Democracy needs inspiration and courage. It also needs spaces to discuss and develop new ideas. The independent think tank Das Progressive Zentrum launched the Democracy Lab in April 2017. It offers a space for creative, interdisciplinary and international exchange as well as network-building. As a collaborative platform, we aim at translating ideas coming from civil society into practical recommendations for decision-makers in the field of democratic innovation. Our projects cover a wide range of topics, from digital democracy, the engagement of young people in politics to the issue of representativity and trust.

Innovative Ideas

Progressive Politics

Constructive Debates


  • Illustrate that constant change, agility, a culture of openness and innovative spirit provide benefits and foster the legitimacy of our democratic institutions.
  • Collect and further develop proposals for the innovation of democracy through research and collaborative thinking.
  • Develop ideas that empower democratic institutions and their actors in order for them to successfully tackle the complex challenges we currently face.


Mental Models


The first pillar, “Mental Models,” addresses the issue of attitudes towards democracy – both from citizens and political actors. What ideas and what perception do we have of a “healthy democracy”? What do we understand by “representativity”? What form of democracy do we aim for in the future?


The second pillar, “Structures”, is concerned with the institutional and formal questions of democracy. What innovations are necessary to adapt our democratic institutions to a globalised and digitalised world? How can the various decision-making levels – from local to supranational institutions – work together more efficiently? How can executive institutions improve their organisational culture?


The last pillar, “Processes”, addresses questions concerning the decision-making process, public opinion and political participation of citizens. Within this pillar, we think about processes to increase the acceptability of the political system. We analyse various forms of deliberative and participatory democracy and discuss advantages and inconveniences of direct democracy.

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