Connecting governments and citizens - Citizens Foundation
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The Citizens Foundation believes in non-partisan futurist solutions to current problems facing democracy. We have recently seen technology undermine our faith in debate in the public arena; the Foundation believes that innovations in technology can be used to restore faith in democratic debate and institutions instead.


Our open solutions have been used in hundreds of engagement projects in 20 countries by over 1.5 million people for the past 11 years. We believe that by building from success in improving communities of all sizes, restoring faith in democratic engagement one constituency at a time, we will thereby help forge solutions that will mount to a global tide of change.

The nonprofit Citizens Foundation was founded in 2008 in Iceland and now has offices in Iceland, the United States, the UK & the Netherlands. Its mission is to connect governments and citizens by creating open state-of-the-art engagement platforms and offering consultation on how to best plan & execute successful citizen engagement projects.


We were awarded for our efforts with Better Reykjavik in 2011, winning the European award in the e-Democracy Awards as well as several local awards in 2011 and 2012. In 2015 a forum of the mayors of the Nordic capitals awarded our Better Neighborhoods project in Reykjavík the Nordic Best Practice 2015 award.

Citizens Foundation video introduction

Step by step engagement tutorial

Citizen Engagement Solutions

Policy Crowdsourcing with Your Priorities


Your Priorities enables citizens to come up with great ideas and debate those while minimizing personal arguments and trolling. Your Priorities has been used in hundreds of engagement projects in 20 countries by over 1.5 million people for the past 11 years.


Citizens add ideas, can view other people’s ideas, and take part in an effective debate about each idea. For each idea you can add points for or points against. Once you’ve added a debate point, other people can vote the point up or down but they can’t comment directly on it – they will have to write a standalone counterpoint that has no direct connection to your initial point. This makes trolling almost impossible, defangs and downplays any personal arguments between participants, and is the key to the high-quality engagement that is achieved when using the Your Priorities platform.

Participatory Budgeting


Budget voting and civic education with Open Active Voting

Empower Citizens With AI


Empower citizens with Artificial Intelligence with Active Citizen

Upgrading Democracy around the world

Active Citizen / Open Active Voting / Participatory Budgeting / Policy Crowdsourcing / Your Priorities

Connecting citizens and governments

Meet The Team

Robert Bjarnason

President & CEO

Róbert is a successful entrepreneur that introduced the web to Iceland in 1993 and in 1995 to Denmark. Before co-founding the Citizens Foundation in the year 2008 he worked in the online gaming industry where his teams received many industry awards.

Guðný Maren Valsdóttir

Creative director

Maren is a multimedia artist and a designer. She is a force of creativity energy at the Citizens Foundation and works on the design of our apps and websites since the year 2012. Maren also contributes to the overall strategy and sits on the board of directors.

Gunnar Grímsson
Gunnar Grímsson


As a co-founder and former CEO Gunnar has been at the heart of the Citizens Foundation since its start. He is an experienced process and interface designer with a strong background in multiple fields and has worked on citizens engagement projects all over the world.

Joshua Lanthier-Welch

Executive Director, Citizens Foundation America

Josh brings to Citizens Foundation America a diverse background, with stints in academic development and philanthropy fundraising, working closely with Robert in writing, design and business development tasks in the videogame industry, and most recently in socially responsible entrepreneurship in promoting sustainable agriculture and improved food systems.

Katherine Breedlove

Director, Citizens Foundation America

Katherine brings years of experience in logistics and operations. For the last ten years she has worked closely with Josh in social, political, and educational outreach in the agricultural sector, helping to build a brand that promoted sustainable agriculture and best practices in the food industry.

Dave Parsons

Director, Citizens Engagement Foundation UK

David has been involved in the development of Internet applications since 1996. Initially working at the Internet Applications Group (INTAPPS) delivering enterprise level applications for companies including PwC, UBS, Vodafone & BP. In 2004 he founded Decypher Media that developed advanced Fintech applications and websites for global hedge funds GLG Partners, Man Group PLC & Castle Trust.

Sophia Dyvik Henke


Sophia is an undergraduate at Cambridge studying Human, Social and Political Sciences. She was the Coordinator of Rory Stewart’s field campaign in central London, has produced film and lobbied government with the UK Student Climate Network and is a Youth Climate Ambassador for the Centre for UN Constitutional Research.

Matthijs Pontier Ph.D

Manager, Citizens Foundation Netherlands

Matthijs Pontier, Ph.D, studied Artificial Intelligence, psychology and Cognitive Science. As a scientist he developed emotional intelligence and moral decision making for computers and robots, and co-edited the book ‘Machine Medical Ethics’.

Our Social Networks


Open Source Software

Your Priorities App


Participatory idea generation and policy crowdsourcing social network application on github.

Open Active Voting


Budget voting and civic education app on github.

Active Citizen


Artificial Intelligence for citizen via Active Citizen library on github.

Let’s connect!


Email us at or use form below


Request information on our tools. Please tell us what you need from digital tools for your community or organisation.

Check ALL the items that interest you and leave us a short message. Send me information on:

Digital Solutions and Tools Information with links to the best videos and presentationsFree Webinar about Idea Generation and Participatory Budgeting with Q and A on our digital tools (Better Reykjavik’s 8 years, 4 million Euros per year participatory budgeting experience.)Hosting or Software Development Options - Affordable service level agreements, advanced hosting, software customizationOpen Source Code - I am a technology developer interested in options for collaboration

Adapting democratic institutions to 21st century realities

➡️French MP @PaulaForteza writes for @OECDgov Participo about how the #coronavirus crisis should be a catalyst for institutionalising use of #digital tools in #parliament #delibwave #delibtech

Learn more about the PaCE project, #populism, #democracy and #civicengagement by signing up to our newsletter:

In case you were not one of the lucky hundred from NYC, Canada, Chile, Australia, Italy, Spain and more who joined @roslynfuller for our conversation on democracy, sharks and badly behaved professors @nyu_ipk @TheGovLab, check out the talk here #sharknado

Find out why we and our fellow founders have set up this global network:
@dcentproject, @ManaBalss, @argu_co, @CitizensFNDN, @Civocracy, @CodeforAll, @DemocracyOS, @TallinnUni

#eDemocracy #CivicTech #DigitalDemocracy #ParticipatoryDemocracy #Deliberation

Background: this is from May, 2018 and we're surging to solve this challenges now w/ COVID19. Our 'modern' Congress doesn't understand 21st century technology via @techcrunch HT @CitizensFNDN #Crowdlaw

@waldojaquith Citizens Foundation open source software, created in Iceland during the financial crisis to rebuild trust between government and citizens, formally adopted to City of Reykjavík in October 2011, now used in many countries: @CitizensFNDN

We need to find ways to improve the standard of debate around environmental issues, which are too often dominated by vested interests. We love this idea as one example of how innovation can move us beyond corruption & regulatory capture to promote respect and harmony with Nature.

Citizens Foundation@CitizensFNDN

Here is a short introduction to the nonprofit Citizens Foundation, our open-source Your Priorities platform and our debating system that minimizes trolling and toxic arguments.

Our friends in @EActioneb have set up an '#Eastbourne after #COVID19' group on @CitizensFNDN's Your Priorities platform. Please submit your ideas for how the town's economy can recover & become greener: These ideas will be fed back to @EastbourneBC.

We’ll learn how the open source Citizens Foundation platform works, this is happening online Wednesday 6:30pm PDT May 6th, free and open to the public: @CitizensFNDN @CHIFOO @tkriplean

L’articolo che ho scritto per l’@ASviSItalia:
Contro il #Coronavirus il governo coinvolga i cittadini esperti.


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