Grants / Projects we are funding

New thinking for the British economy: OpenTrust

Grant details


Awarded on:01/07/2016


Area of interest

Systems change

New thinking for the British economy – ideas to shape our future, openDemocracyUK (oD-UK) will host a two year series to stimulate new thinking on transforming Britain’s economy. The project will have wide reach via mainstream media and is directly targeted at change throughout our economic system, exposing policy makers and influencers to new ideas, to change the scope of what is ‘credible’ economics, shifting consensus in civil society and provoke new academic research.

What is the issue?

openDemocracyUK is the UK section of openDemocracy, a global platform which operates on a federal structure; each section is financially and editorially independent.  Readership includes journalists (21%), policy makers or influencers (21%), academics (24%), and activists (41%). 65% said oD helps shape their opinion. 39% said oD helps their work/study. 70% had recommended oD to friends. Nearly 90% of readers surveyed said they had found ideas on oD they had not seen elsewhere. The readership is growing: from 1.1m to 2.9m in the last two years. Drawing on the other sections of openDemocracy, it is part of a global conversation with 10m readers. The series are open to all, Creative Commons licensed, the work is frequently republished, and on many university reading lists. In 2015 articles were cited in 33 books.

openDemocracyUK (oD-UK) will host a two year series to stimulate new thinking on transforming Britain’s economy. The UK faces deep economic problems. A new strategy for a just, resilient economy is needed. And space is needed for a conversation to develop it.  There has been a surge of discussion about specific alternative economic ideas, addressing different parts of our deep and systemic crisis. The result is a fragmented discussion, where different, potentially complementary ideas jostle for attention from those who follow such debates, and those who do not are left feeling that there is no alternative. These ideas need to be woven into a strategy for a just, resilient economy. This needs to be done in an accessible, readable way, capable of building a consensus across UK civil society.

A discussion online isn’t sufficient to answer all of these deep and complex questions, but it is necessary. In the modern world, ‘the answers’ can’t be proclaimed from on high, but must emerge from open conversation.

openDemocracyUK are not affiliated with any political party or ideology. The mission is to examine and provide answers to Britain’s many democratic crises, including the economy.

What will the project try to achieve?

oD-UK aims to build a broad consensus across UK civil society around an alternative strategy for a just, resilient British economy, adopting many of the excellent ideas being widely discussed at the moment and intertwining them into a broader, more collaborative approach.

The project will take five of the best ideas, and present them to relevant leading policy- and decision-makers, using our strong links to figures such as the Shadow Chancellor and the Scottish Finance Minister, to ensure a friendly hearing.

Who might be interested in this project?

oD-UK will collaborate with groups, activists, thinkers and writers from IPPR, Climate Outreach, the New Economics Foundation, The Public Interest Research Centre, the Centre for Alternative Technology, the Institute for Welsh Affairs, Compass, Common Weal and NESTA; to European Alternatives in Berlin and Rome, the Green European Foundation in Brussels, the Democracy Centre in Bolivia and the Democracy Collaborative in Washington DC; from NGOs like 350 and Friends of the Earth to grassroots activists campaigning on climate change, economic and environmental justice, and against racial and gender inequality.

We also expect that the articles and podcasts from the project will be read/listened to by at least 400,000 people.

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