Democracy Lab Progress Report 2017/2018

Demokratie muss sich unentwegt selbst hinterfragen, um ihren zentralen Werten gerecht zu werden


What should the democracy of the future look like? Which institutional changes are required to cope with the challenges of a globalised and digital world? And how can we include people more effectively in political decision-making processes? The Democracy Lab brought together stakeholders from civil society, academia and politics in order to find answers to these questions. In our Progress Report, we present our ideas, projects and results of the first project phase.

With its innovative formats, international conferences and publications on democratic transformation, the Democracy Lab has become a hub for innovators in the political sphere in Germany and Europe. The Progress Report 2017/2018 shows the highlights of our work.

Das Democracy Lab

The Democracy Lab

Das Progressive Zentrum’s Democracy Lab opened in April 2017 as a platform to bring thinkers and doers together to discuss democratic innovations. Its main objective is to develop positions, ideas and methods to improve and reform democratic structures and processes, but also to think beyond the current intellectual models we apply when thinking about our political system. It offers a space for creative, interdisciplinary and international exchange. As a collaborative platform, we translate ideas coming from civil society into practical recommendations for decision-makers.

Our sponsors

We would like to thank the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the programme “Demokratie leben!” for their support for the project “Democracy 2025 – Democratic innovations for a changing society“.


Sophie Pornschlegel is a Policy Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum and currently works as a Senior Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC) and as a project manager for Connecting Europe, a joint initiative of the EPC and Stiftung Mercator.
Paving the Way Towards Common Values
This paper was created in the context of “Daring New Spaces: Striving towards a European Public Sphere
Conference Study: Trying Times – Rethinking Social Cohesion
The study provides a set of focus questions that are designed to promote public debate on how to shape cohesion as we move forward

Hanno Burmester

Policy Fellow
About Hanno Hanno was a Policy Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum until October 2021, where he worked primarily on the future of democracy. With his consulting company unlearn, he advises DAX corporations, medium-sized companies and public institutions on the cultural…
The Strategic Value of Visions: Lessons from Innocracy 2020 and outlook on this year’s conference
We need visions of the future that unify and integrate democracies on their way forward
Democracy Lab Final Report
Transformation instead of innovation

Paul Jürgensen

Policy Advisor
As a policy advisor, Paul Jürgensen oversees projects on representation and participation, democratic innovations and visions, and dealing with right-wing populism and extremism. Prior to this position he completed the trainee program at Das Progressive Zentrum. He is co-author of the book "Schleichend an die Macht" (Dietz Verlag, 2020) and the study "Brücken bauen für die Demokratie" (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2020).
The Majority is Convinced: New German Administration is Future-Oriented
SPD, Greens and FDP have stepped up as a Future-Oriented coalition
Democratising Democracy: No Transformation without Democratisation
For the 2020s to become a decade of transformation, they also have to become a decade of democratisation
The Strategic Value of Visions: Lessons from Innocracy 2020 and outlook on this year’s conference
We need visions of the future that unify and integrate democracies on their way forward
“Creeping into Power” analyses historical interpretations of the New Right
The book is edited by Policy Fellow Andreas Audretsch and historian Claudia Gatzka

Michelle Deutsch

Project Manager
Michelle Deutsch is project manager overseeing projects on representation and extremism. She also focuses on democratic innovation with an emphasis on the role of the public sector.

We develop and debate progressive ideas and bring together leading actors who turn thoughts into action. Our think tank’s goal: making the just transformation a reality. ▸ Learn more