In the past 5 years, we’ve witnessed remarkable shifts and developments within the participation industry, catalyzed by technological advancements, shifting societal expectations, and a growing recognition of the importance of inclusive planning and decision-making processes.
From the early days of our inception, when the concept of participatory governance was still gaining traction, to the present day, where participation has become one of the central tenets of democratic societies, the industry has evolved significantly. We’ve seen a proliferation of digital tools, democratizing participation and allowing for greater accessibility and inclusivity in engagement efforts. Also, there’s been a shift towards more unconventional forms of participation, with communities embracing creativity and innovation to tackle complex challenges.
Drawing from experience and know-how, we’re excited to share some key trends that we anticipate will define the landscape of participation in 2024. These insights reflect not only our own observations but also the collective wisdom of our dedicated team and partners.
1. Civic Tech Continues to Rise: The adoption of civic technology platforms and tools has revolutionized how communities engage in decision-making. These digital platforms have democratized participation, allowing citizens to contribute their ideas and feedback remotely and in real-time, fostering greater accessibility, transparency, and inclusivity in engagement efforts. This field is here to stay and will continue to grow.
2. Unconventional Participation: Participation is no longer confined to traditional realms but is expanding into unconventional and creative territories. From revitalizing natural landmarks like mountains to repurposing spaces such as cemeteries, participation is being integrated into a wide array of projects.
3. Participation in Community Energy Projects: With the growing emphasis on sustainability, participation will play a crucial role in community energy projects. Engaging residents in planning and decision-making processes related to energy production and consumption will foster local ownership and support for sustainable energy initiatives.
4. Empowering Youth: There’s a growing focus on empowering youth within participation initiatives, beyond mere involvement in feedback gathering. Youth-led projects are emerging as platforms for fostering innovation, creativity, and civic engagement among the younger generation, empowering them as leaders and changemakers in their communities.
5. Expansion of Participation Beyond Cities: While participation efforts have historically focused on urban areas, there’s a growing trend towards broader adoption at various levels of governance. Ministries and governmental agencies are recognizing the value of participatory approaches, extending initiatives beyond city boundaries to regional, national, and international levels.
6. Organized Industry Growth in the Czech Republic: In the Czech Republic, participation is evolving into an organized industry, with a network of experts and practitioners dedicated to advancing participatory practices. This professionalization will lead to the establishment of standards, frameworks, and best practices, fostering collaboration and driving innovation in community engagement processes.
As we celebrate our 5-year milestone, Participation Factory remains committed to navigating these trends, driving positive change, and empowering communities worldwide. Join us on this journey!
Want to learn more about participatory planning and the current trends? Do you need help with a specific project? Reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org!
(cover photo: Jurek Krupowies)