Democracy by Design


Start-ups and tech companies have an important role to play in the digital transformation. With their applications and services, they’re shaping the data landscape of the future. They also have a direct influence on the organisation of society and our political discourse.

So how can we ensure that ethical and democratic values are reflected in the design of these new technologies? In Democracy by Design, the latest project in our Digital Europe 2030 series, we’re working closely with companies, industry associations and digital start-ups to identify specific action steps and develop a set of guidelines.


The project series Digital Europe 2030 was launched in 2019 to promote a digital transformation guided by principles of democracy, openness and a social market economy. Previous work in the series has included the scenario-building projects ‘The Public Sphere and Digital Sovereignty’ and ‘Data and Democracy’, based on which we formulated specific policy options to help build a digital Europe.

However, a strategic digital policy can’t just rely on regulation, it also needs support from companies, since it’s they who will set far-reaching standards through the design of their products and services. Whether or not these standards are aligned with democratic values and the public good will have a big impact on our digital ecosystem, from social media algorithms to AI-assisted applications for work and leisure. Companies’ willingness to design new technologies based on democratic and ethical values is at the heart of the principle democracy by design.


Just like earlier projects in the series, Digital Europe 2030: Democracy by Design will focus on collaboration between civil society, industry and the public sector. In the first phase of the project, based on expert interviews the project defines principles that should govern the design of future technologies, such as those based on algorithms or AI.

This will then be followed by a series of workshops with companies, industry associations and start-ups in which participants will identify specific steps that their own organisations can take, as well as key measures for the economy as a whole. Based on the findings from these workshops, a prototype toolkit will be developed that will put ‘Democracy by Design” into practice.

As part of the partnership with the Alliance for Democracies Foundation, interim results will be shared and discussed with an international expert audience at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit from 15 to 16 May 2023.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Alexandra Hunger.


Show content of Becker, Nikolas

Nikolas Becker

Expert Group

Nikolas Becker heads the Politics and Science team of the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI) and the Digital GreenTech network. He is an expert in the fields of digitization and sustainability, ethical AI development, IT security and research data. As a member of the DIN Expert Group AI standardization and conformity, he represents the stakeholder group science in the Cyber Security Dialogue Committee of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). Between 2011 and 2016 he was a member of the executive committee of Wikimedia Deutschland – Gesellschaft zur Förderung des freien Wissens e.V.

Show content of Blachetta, Frederik

Felix Blachetta

Expert Group

Frederik Blachetta is Chief Data Officer of the Federal Chancellery, where he leads the Data Lab and coordinates the Labs across all ministries. Prior, he was Chief Strategy Officer of Dataport. Together with his team, he designed scenarios for the future of digitization of administration and society and accompanies the transformation of the company. To this end, he dealed with driving developments and factors, in particular the topics of cloud, data platforms, digital sovereignty and open source.


Show content of Blankertz, Aline

Aline Blankertz

Expert Group

Aline Blankertz is an applied economist and currently works as a policy officer at Wikimedia Deutschland for political framework conditions for free knowledge, e.g. in data policy and platform regulation. She also serves on the board of the SINE Foundation, a non-profit think-and-do tank for data collaboration.

Show content of Böhnke, Olaf

Olaf Böhnke

Expert Group

Olaf Böhnke is Berlin Director and Senior Advisor of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation. He is currently working on the growing influence of digital technologies on geopolitics and democracies worldwide. Previously, he was Director of the ECFR office in Berlin and Managing Director of the European China Policy Unit at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS).

Show content of Cipierre, Paula

Paula Cipierre Copyright Joerg C Jasper

Image ©Joerg C Jasper

Expert Group

Paula Cipierre leads privacy and data ethics at Palantir Technologies. She advises the company on strategic and ethical issues regarding the development and deployment of Palantir software. Paula has a background in the humanities and social sciences and is currently completing a part-time degree in information technology law.

Show content of Groh, Adriana

Adriana Groh Copyright Bundesagentur fuer Sprunginnovation

Image ©Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovation

Expert Group

Adriana Groh is co-founder of the Sovereign Tech Fund, a new program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection to invest in open digital infrastructures. Previously, she set up a project on digital sovereignty, participation and data commons at The New Institute in Hamburg and was director of the Prototype Fund, an innovation fund of the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Show content of Krafft, Tobias

Tobias Krafft

Expert Group

Tobias D. Krafft is a PhD student at the Chair of Algorithm Accountability at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and Managing Director of Trusted AI GmbH. He is an expert in black box analyses and regulatory approaches of algorithmic decision-making systems, which is why DIN appointed him head of the "Ethics/Responsible AI" working group as part of the AI standardization roadmap.

Show content of Dr. Oels, Wolfgang

Wolfgang Oels Copyright Pako Quijada

Image ©Pako Quijada

Expert Group

Wolfgang Oels is an industrial engineer with a doctorate in energy economics. He worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and then worked for seven years in the solar industry in Germany and California, including managing the largest solar cell production in the world at the time. Since 2016, he has been COO at Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees. His book "Democracy for Future – das demokratische Update zur Klimawende" (Democracy for Future – the democratic update on climate change) is a committed plea for the further development of our democracy.

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Clark Parsons

Expert Group

Clark Parsons is Executive Director of the Internet Economy Foundation. The American began his career as a journalist in Nashville, Tennessee and came to Germany in 1997 on a Robert Bosch Fellowship. After working in American and British media companies and at KPMG/Bearing Point, he headed the Berlin School of Creative Leadership for over six years.

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Julia Reinhardt Copyright Barak Shrama

Image ©Barak Shrama

Expert Group

Julia Reinhardt is Senior Fellow of Stiftung Mercator at the AI Campus Berlin on the topic AI Act of the EU and its implementation by small AI companies. She is a member of the AI Regulation Steering Committee of the German AI Association and a strategy advisor to the European AI & Society Fund. Previously, she was a data protection consultant, Fellow in Residence of the Mozilla Foundation and for many years in the German diplomatic service.

Show content of Ritter, Teresa

Teresa Ritter

Expert Group

Teresa Ritter works as a Senior Associate at the GovTech Campus Germany, where she drives the development and expansion of the GovTech ecosystem for the public sector. Previously, Teresa worked at the Agency for Innovation in Cyber Security GmbH of the Federal Government, at the digital association Bitkom and at the holding company of the RAG Foundation, RSBG ICT. The focus of her work was on security policy, cyber and information security as well as digitization.

Show content of Prof. Dr. Staab, Steffen

Stefan Staab

Expert Group

Steffen Staab has been Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the University of Stuttgart in the Department of Analytic Computing at the Institute for Parallel and Distributed Systems since 2020. Previously, from 2004 to 2020, he was Professor of Databases and Information Systems at the University of Koblenz-Landau at the Institute of Computer Science and at the Institute for Web Science and Technologies - WeST, which he founded in 2009.

Show content of Styma, Felix

Felix Styma

Expert Group

After Felix Styma helped to establish the Internet Economy Foundation as a think tank for regulatory issues relating to the German and European technology ecosystem from 2015, as Managing Partner of the strategy consultancy iconomy, he now primarily supports European start-ups, scale-ups and VCs in their special challenges.

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Theresa Zueger Copyright Theresa-Zueger

Image ©Theresa-Zueger

Expert Group

Theresa Züger is head of the AI & Society Lab at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and the Young Researcher Group Public Interest AI, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which deals with the question of how artificial intelligence can serve the common good.