Media Releases

Delvinia and Munk School of Global Affairs partner to study eDemocracy

April 18, 2013

Partnership to examine innovative uses of digital technology in citizen engagement

TORONTO, ON – Delvinia, a leading digital strategy and customer experience design firm, and the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs in the University of Toronto are pleased to announce a partnership to study eDemocracy and the impact of technology on citizen engagement in Canada.

Delvinia has extensive experience working with all levels of government in designing and implementing citizen engagement strategies that utilize digital technologies. As a result, Delvinia is embarking on a new initiative with the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, led by Dr. David Wolfe, to further study a citizen-centric approach to improve public engagement in policy issues.

This industry-led partnership will ultimately support the development of the Voice of eDemocracy, an online forum to be built on Delvinia’s AskingCanadians platform. The purpose of the forum is to create new digital participation experiences that will help municipalities to engage resident opinion, inform residents, and involve them in politics to a greater degree.

“We were looking for an academic institution that had the foresight and the ability to develop strategic and scholarly insight around the policies that will affect the future of democracy and the use of digital technologies in government,” said Delvinia CEO Adam Froman, who originally approached the Innovations and Partnerships Office at the University of Toronto, which then set up the introduction to Dr. Wolfe. “We were intrigued when introduced to the Innovation Policy Lab because of its mandate to research demand-driven innovation, which is consistent with Delvinia’s customer-centric design philosophy.”

As part of the partnership, Delvinia has made a financial investment, matched by the financial support of Mitacs, a national not-for-profit research organization, to fund Nicole Goodman, PhD, as a postdoctoral fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Nicole supported Delvinia’s past research in the area of eDemocracy as the author of the 2011 Delvinia Report on Internet Voting. She will work through the Innovation Policy Lab to conduct independent academic research and provide a scholarly perspective on Delvinia’s ongoing work in eDemocracy.

“We are excited that Delvinia came to the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs to help them study this emerging area,” Wolfe said. “The opportunity to partner with Delvinia and to bring Nicole on board to study eDemocracy will help propel forward the Innovation Policy Lab’s research and teaching agenda in demand-driven innovation.”

The Innovation Policy Lab will study the impact of the Voice of eDemocracy initiative on society from a citizen’s point of view, providing an independent scholarly perspective to help municipalities and other governments understand and develop policy that engages, informs, and involves citizens.

This project is designed to solve the government-citizen disconnect through the development of a digital-based forum that can facilitate democratic dialogue between elected representatives and citizens,” Froman said. It represents a novel approach to bring citizens back into the democratic process by harnessing the power of digital technologies.”

About Delvinia
Delvinia is a leading digital strategy and customer experience design consultancy that specializes in solving customer experience problems. Founded in 1998, our approach to enhancing and innovating customer experiences is rooted in the use of our customer-centric design process, data-driven insights, storytelling and digital platforms. With strong customer insight capabilities powered by our AskingCanadians online research community, we are able to gain customer intelligence to fuel our award-winning strategy and design teams. Delvinia works with leading brands across a spectrum of industries, including financial services, media and publishing, education, retail, hospitality, healthcare and technology. For more information about Delvinia, please visit delvinia.com.

About the Munk School for Global Affairs
The Munk School of Global Affairs speaks to the diverse set of complex ideas and challenges shaping the global system. The newly strong powers in Asia, a global platform of innovation, global capital markets, the challenges of security in cyberspace, the security of the Arctic, and new concepts of global justice are all engaged by outstanding faculty and researchers drawn from across the University of Toronto, Canada’s premier research university. With exceptional degree programs and innovative research labs, the School attracts thought-leaders and students from around the world who are deeply engaged in global affairs. It is home to the flagship Master of Global Affairs and over forty research institutes and programs. For more information, please visit: munkschool.utoronto.ca.

About the Innovations & Partnerships Office at the University of Toronto
The Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) helps build successful partnerships between industry and the University of Toronto research community and manages U of T’s portfolio of intellectual property – turning ideas and innovations into products, services, companies, and jobs.

About Mitacs Accelerate
Mitacs Accelerate, the program funding Nicole Goodman, is a national program to support collaboration between academic researchers and private sector companies. Mitacs gratefully acknowledges the Government of Canada, the Networks of Centres of Excellence’s Industrial Research and Development Internship program and the Government of Ontario for their support of Mitacs Accelerate in the province.

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For more information, please contact:

Susan O’Neill
Public Relations Manager
Delvinia
416.364.1455 ext. 272
soneill@delvinia.com

Sean Willett
Chief of Communications
Munk School of Global Affairs
416.946.8904
sean.willett@utoronto.ca