Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Policy Making 3.0

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Futurium policies
Policy making 3.0, our participatory and evidence-based model
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Policy making 3.0 is the participatory and evidence-based model, used by Digital Futures to inform future strategic choices of the European Commission related to ICT.

It is based on the metaphor of "collective brain" (or emergent collective intelligence), according to which stakeholders and policy makers form a social network to co-design policies on the basis of two distinct factors:

  • The scientific evidence stemming from the collective wisdom of stakeholders and policy makers. This is the collective "rational" contribution of the participants to the policy (the "left brain" of the social network).  Evidence is often elicited from data and numerical models of the real world (e.g. statistics, equations,…).
  • The sentiment stemming from the collective aspirations of stakeholders and policy makers, and measurable through the social network. This can be considered as the "emotional" contribution of the participants to the policy (the "right brain" of the social network).

The picture below captures the essential elements of the Policy Making 3.0 process:

  1. The implementation of policies co-developed by policy makers and stakeholders has an impact on the real world (individuals, society, economy, environment,…)
  2. The real world is sensed and data are gathered, measured and analysed through knowledge mining and statistical tools, which allows to identify trends, issues and challenges and to elicit scientific evidence
  3. The scientific evidence gives ground to stakeholders and policy makers to re-shape policies.
  4. Stakeholders and policy makers interact in social networks where other factors than evidence emerge, such as personal opinions, corporative interest, lobbying, ideological values and other ‘non- measurable' factors (i.e. that cannot be easily sensed and captured automatically). Such factors often prevail on the scientific evidence.
  5. Policies may also be inspired by desirable visions and aspirations that are not necessarily in line with current, short term trends and can also be considered as part of the 'emotional' and intuitive factors that influence decisions.

Most neuroscientists recognise the above concepts as primitive mechanisms that determine the actions and reactions of individuals. Digital Futures' model for participatory and evidence based policy making scales up the metaphor of the "left and right brains" to the social network to make current policy making processes more participatory, transparent and agile.

The Policy Making 3.0 model is prototyped by the Digital Futures' online platform Futurium.


Figure: Build on scientific evidence & people‘s opinion to inform policy decisions



Recent trends state that there is an erosion of employment across Europe in spite of the measures put in place at European, national and regional levels. Policy makers and stakeholders (unions, industrial associations, youth associations,…) are in a continuous debate on how to revert the trend and revamp employment in Europe. New measures are then taken as the result of the dialogues between all parties. Typically, they are the result of a trade-off between numerous emotional factors (including ideological values, corporative interests, etc.), but also the scientific evidence put forward by the negotiating parties to substantiate their arguments.

The parties may also be creative and agree on new and more ambitious visions for the future of job and employment (a zero-unemployment rate by 2050?), which may be considered more-or less desirable ('emotional' reaction) or likely to happen ('rational' reaction) by the participants.

Once a new vision is agreed, the debate would focus on the actual policies needed to underpin such a vision.