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 Citizens Foundation was founded in 2008 in Iceland and now has offices in Iceland, the United States & the UK. 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 team 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.

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


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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

I just presented the contribution of @Eurecat_news to @decodeproject, the BarcelonaNow #datacommonsviz system which is a joint effort with @mirkomarras @sdivad r. kumar & j. allué, together with the consortium partners, to empower citizens with data

Incredibly honored to have my work on open #democracy featured in @thenewyorker in the nuanced, witty, and generous prose of @nathanheller, with H/T to my role model Jane Mansbridge; fellow sortitionist @Alex_A_Guerrero; and critic (yet friend) Chris Achen

"I sense they see our committee as a place of refuge to come and to dig in and to try to bring more civility and more’s a bright spot in all of this noise right now.”

💭 Vice Chair @RepTomGraves via @washingtonpost

What would it look like to treat personal data less as a commodity and more as a commons? New report from @rosalynold and me exploring this question for the @decodeproject

Smart Citizens, Smarter State: The Technologies of Expertise and the Future of Governing @bethnoveck

‘Not a lot of people know this’ #eastbourne residents, environmentalists and @EastbourneBC have started to engage many people in making a possative contribution to improving the environment in our town. Easy to join in if you have asked yourself, ‘How can I help’? See below ...

Clean Air Eastbourne@EastbourneAir

Eastbourne’s Eco Action Network (CNE2030) welcomed residents to #Eastbourne Town hall last Thurs. Small Groups discussed @EastbourneBC @EActioneb How to achieve #carbonneutral by 2030. Next OPEN event, for towns residents, Eastbourne Town Hall. 7pm Thursday 27Feb > All welcome < 4

The need for human connection is more important than ever in these times, writes @JoanaRamiroUK.

But it must be rescued from the claws of capitalism. #ValentinesDay

(via @_ourEconomy)

Very excited that today we launch PARTICIPO - A new digest for @OECDgov area of work on Innovative Citizen Participation. First post is live: "Renewing democracy in an age of complexity and disillusionment" #delibWave #OECDOG @AlesBellantoni @ICesnulaityte

Tomorrow is your last chance to buy tickets for #TICTeC at the lower Early Bird price, saving £100. Join us to discuss what works and what doesn't in #civictech #digitaldemocracy #civicempowerment #opengov and more:

Excited to see the launch of PARTICIPO, a new digest on innovative citizen participation from @OECDgov, with great introductory post from @ClaudiaChwalisz

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