Heraklion DEMOSCOPIO: A vision for democracy, cooperation and dialogue
The municipality of Heraklion in Crete, Greece will soon open the Heraklion Demoskopio, a new institution that will engage the stakeholders of the city in open and focused dialogues. It will be a public space for eliciting citizen concerns, hosting their dialogues, and posting those concerns and results on its walls and windows of the town’s citizens.
It will host open and structured dialogues to cooperatively define and resolve complex issues. The concerns, on account of the deliberations, the definitions, and the selected course of action are posted on its wall and are open for examination by all citizens.
It is expected that citizens, researchers, entrepreneurs, scientists, educational institutions, collective bodies, the opportunity to collaborate effectively in designing innovative solutions to a variety of challenges facing the city leadership. (See also the decision of the City Council here:
Read also the original idea as formulated and submitted to the Municipality of Heraklion by the Social Systems Design Professor, Dr. A lexander N. Christakis, and the independent journalist Maria Kakoulaki here:
More specifically, the Demoscopio, as indicated in the decision of the City Council, aims at listening to citizens and entrepreneurs, whose voices are never heard on issues that concern them, so that they will be able to converse on equal terms with other actors in society, and to share opinions, proposals, visions for the future of the city. Also groups of students who have creative ideas and want to turn them into viable businesses or products, or to improve the social environment, can display and promote their plans through the Demoskopio capability and facility. Furthermore, it will provide support to volunteer groups, educational and research institutions wishing to codesign practices and innovations, as well as exhibits and museum spaces.
According to officials of the municipality, the economic crisis Greece is experiencing today, is affecting Greek cities dramatically, reducing the available financial resources and manpower, and increasing social security and support needs. This crisis has particularly affected young people, with unemployment rates have soared sharply from 2007 onwards.
The Municipality of Heraklion intends to contribute to addressing this reality through the institution of the Demoskopio, which encourages and develops a culture of social dialogue, cooperation, development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, particularly among young people. It has been observed that in recent years a wave of young people with talents and skills, that exploit new technologies for services and products, need support in translating their ideas into viable businesses. The Demoskopio will act as a node in a social network for generating ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The Demoskopio will provide three main types of services. The first category concerns the application of Structured Democratic Dialogue (SDD) for the design and promotion of social and business cooperation, consensus and networking with the wide involvement and participation of all perspectives. The second category concerns the business interconnection services, which include the participation of young people in innovation competitions, entrepreneurship and mentoring workshop. The third category concerns business acceleration consulting and support services.
[Official publication of the decision in the “stepfather” newspaper, 01.02.15]