First draft of the Edgeryders / Council of Europe research paper ready!

Dear Edgeryders,

Its a big pleasure to adress you guys. For some time I just looked from a birds eye perspective and asked myself how I could contribute. So, the plan I came up with was to write a paper about Edgeryders in the framework of Council of Europe co-operation. The working title is ‘New Avenues of Democratic Participation and Social Innovation? The interplay between Community-crowd-sourced Think Tanks and the Council of Europe in the Edgeryder project’.

In a nutshell, the paper 

  • maps recent changes in governance approaches opening towards Social Innovation and Society
  • questions if a democratic gain of citizen-expers communities could in some way improve the European democratic deficit
  • looks whether the Edgeryder design uses Government 2.0 and Social Innovation principles
  • Analyzes the Challenges and Lessons the Council of Europe took from the project 

​​I assume that an Edgeryder paper wouldn´t be an Edgeryder paper without consulting the community. I will thus share the link of the recent draft version and would be grateful to receive feedback if the research is of interest to you. Hug from Strasbourg niko

… here is the current draft of the paper (feel free to contact me if you need another format) 


Social innovation project because…

Niko, well done! Thank you for taking the initiative and getting in touch, and I hope you enjoyed writing about this as much as we are figuring things out, together :-)

A couple of observations I hope could help and answer what you asked via email:

-I see ER as definitely a social innovation project for the reasons you enumerated - implementation of new ideas and responses to social needs - and I would add for taking a stance in researching deep, structural societal projects through innovative lens (a mix of enthographic research and network analysis). Among the outcomes arguably contributing to social impact are: building an independent, self-sustainable organisation that acts as a support system for its members trying to affect social change, and fostering peer to peer learning and exchange enabling participants to become more active participants and build healthier democratic environments in their communities.

  • maybe throughout the paper go for Edgeryders full name rather than Edgeryder as it does better at hinting at a community, or group of people?

-I wouldn’t call Edgeryders weak points “failures” unless they were set as initial goals and could not be achieved. Otherwise those are mostly criteria that we need to consider so as to not misinterpret results when and if weighting them against other results in the field, namely about youth, no?

  • [ref. your question] no I am not aware of other Council of Europe / EU projects with similar approaches, maybe others here do?

-adding to your references, you can find this list here useful:

PS: Why the second optional title on “Hesitance of institutions in Embracing Governance 2.0 Solutions. The Edgeryders Case” (listed on the right in the scribd paper) :smiley:

Answer to Noemi

Hello Noemi,

Your input is very appreciated.  I have updated the file on the scribd. The current version takes your points into account.

To provide you some answers 

1) social innovation: in my paper i try to frame Edgeryders as a posterboy Social Innovation model. The criteria are taken out of the last month released “Guide on Social Innovation”. Those criteria are: 

•development and implementation of new ideas to meet social needs and create new social relationships and collaborations
•new responses to pressing social demands, which affect process of social interactions
•aimed at improving human well-being
•social in both ends and means
•not only good for society, but also enhance individuals capacity to act

  1. Other Citizen-Expert/ Policy Community on EU/CoE Level: In the paper I use the example of the EC´s futurium.  "The European Commission is currently testing an online platform by the name of Futurium in the realm of its Digital Agenda. In its own words the platform combines the informal character of social networks with the methodological approach of foresights to engage stakeholders in the co-creation of futures and policy ideas that matter to them.” The project allows for some interesting interaction. The project is using grassroots involvement of stakeholders to define long term ideas, “anticipate possible challenges and opportunities and generate ideas to inform the policy reflections that will take place in 2014 around the renewal of the European Parliament and the Commission 

 Could you maybe give me more information on innovative lens (a mix of enthographic research and network analysis)?

and how I could use it in the realm of analysing the Social Innovation of Edgeryders?

I would also be interested in ways to measure the democratic benefit of direct engagement with the insitutions. If you have any idea on how to walk this path please let me know,

Thx and regards from Strasbourg,




Ok, thanks for providing context to the social innovation,

i think our use of methodology fits the second criteria, about creating responses to pressing social demands, in our case to the need to better understand youth transition and how it is perceived by youth themselves. In collecting input we’ve used ethnography, young social scientists coded all text that was posted on the platform and analysed it eg the recurrencies of concepts, and eventually produced thorough depictions of youth in various contexts. like putting a magnifying glass on how young people live & participate, how they find new paths and strategies; on the other hand we used network metrics to analyze emergent social dynamics and say something about how other people relate to one individual’s experience. Alberto’s piece probably does a better job explaining this, i see you cited it already…


On promotion of e-Democracy and principles of Open Government

Hi Niko, it looks nice,

I wanted to point you to two resources that I have written (sorry for the self-promotion!) that I think could be useful for you. The first is a paper called “The e-(R)evolution will not be funded. A transdisciplinary and critical analysis of the developments and troubles of EU-funded eParticipation”, that describes and analyses the failure from the EU to promote a meaningul development of eParticipation and eDemocracy. In the part where you talk about “Re-finding democracy” and “2.0” it could provide you with some valuable insights.

