Smarter Together


© Jeanne Menjoulet (Flickr Commons)

Smarter Together: 30 Case Studies on Collective Intelligence’s Potential to Help Government is an unprecedented academic collaborative book that will provide policy makers, activists and academics an easy-to-read yet highly informed set of case studies. It will:

  • Inspire, by showcasing how societal issues can be addressed more effectively.

  • Inform about the real potential for collective intelligence approaches to help public authorities, by broadening readers’ understanding of what is collective intelligence, and by sharing the latest social science insights and a systematic review of relevant literature.

  • Equip readers, by providing them with key tips and tools, references to go further, as well as background material on a related website.

In the long run, the aim of this book is to:

  • Incentivize the public sector to think and act collectively by engaging with citizens, the private sector, the academic sector, CSO’s, and all relevant actors that can contribute to smarter policies.

  • Restore trust in government by strengthening the legitimacy of process, output and emotions which are the key components for this trust, as stated in our equation explained below.

  • Help policy makers think systemically, considering how to tap into collective wisdom in their decision-making process and being more open to creative ways of governing.

  • Provide teaching material and opportunities to meet with, inspire and train civil servants and policy makers.

We know that, when public actors with a stake in the future of democracy have the right tools, when they learn from past experience, when they are inspired by examples from diverse contexts around the world, and see that collective intelligence can help govern more effectively, they are more willing to take on new challenges, involve a greater diversity of actors, embrace complexity, and be more creative.

Each case study will be relatively brief (10,000 characters), and will consist of 3 parts:


  1. A story of a real-life (recent or not) instance when the people responsible deliberately used a specific methodology to overcome hurdles to collective intelligence addressing public matters. Told in an engaging and journalistic style, it provides key information regarding the players, dynamics, and challenges at play.

  2. Each case study is then analyzed in terms of the theory: what does social science tell us about the underlying principles at work from a variety of perspectives (social psychology, neuroscience, creativity, management…). It provides key references for further reading and quotes where appropriate key authors.

  3. A “How to” section, explaining what’s specific to the context; what methodological lessons can be drawn for replication; and providing practical dos & don’ts, where possible illustrated with infographics.


Selected case studies

  • The Youth Justice Board, or how to spread innovation across a country – Lord Jonathan Oates, Stephen Boucher
  • We need to talk! Members of parliaments unlock the potential of national parliaments’ collective intelligence – Verena Ringler, Founder, European Commons
  • Troubled Youth: Turning Problem Makers Into Problem Solvers – Tim Switalski, M.S., President of Darwin Associates, co-founder of CREA Conference, founding partner of the Center for Certification in Creativity
  • Iceland’s Case – Crowdsourcing the Constitution, Take 2 – Elisa Lironi, European Citizen Action Service
  • Systems thinking at the top of the European Commission – Elke Esders, Executive Consultant  Politics Reinvented
  • The “Leader” is dead. Long live collective leadership – experiments in Scotland to tackle complex problems in unknowing times – Keira Oliver, Scottish Government
  • Mobilizing a whole region’s collective intelligence? The merits and limits of Co-Intelligence Wallonia
    Mobiliser l’intelligence collective d’une région ? Apports et limites de Co-Intelligence Wallonia – Pierre Portevin, Auteur, formateur, coach et facilitateur
  • The “Agora Energiewende” : How conflicting constellations of interests converge – Dr Lars Grotewold, Mercator Stiftung
  • Collective intelligence for conflict prevention – Diana Dajer, Social entrepreneur
  • Common food for the common good? The case of Helmut Kohl – Dr. Knut Bergmann, head of communication and the Berlin branch office of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research
  • Regulatory Gaming – the case of Macon (USA) – Gianluca Sgueo, NYU Global Media Seminar Professor, Policy analyst at the EU Parliament
  • Sager der Samler: building the interface between the micro and the macro to bring social innovation to scale – Paul Natorp, co-founder of Citizen Change (Sager der Samler)
  • Health Care provision Sweden – Bernard Leroux – Mediator at Dialogues AB – in partnership with the Swedish Association for Municipalities and Regions
  • Unleash – An international innovation experience  – Catherine Jacquet Deloitte sustainability France,
    Mamello Thinyane, International Telecommunications Union, UN University
  • The Democratization of Policy: A Case Study of Online Crowdsourcing Cancer Legislation in Chile – Annalyn Bachmann- Manager of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence
  • Deliberative Polling: Opinions when the people are thinking – Pr James Fishkin, Stanford University
  • Government challenges, and how a telegram sparked innovation 100 years ago – Luis Lafosse, Designer in public sector, City of Playford, Australia, and Jen St Jack, Consulting Partner Jack Jensen, board members with the Australian Institute of Urban Studies – South Australia
  • School participatory budgeting – Ankitha Cheerakathil, Executive Director / India of Institute H21
  • CI/AI study in the Slagelse Municipality / Project “Citizen crowdsourcing: An investigation of opportunities and challenges of using collective intelligence in policy-making” – Carina Antonia Hallin, IT University of Copenhagen
  • “Zero unemployment”: A small French town shows how to act boldly outside the box – Stephen Boucher, Dreamocracy
  • Hearing the marginalized – the jan sunwai in India – Stéphanie TAWA LAMA-REWAL Senior research fellow, CNRS, at the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CNRS-EHESS), Paris
  • An Eagle Watches Over Us: The Role of Youth in Community Change – David Baum, Conversation Architect
  • Overcoming fake news: Graam Vani mobilises participatory media in rural India – Aaditeshwar Seth, affiliated with Gram Vaani and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
  • Forum Theatre Brazil – Stephen Boucher, Dreamocracy
  • Reinventing lobbying and overcoming resistance through gamification – Stephen Boucher, Dreamocracy
  • The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund: how biodiversity actors successfully managed to put their heads together – Jean-Philippe Palasi, INDRI
  • The importance of values – The Alternative in Denmark – Uffe Elbaek, The Alternative, with S.Boucher
  • Accelerator Labs as a new approach to accelerating development – Victor Ladele, Head of Exploration, UNDP Accelerator Lab for the Pacific
  • Tackling humanity’s most complex challenge: how thousands of scientists inform policy makers – Renate Christ
    Former Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Appreciative Inquiry for public policy (Sustainable Cleveland story) – Ronald Fry Professor, Benedictine University, co-creator of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) theory and method, with Daniel Jérôme, consultant



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