We bring together policy-makers (including administrators), business leaders and organized civil society to jointly develop strategies for the challenges of our time. We support a policy making that moves away from reactive crisis management and pro-actively develops concepts for a just and sustainable future.
Democracy is in a credibility crisis. Trust in democratic structures is at an all-time low, and right-wing extremist tendencies are increasingly established throughout. For most citizens, democracy is an abstract concept that plays no role in their everyday lives. Many no longer believe in their own political efficacy. This must change. We believe that democracy can come alive and be actively experienced when members of a democratic society come together to jointly develop strategies for dealing with crises and challenges. For this to happen, it is important that those actors meet on an equal level, allowing new strategies to incorporate different perspectives. This has the potential to enhance credibility of policies and there with sustainability of their implementation. We enable this process by facilitating constructive, power-sensitive dialogue – although with a willingness to expand the comfort zone of discussion. Such an approach requires the willingness of all participants to compromise – increasingly rare in a polarized society. For us, working on the topic of democracy always means working on relationships, because that's the only way to build trust and enable a change of perspective.
Political decisions need a broader basis than before if they are to find sustainable solutions in our changing, global capitalist society. Elected politicians must join with organized civil society and the business sector to evaluate decisions and positions. This must happen at all levels, from the local to the global.
However, trust in democratic processes is also based on what is known as "output" legitimacy, i.e. on the concrete results of political decision-making. This is often accompanied by the accusation that politicians are too far removed from the concerns It is often said that politicians are too far removed from everyday life to be able to make adequate policies. We believe that politicians alone can neither fully grasp nor shape the complex reality as a whole, and therefore rely on intermediaries to bring in relevant perspectives in the political decision-making process. Our approach to enhance this is (citizens) participation rather than lobbing. We believe the most proliferate and sustainable way to make policies is by creating spaces, where different perspectives can be discussed and policies jointly developed. Only such a dialogical approach utilizes the necessary creativity and expertise to find sustainable and effective solutions to the challenges of our time.