The Coordinator of GlobalSay is the Danish Board of Technology Foundation – which in Danish is called Fonden Teknologirådet. In short DBT.
The role of the Coordinator
The Coordinator is the owner of the GlobalSay method in terms of copyrights, ownership to the involved software and in terms of setting the rules for the GlobalSay Community.
In practice this means that the Community can only engage in a GlobalSay Action if the Coordinator accepts it. This gives a veto right to the Coordinator – and why is that so? There are several good reasons:
- There needs to be a ‘legal entity’ to have the main responsibility for the activities. The GlobalSay Community is not a ‘legal entity’ and it is difficult to see – at least in the short run – how it could be organised as such.
- There will be money involved in GlobalSay development and use. It is therefore needed to have a central Coordinator who can manage the funds. The DBT has a long track record of taking care of trusted money and using them responsibly.
- The GlobalSay Community will potentially become a huge community with many Members, National Nodes and Partners. At least in the beginning there will be a need for a very simple organisational structure so that the organisational efforts are kept to a minimum.
- There will be a need for having a central actor who has extensive experience with coordination of large international projects. DBT has that.
- And finally, the DBT is the initiator and inventor of GlobalSay and has invested much in that. It seems fair to keep some special rights with the DBT and also a chance for getting the costs covered.
This does not at all mean that the Coordinator will decide everything. There will be many important tasks that will be taken care of by other actors in the Community:
- Partners will by majority vote choose the topics that should be taken up by GlobalSay.
- Partners will take co-responsibility for producing information materials, questions etc. for the GlobalSay Actions – including setting up peer review systems and ensuring quality.
- The Partner group will decide which new Partners and National Nodes to include in GlobalSay.
- National Nodes will decide their national strategies for developing the community.
- National Nodes will make their own national coordination so that they share the work and responsibility for the national efforts.
- Partners and National Nodes will take part in drawing up conclusions and recommendations from a GlobalSay Action.
- Partners and National Nodes will decide on and execute policy outreach nationally and internationally.
So, roughly, the Coordinator will manage the GlobalSay structure, and the Coordinator, Partners and National Nodes will co-manage the execution of GlobalSay Actions.
DBT is a common good corporate foundation. It is not-for-profit in the sense that noone can draw profit from the work of the foundation. If the foundation makes a revenue then this has to be used according to the mission of the foundation. The DBT is overseen by the Danish Business Authority and the state authorised auditor Christensen Kjærulff.
The story of DBT goes back to 1985 when the Danish Parliament decided to establish a Parliamentary Technology Assessment institution in Denmark. The Board was established by a law that stated that the work of the Board should build on Danish traditions for democracy. Because of that the DBT began to experiment with making policy advice by involving societal actors in the work of the Board – including citizens.
- In 1987 the DBT made the first ever so-called Consensus Conference in which a panel of citizens wrote a recommendation report for the Danish Parliament about “Gene technology in industry and agriculture”. This method has since then been used all over the world and has been called the “Danish model Consensus Conference”.
- In 1989 the Board developed a method called “Scenario Workshop”, in which citizens, stakeholders, experts and authorities work together to develop a common vision and make action plans to realise it. This method was later taken up by the EU and renamed into “European Awareness Scenario Workshop”.
- 2008-11 the DBT led an EU research consortium, which developed the CIVISTI method, in which citizens make their visions for the future, which are transformed into new topics for research.
- In 2009 DBT launched the World Wide Views initiative in order to create world citizen input to the climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. The method involved 100-person citizen meetings in 38 countries around the world. Since then “WWViews” has been used in connection to the UN biodiversity negotiations 2012 (25 countries) and the UN climate negotiations in Paris 2015 (76 countries).
These are some examples of citizen engagement methods developed by the DBT. There are more and it will not stop there. DBT still wants to be at the front in the invention of new ways to make co-creation, engagement and participation.
DBT was in 2012 transformed from a public institution to a common good corporate foundation. It still has a mission in making policy advice based upon new and innovative engagement methods. The DBT employs around 30 staffers with very mixed experience and professionel background – biology, anthropology, sociology, forestry, economy, technology/society, philosophy… One thing that all staffers have in common is that they share a deep interest in developing a more engaging and involving way to develop our societies, which builds upon the many forms of knowledge in our societies and creates shared ownership to the outcome.