Adhocracy is software that enables internet-based participation and voting procedures and thus allows relevant reform actors and citizens to be included in all phases of decision-making. The core of Adhocracy is a proposal system with which proposals are collected, discussed and ultimately voted on. In Adhocracy, votes, proposals and comments can be given under verified names (e.g. for city councils) as well as under an alias. Likewise, votes can be delegated once, permanently or for special issues.
Adhocracy is open source software that was developed by the independent association, Liquid Democracy e.V. It forms the basis of the websites www.adhocracy.de and www.offenekommune.de where citizens as well as verified institutions can start discussions and obtain ideas of the prevailing mood. It is also possible to obtain information on reforms.
1. Decide whether a participation process should be used
First, the key reform actors must decide whether a participation process is meaningful for the intended reform. This will be the case in particular if the decision-making process should be transparent. In this way reform opponents can also be included and reform proponents can be won over. If applicable, any available proposals from interest groups or other stakeholders can be taken into account.
2. Determine the type of participation
If the basic decision for a participation process has been made it must still be decided what type of participation will be meaningful. Adhocracy is used due to its license for many reform actors. However, the disadvantages of an Internet-based participatory platform, such as the exclusion of groups that do not have access to the Internet, should be considered
3. Modify Adhocracy for your own needs
Online participation processes based on Adhocracy can be set up both on the above-mentioned website as well as on one’s own platform. This depends in particular on the expected rate of participation and the type of depiction desired and additional annotation options.
4. Clarify responsibilities and represent your interests
Care must then be taken to ensure that the proposals and results of the participation process are also included in the decision-making. Here it helps to ensure that the process is transparent and that a responsible person is nominated for supporting and dialoguing on the participation platform. One’s own interests should also be made clear in order to develop trust in the participation process from the beginning.
5. Include proposals and voting results
Finally, it must be clear that the results of the participation process will be included in the decision-making and what the process is. Are they based entirely on the votes submitted or are only some of the results used? It is difficult to not include popular proposals. Good reasons will be needed for this.
6. Publish the process and result
Ultimately the entire process (including the relevant inputs) from the participation process as well as the subsequent and final decision-making must be transparent.
- Phase 2 – Agenda Setting:
- Competence: Identify concerns and pick up on trends; place one’s own interest
- Communication: Specify issues and discuss them; obtain ideas of the prevailing mood
- Capability to implement: Clarify the necessity for reform; ensure early support; identify resistance
- Phase 3 – Formulating and decision-making:
- Competence: Include proposals in the decision-making
- Communication: Ensure participation by citizens and transparency
- Capability to implement: Rely on quora; show transparency
Liquid Democracy e.V. Adhocracy. adhocracy.de. 2012 (Downloaded 14.03.2013).
Liquid Democracy e.V. OffeneKommune.de. 2013. offenekommune.de (Downloaded 14.03.2013).
Liquid Democracy e.V. Adhocracy – LiquidDemocracy. wiki.liquid.net/adhocracy/ (Downloaded 14.03.2013).
Matzat, Lorenz. Adhocracy: Mitsprache der Bürger macht der Bundesregierung Angst. Zeit online. 2011. Accessible: www.zeit.de/digital/internet/2011-01/enquete-adhocracy (Downloaded 14.03.2013).