Much of the conversation on public participation paradoxically focuses on the supply side: the willingness of, and the opportunities presented by, decision-makers to open up. This article, written by Edward Andersson for The Future of Public Participation: Opportunities, Limits and Challenges rejects the idea that participants are a homogenous and static cohort from which civil servants can pick participants with ease. Such a conception fails to hold true today and will be especially distanced from reality in the future. An overview of current trends reveals that we can expect participants to become more individualistic, less deferential, more diverse and increasingly demanding in the future.

In response to these changes, governments must be smart in their use of participation and rather than relying on its generic application, they must tap in to the different ways through which it is possible. This means going for quality over quantity and designing participation which responds to participants’ motivations to participate.

View the article: Participants of the Future

Image by Pieter Musterd