To Fix, Improve, and Transform Democracy

Democracy is in trouble around the world. Thankfully, we see many creative responses emerging to meet that challenge. Among other initiatives, the Co-Intelligence Institute is supporting an effort to map the landscape of democratic reform activities in the U.S.

Back in August 2020, I posted Making Democracies Worthy of the Name… and More, listing over two dozen different TYPES of democratic initiative, from those seeking to fix or repair democracy, to those aiming to improve or even transform it. I want to keep this post brief but I encourage you to (re)read that earlier post at your earliest convenience.

After posting that essay, I developed a target chart (below) which places initiatives seeking to FIX democracy in the center, efforts to IMPROVE democracy in the next ring, and innovations to TRANSFORM democracy in the outer ring.

I then enhanced the fix-improve-transform graphic with three pie-chart slices (inspired by the Wise Democracy Project’s 3-part Venn diagram) representing the various efforts to enhance POWER, PARTICIPATION, and QUALITY OF OUTCOMES in our democratic process. Now I’ve placed a few sample aspirations in the chart’s nine sections to illustrate of what’s involved.

(The sample reforms given in the model above are offered only as stimulants for reflection and discussion, not as a list of recommendations.)

Although the innovations promoted by the Co-Intelligence Institute tend to be in the TRANSFORM circle or the outer edges of the IMPROVE circle, we want to stress that efforts to FIX and IMPROVE democracy are truly vital at this time, given the degradation of political culture, functional governance and public service to the point where many people on all sides feel the threat of authoritarianism.

We advocate greater collaboration and shared strategizing in, from, and with all parts of the democratic development “ecosystem”. This is already happening among groups promoting cross-boundary dialogue, conflict resolution, and de-escalation, aiming to ameliorate the growing tendency towards political violence. We need more such efforts to promote the positive evolution of politics and governance through the challenging times ahead.

SO: What democracy-enhancing activities are YOU involved in – or do you know about – that are part of the larger field of activity referred to in this post? What efforts do you think should be included in the emerging map of the entire ecosystem of efforts to fix, improve and transform politics and governance in the U.S. and/or in your own community or country? Let us know what you know in this realm and we’ll get it included in efforts to weave together a more effective life-enhancing whole. Please respond soon in the “Reply” section below.

Thanks for all you do to help democracy be vital, sane and wise.


PS: Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATES – January 24/26/28 (9am-2pm PT each day) – for the 3-day co-intelligence/wise democracy Open Space “unconference” – Cospiring Co-Intelligencia – open to everyone inspired by Tom Atlee’s and CII’s work. It will be a great time to think together and network about all this. Registration and more info will be forthcoming January 1st.

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Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, POB 493, Eugene, OR 97440

Evoking and engaging the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole

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