In this project, a synthesis map is utilized to explore how policy makers can better engage with citizens in an increasingly complex society. The exploration starts by using an influence map to illustrate the complexity that revolves around how citizens understand the issues around them. The map then explores the current and emerging methods of public engagement.
In order to successfully move into the future, the map illustrates how policy makers will need to merge these two approaches and adopt a lens of designing through co-intellengence. The map continues to discuss how mediums like digital engagement can help bridge the gap between the two approaches.
One Systemic Design method that has the potential to thrive in the public engagement phase of policy design is Structured Dialogic Design. The methodology had its origins in the need to involve people directly in systems design discussions based upon the experience of the Club of Rome early in the 1970s. Rising to address this need, the Battelle Memorial Institute developed first generation approaches for mapping complex issues representing divergent views of social systems stakeholders.
In response to a increasingly complex world, it has been argued that digital technologies are the answer, and that they alone can encourage greater participation, better decisions, and more trust. The advocates claim that digital democracy can: achieve deeper and broader participation; contribute to a richer public sphere for argument and debate than was ever possible with traditional mass media; and that tapping into more individual sources of expertise can achieve better decisions than relying only on professional politicians and civil servants.