Headline: Governing in Times of Digitalisation and the Crisis of Democracy: Policy Brief Points the Way to Innovative Governance

Digitalisation is changing not only how we live and work, but also how governments operate and make laws. Synthetic biology and new genetic engineering methods allow for targeted interventions in our bodies, quality of life and private sphere, while also transforming the way we think about society and politics. The erstwhile peace project Europe is mired in crisis, and people are losing faith in democracy and the state. There is an urgent need for innovations to open up new avenues for politics and administration. A new IASS Policy Brief makes a number of recommendations for governing in the twenty-first century.

By initiating procedures like strategic forecasting, a Government Innovation Lab could help the government to develop new ideas and momentum.
By initiating procedures like strategic forecasting, a Government Innovation Lab could help the government to develop new ideas and momentum. fotolia/monropic

According to Jörg Mayer-Ries, today’s politicians need to be “more forward-looking and less reactive” and they need to act in a “more systemic and less isolated way”. Innovative cross-ministerial forms of communication and organisation are essential for that to happen. The author of the Policy Brief “Government Innovation Lab. Räume zur Erkundung nachhaltiger Politikstrategien” [Government Innovation Lab. Spaces for Exploring Sustainable Political Strategies] is head of division at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection, Building and Nuclear Safety and currently a Senior Fellow at the IASS. In this publication he describes three building blocks for debates on vital future questions with and within the government.

The first building block is the establishment of an internal Government Innovation Lab to provide ideas and impetus for novel forms of coordination. It would be tasked with initiating procedures within the ministries for things like strategic forecasting, simulation games, or the development of prototypes of possible solutions.

The second building block aims at strengthening cooperation between politics and science. Mayer-Ries proposes concerted action on the part of the Federal Government’s scientific advisory boards and other scientific organisations, academies and foundations. Together, they need to stimulate public debate on important future issues for society, for example by way of a science-policy slam in the context of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030.

The third building block is the systematic and nuanced expansion of the federal government’s Sustainability Strategy to take account of global interactions. Systematic dialogues to foster sector-specific sustainability strategies could play an important role here.

Mayer-Ries, J.: Government Innovation Lab. Räume zur Erkundung nachhaltiger Politikstrategien. IASS Policy Brief, June 2018