DemocracyLab is a nonprofit organization aspiring to revolutionize the way communities solve problems by creating and curating online tools that empower collective thinking and action. We believe engaged citizens coupled with innovative technology can make communities stronger by systematically working through the lifecylce of problems:


As a group we agree on how to frame an issue

  • Identify the Problem
  • Get the Facts
  • Define Success


Once the issue is well defined we explore many ways of solving it

  • Gain Understanding
  • Brainstorm Solutions
  • Optimize Alternatives


After deliberation, we decide on our best option

  • Establish Process
  • Inform & Engage
  • Vote


And try it

  • Plan
  • Gather Resources
  • Execute


As a group, we observe our results and reframe as necessary

  • Document Process
  • Measure Results
  • Assess Outcomes
  • Identify the Problem:

    • Is the problem worth solving?
    • Are the causes clear?
    • Who are the stakeholders?
  • Get the Facts:

    • What data is available?
    • What are stakeholders’ objectives?
    • Who has authority to act?
  • Define Success:

    • What are time and resource constraints?
    • What can realistically be accomplished?
    • Competition, compromise, or consensus?
  • Gain Understanding:

    • Are perspectives articulated?
    • Is history understood?
    • Has future been considered?
  • Brainstorm Solutions:

    • Who participates?
    • How to encourage creative expression?
    • How to identify best thinking?
  • Optimize Alternatives:

    • Have tradeoffs been considered?
    • Can ideas be synthesized?
    • How can likelihood of success be maximized?
  • Establish Process:

    • Is decision context understood?
    • Is the role of the participant clear?
    • Has threshold for action been set?
  • Inform and Engage:

    • How to encourage participation?
    • How to support learning?
    • How to facilitate civil discourse?
  • Vote:

    • Who, when, where, how?
    • How are votes counted?
    • How is integrity of process maintained?
  • Plan:

    • What is path to success?
    • What constraints should be recognized?
    • What contingencies need consideration?
  • Gather Resources:

    • Who needs to be involved?
    • What assets are required?
    • Is resource lifecycle understood?
  • Execute:

    • Is leadership structure clear?
    • Is team invested in outcome?
    • Are participants acting at highest competency?
  • Document Process

    • What went as expected?
    • What was unanticipated?
    • Were timeline and budget met?
  • Measure Results:

    • Is timeline for impact understood?
    • How are results best quantified?
    • Is measurement of results unbiased?
  • Assess Outcomes:

    • Did action achieve intended objectives?
    • Is cost-benefit analysis favorable?
    • Is the problem solved, or is reframing necessary?
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