An attempt to change the Icelandic constitution in the 2018-2021 election period was made, in collaboration with all parties in the Icelandic Parliament. The University of Iceland & the Citizens Foundation created a connection to the government where the public can influence the proposed constitutional amendments. No actual changes have been made yet to the constitution, this is an ongoing process.
Over 39.000 people visited the website and learned about constitution-making. Exactly 1.092 citizens logged in and created ideas and debate points – Iceland is tiny and if the same % would have participated in the US that would be over 1 million citizens and a comparable % rate in the UK would be over 200.000 people.
Crowdsourcing was one method of many used to engage the public, a regular survey was also sent out, a randomly selected Deliberative Poll (a type of citizen assembly) was held with around 300 people from all over Iceland, over a weekend, and we launched an educational game called Make Your Constitution to teach citizens what constitutions are from a high level.
Engagement methods used:
Online Deliberation (Your Priorities)
Make Your Constitution (Online Game)
Facebook & YouTube (Paid campaigns)
Deliberative Poll (Citizen assembly)
Iceland has been working towards important constitutional changes since 2010 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Changes have gone slowly so in this new process of changing the constitution there is a great need for more complete public involvement.
Key Outcomes: Citizens:
Over 39.000 people visited the website and learned about constitution-making. Exactly 1.092 citizens logged in and created ideas and debate points – Iceland has a very small population and if the same percentage would have participated in the US that would be over 1 million citizens. A comparable percentage in the UK would be over 200.000 people.
Citizens’ voices were listened to in an organized way by the Icelandic parliament.
Key Outcomes: Government
Building trust with the constituencies that care about the final document by giving them a forum to campaign for understanding.
Make sure that ideas that might be popular but not pragmatic receive the necessary and considered deliberation of their feasibility.
Identifying citizen participants as stakeholders to improve communication and dialogue moving forward.