Making Democracy Work for Innovation

  • Francesco GrilloEmail author
  • Raffaella Y. Nanetti


The chapter moves from the discussion of the transformation of civil life and democracy in the era of the technological revolution. Rapid and profound contextual changes have affected citizens’ understanding of the values underpinning the concept of democracy and caused behavioural consequences. Citizens as residents of cities, towns and villages have countered change by retiring into their own private space and distancing themselves from their institutions and public affairs, causing a pervasive loss of social capital across territorial communities. The chapter proceeds to analyse how the new technologies can also provide opportunities to reverse the trends of economic dislocation, social anomie and democratic disengagement, by enabling multi-level governance with new modalities of participation by citizens’ in decision-making, thus increasing the community’s stock of social capital. The discussion turns to how territorial communities are transformed when they embrace a socially participated trajectory of sustainable economic and social growth, because of their capacity to adopt and adapt to IT new developments that help to value and employ their specific set of resources. An updated definition of innovation is derived and offered: as technology-enabled social transformation drawing on “societal knowledge”, a process which moves resources towards innovators to produce community-wide benefits. The chapter discusses how the linking of technological innovation, civic engagement and prosperity may occur and it closes with the analysis of the scenario of the “democracy of the future”, expressed through a range of means of participation, IT-supported policy choices and proposals, and in the end better performing institutions.


Technological revolution Economic dislocation Sustainable growth 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sant’Anna School of Advanced StudiesPisaItaly
  2. 2.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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