Discussion Paper

The Strategic Value of Visions: Lessons from Innocracy 2020 and outlook on this year’s conference

2021 | Hanno Burmester, Paulina Fröhlich & Paul Jürgensen

In the face of systemic challenges such as the climate crisis, we must transform the way we live, consume and produce as societies. Yet, no transformation can succeed without a clear sense of direction. We need visions of the future that unify and integrate democracies on their way forward. But can visions really help to open up the future – especially in times of crises? How can we learn to imagine and learn to develop visions that are tangible?

The paper „The Strategic Value of Visions: Lessons from Innocracy 2020 and outlook on this year’s conference“ discusses key questions that arose at Innocracy 2020, presents avant-garde methods and projects that were at the core of last year‘s conference and ends with an outlook on Innocracy 2021.

The authors explain why visions for the future matter: „The more perceptible and tangible a vision is in the present, the better it can serve its function of giving inspiration, orientation and direction.“ Additionally, Claudia Huber, Jenna Lähdemäki-Pekkinen and Wenzel Mehnert contribute to the debate and add their hands-on experience.


Read the Paper

About Innocracy

Innocracy is a European civil-society conference based in Berlin. Since 2017, once a year, Innocracy explores innovations in democracies. From reflections on the status quo, via practical examples of change to painting tangible future visions, the conference seeks to improve liberal democracy from the inside out. Innocracy is known for its community character, innovative formats and future-oriented debates.

In 2020, a digital version of Innocracy focused on future visions of more just democracies and their strategic value for societies in transformation. Under the title “Bringing the Future Back to Democracy”, more than 30 partner organisations, 60 speakers and 1000 participants experienced three days of keynotes, toolbox classes, vision sprints and panel discussions.

We believe, for the 2020s to become a decade of transformation, they have to become a decade of democratisation, too. At Innocracy 2021, we want to identify fields which are excluded or are being removed from democratic control and explore whether and how (re-)democratising them could lead to a better future. Register now and join us for Innocracy 2021 in Berlin or online.

Innocracy Website

About the authors

Hanno Burmester is Policy Fellow at Das Progressive Zentrum and primarily works on the future of democracy, most notably as strategic lead of Innocracy. With his company unlearn, he consults companies of all sizes on mastering the cultural aspects of digitisation. In the past, Hanno worked for different political institutions at the national level and as a journalist, mostly for public broadcasters.

Paulina Fröhlich is Head of the Future of Democracy Programme. She directs innovative dialogue projects, such as Europa Hört, designs and curates Innocracy, a conference on democratic transformation, and co-authors discussion papers, such as „Glotzt nicht so romantisch“ and the study „Die Talkshow-Gesellschaft“. Fröhlich also heads the development of the digital platform European Hub for Civic Engagement. Previously, Paulina worked in water management and development cooperation. In 2016 she co-founded the initiative Kleiner Fünf and is now its media spokesperson.

Paul Jürgensen is Project Manager in the Future of Democracy Programme. He oversees projects on representation and participation, democratic innovations and visions, and dealing with right-wing populism and extremism. Prior to holding this position, he completed the trainee programme 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).