Exploring Social Technologies for Democracy

Kaliya Young, Heidi Nobantu Saul, Tom Atlee, Jennifer Morone

October 7, 2021

Exploring social technologies & their role in fostering democracy with Kaliya Young, Heidi Nobantu Saul & Tom Atlee, moderated by Jennifer Morone.

We see democracy as ideally a process of co-creating the conditions of our shared lives, solving our collective problems, and learning about life from and with each other. The less force and the more creativity, aliveness, and intelligence we can bring to this process, the better. This requires a lot of communication and conversation to share information, ideas, experiences, needs, values, energy and so much more - in ways that actually work.

Many different approaches to doing this sharing and talking have been created. When such ways are formalized as methods that can be applied and taught, we call them “technologies”. Most of the social technologies for democracy we work with are grounded in conversation - discussion, dialogue, deliberation, choice-creating, negotiation, collective visioning, and various forms of council, assembly, conference, and so on. There are different dynamics and nuances among them, and there are experts trained to facilitate the theory and/or practice.

Democratic technologies, thought of and used in this way, can be applied in creative new ways that enable people to become more engaged with each other, with better results and less wasted, counter-productive energy, thus moving towards more successful, enjoyable self-governance. They operate at a variety of scales from small groups, organizations, and networks to whole societies.

SPEAKERS: Kaliya Young (@identitywoman) - Founder of, an event design and facilitation for professional communities. Co-founded the Internet Identity Workshop in 2005. It still meets twice a year and is the world’s leading interactive, industry shaping event that brings together the largest concentration of talent dedicated to designing and building online identity systems that empower individuals.

She is an expert and leader in the fields of user-centric digital identity, self-sovereign identity and personal data and has appeared in this capacity in three different RxC events. She blogs, and tweets under her community handle – “Identity Woman“.

Heidi Nobantu Saul, MAM (@nobantu) - International facilitator and process design professional. Specializing in planning and facilitating large and small Open Space Technology (OST) meetings for organizations, agencies, educational institutions, retreats, strategic planning, and open events such as unConferences. Much of her facilitation practice involves working with people who are working on the leading edge of change.

Along with facilitation she enjoys working with others co-developing events, training courses and tools (process design) for self-exploration, expanding self and collective awareness and working sustainably together.

Tom Atlee (@tomatlee) - Co-founder of the nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute in Eugene, Oregon. Author of The Tao of Democracy, Empowering Public Wisdom, Participatory Sustainability, and Reflections on Evolutionary Activism. His Wise Democracy Pattern Language offers an encyclopedia of democratic innovations and of approaches to generating collective wisdom.

His blog - Random Communications from an Evolutionary Edge - explores a wide range of topics in provocative ways, and has spent 32 years researching and writing about co-intelligence with no formal institutional support beyond his small nonprofit. He is supported by the people on his mailing list which you can join by emailing him at (subject: SUBSCRIBE).

MODERATOR: Jennifer Morone (@jlmorone) - Artist and CEO of RadicalxChange Foundation. As an artist, she makes work that seeks to disrupt the narratives that humans create – such as corporations and nation states, and has been dealing with the problematic position of the individual in the contemporary world of work for many years. In 2014, she registered herself as a corporation – Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc, of which she is the director, the shareholder, and the basic product, in order to try to provoke the ruling economic and legal system from within. Since 2019 she has been working on The Scheme of Things, a co-creative process that brings to life imaginations of what a desirable post-work world might look like through various media.