Today, an organization’s ability to keep a pulse on its customers and anticipate their needs through data-driven insights is nearly a prerequisite for success. But not in politics. In fact, policy-making seems to be a field resistant to technological change. Policy decisions that shape our daily lives continue to rely on the opinions of a small circle of political elites, instead of on data-driven insights about the people they affect.

The Workshop

So last week we sat down with policy experts from Polis180, an innovative grassroots think tank, for a collaborative research workshop in preparation of a potential “policy datacamp”. The goal? To evaluate opportunities to use digitally-enabled data collection in order to tackle major political and social issues.

The main issues Polis180 identified fell into three categories: the EU, Peace & Security, and Digitalization. For each topic the workshop participants designed a research question and brainstormed survey ideas in order to answer these questions and inform policy makers.

The Results

Europe Group

The participants aimed to understand how different perceptions of what the EU is and does might lead to support or skepticism towards the EU. Answers to this question could inform policy makers what the EU might need to improve its image and ensure it is on track to fulfil its mission as a unifying political force for peace and stability.

Peace & Security Group

The participants wanted to find out how people perceive their current situation, e.g. job opportunities, and compare this perception with existing local conditions, such as education and training programs. The group aimed to identify factors that have a positive impact on the perception of people, in order to potentially imitate the success factors in other regions.

Digitalization Group

The participants wanted to find out how digitalization affects people’s lives. They designed surveys to measure the impact of technology in the areas of work, politics and education. The goal of the group was to understand perceived risks and opportunities of technological change, so as to inform policy makers how to best promote a “Digital Economy”.

What’s Next?

Our research questions and survey drafts mark the first step of an ongoing collaboration with Polis180. The results of our workshop have set the foundation for exciting collaborative research projects to come. We’re looking forward to present you with the results.

To become part of this project, reach out to Daniel ( and become a member of Polis180, the grassroots think-tank on foreign policy.