The second is a work on the collaborative dimension of Open Government, and it is currently being reviewed. However, we are publishing it by pieces in the “Road to Lórien blog”. Here you have the link to the first chunk: , which questions the conception of open government based on Transparency-Participation-Collaboration. Maybe you will like to have a look.

Kind regards, Pedro

Hey Pedro,

thanks for the great papers. Im quite baffled to be honest by the depth of analyisis that they provide. What is your background (study)?



Jack of all trades, master of none…

Hey Niko, thanks,

actually, it could seem I have too many backgrounds. :slight_smile:

I studied different university degrees in several Spanish universities: Computer Science, Business Administration, half-degree in Philosophy, a Master in Sociology (of the Information and Knowledge Society) and last year I finally got a PhD on e-Democracy, that mixed all the previous fields.

However, the most important perspectives and knowledge I’ve got didn’t come from the Uni but from my actual work on the field, as I spent several years researching and working in Brazil and Guatemala.

As you have seen if you have read the papers… I am quite convinced that politics, the so called “democracy”, is not working very well nowadays. What is more, for the knowledge fields that your paper and edgeryders are dedicated to -fields of innovation and research situated at the edge of web-science, sociology and politics…- most of the official “science” and most of the existing Innovation Support Policies (EU’s specially) are also failing. :frowning:

If you google my name you will surely reach my CV and some of the websites explaining the projects I am working in. 

I am happy to know my papers will be useful for you. :-) Cheers, 


Why it’s failing

one reason for the inconsistencies in practicing research, lack of speed in updating what is considered state of the art knowledge in the field or other assumptions i’m reading in your statement Pedro, may lay in the very mode of producing research, in a way that’s not transparent and generous enough with its producers - all the people contributing with data, and working to advance practice in the fields. Nor is it with the wider public, for whom research and results may just be a black box because there is not enough openness or spaces that foster interaction between producers and consumers of this kind of knowledge. I remember I used to be very angry about this when I graduated, and even wrote about it on Edgeryders.

Someone on twitter just pointed towards this community HackYourPhD which are working to address just that, and open the whole process of producing and sharing research, put it out there so that everyone can benefit and play a more active role in generating knowledge:

I also wanted to say

that I’m happy to see in your example here, Nicolas, that research around Edgeryders is highly participatory and open, and that it subjects itself to self correction and update, whether it is members like you working on something or our organisation taking on a research that we all contribute to, like we did with youth transition…

Let’s hack!

Indeed, Noemi. It is very much as you describe, sadly. Thanks for the reference to HackYourPhD. I’ll have a look.


Dear Pedro, Dear Noemi, Dear fellow Edgeryders, 
 I dearly thank you for your input. You have helped me a lot on finding new angles on the topic and clearly broadened my perspective. The paper as exists now - 15 pages 6000 words - meets the format and scope of my academic institution. I will present the findings in two weeks in the University of Krakow and look forward to the suggestions that will be made there. 
 I personally think that the topics the paper touches upon are very interesting to further elaborate on. It would be great to deepen the research on CoE and participant interaction from a CoE perspective, as well as, to see how the critera of Social Innovation and Democratic Participation find new avenues in the form of Citizen Think Tanks. 
 I look forward to seeing you at the LOTE. 

Great to hear it!

Nicely done, Nikolas! I wish I could be there with you and Pedro, talking shop.

You could consider coming to LOTE3 to give a presentation about the paper. I, for one, would be very curious to read it in its final form.

This is awesome

I too hope you could make it to Matera this fall, would be great to meet, maybe you can hook up with Andrei if you’ll still be in Strasbourg and travel together…

Btw took the liberty to add your paper in the list of publications for, about, by the community, so that we keep them in one place and others can read it too. let me know if it’s ok.  Good luck in Krakow!

University of Krakow?

Dear Nikolas,

It would be nice to meet you in Matera next October. But I am still not sure whether I’ll be able to be at LOTE3 or not. :frowning:

But actually, something you wrote made me think that we not necessarily need to wait that much. Because it happens that I am living in Kraków at the moment. So… I think we should meet when you come for the IP2013. It seems it will be a very interesting event.

Kind regards,



Great stuff. If you two do manage to get together, please let us know how it went – at least take a picture of yourselves and post it onto the website!


This thread is really inspiring. Didn’t get the chance to read the papers you guys posted but thanks for the input… just wanted to drop in to ask Niko: weren’t you living in Brussels a couple of years ago? Something tells me we have already met : am I right? It would be really great to meet you in Matera. Seems like platforms can become crossroads!

Meet in Krakow

Hello Pedro,

I am in Krakow for the Intensive Programme and present the paper on Edgeryders on Tuesday. Everyday after that would be suitable for meeting up - i am looking forward to meeting you in person.

Hey Ilaria, 

yes, we met in Brussels last year when I was still living there. Lets meet in Matera at the Conference and talk old times :slight_smile:

To Alberto,

Yes, presenting the paper at the LOTE conference would be a great honor. I will however have to do an internship in Berlin in the time. So the question remains if i could get the time of.

Regards from Krakow,



Hi Nikolas, I will have a look at the programme and I hope to be there to see your presentation ;-). And afterwards… we can share a coffee. Write me at pedro.prieto-martin (at) if you need anything. Or… well, you can also send me a copy of your paper and I’ll have a look before the event.