For 2015 we are coorganising a global interdisciplinary conference on Democracy in Athens with prestigious partners. We have run 3 sold out trainings on participatory leadership and two pilot citizens' workshops for the bottom-up design of a New Constitution for Greece. Feedback forms confirm the enthusiasm and shift in perspective experienced by participants while invitations from local teams in 10 other Greek cities show the ripple effect that this project can have through clustering of teams, trainings, workshops and information campaigns.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

POLITEIA 2.0 can act as a facilitator and accelerator of political change for Greece with a global ripple effect. The idea is to develop and document participatory decision-making processes that can be replicated in other Greek cities by local teams using interactive manuals and coaching. Building a community of practice in participatory leadership, we create prototype projects for Democracy through action research. Hence the full impact potential is to have a viral communication campaign and events all over the country that will positively affect our political reality .

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The business plan of POLITEIA 2.0 consists of non-profit and for-profit elements. Trainings, conferences, summer schools and events are self-funded with participation fees, private and public sponsorships. Communication tools such as web apps and creative merchandise enter the market as competitive products. Citizens' workshops need to be based on crowdfunding in order to ensure the independency and transparency of the constitutional process.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our marketplace consists of stakeholders from the public and social sector (municipalities, ministries, NGOs, social enterprises) that seek to explore/learn/apply participatory decision-making processes and use novel technological democratic tools. Unlike many initiatives that promote specific democratic ideas such as referenda or sortition, often with a stong ideological stigma, POLITEIA 2.0 focuses on process, that is the creation of space, skills and tools for the reinvention of Democracy, leaving the question of content open for participants to shape.

Founding Story

Since 2009, we have been involved in the design and execution of some of the most successful Citizens’ Engagement projects in Greece, including Imagine the City, IDEA|TOPOS and SynAthina. Recognising the institutional obstacles that inhibit civic engagement in Greece and acknowledging the value of Democracy as a key element of our country’s identity, we decided to focus on action research for innovation in Politics. The open call of the 1st EIB Social Innovation Tournament triggered the creation of the first draft of POLITEIA 2.0 which led to an award, visibility, networking with partners and volunteers and the gradual evolution of our first teams, events and pilot workshops.


An interdisciplinary coordination team of 5 focuses on the strategic development of the project and fosters cross-sectoral partnerships, while different working groups of 5-10 focus on separate units (eg. campaign, workshops, conference). Currently all members work as volunteers however the project can absorbe 2 full time staff asap and create different business units for products/services related to the concept of Democracy.
About You
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About Your Project
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How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Athens

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Athens

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Businesses, Regional government, Customers.

Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

In the past two years, POLITEIA 2.0 has served as a physical platform enabling cross-sector collaboration for experimentation and development of new ideas and practices of participatory decision-making. Partners provide know-how, in-kind support and networking in order to host meaningful conversations and disseminate new knowlegde. These include:

- Public Authorities willing to host citizens' workshops and participatory leadership trainings (City of Athens, Europe Direct)

- Private companies willing to sponsor the production costs of events and communication applications (the Switch, Impact Hub Athens, Polis Real Estate, We the People productions, ERA conference management, VPRC polling company)

- Universities seeking to engage in action research on Citizens' Engagement issues (Copenhagen Business School, University of Vienna, Athens University)

- NGOs seeking to share know how to develop a particular unit of Politeia 2.0 (Athens Mediators, Cafe Babel, The Systemic Innovation Zone. SciFy-Science for you, Culture Polis)

- Citizens' initiatives advocating for Democracy (Dimokratia Ideon, Dimovoulio Politon, Klirosi, Referendums for Greece, Initiative for radical constitutional change)

The development of interdisciplinary clusters lies at the core of our strategy in order to explore systemic change and foster social innovation.