Forwarding a participatory legislative reform


Over 70% of the laws passed by the Bundestag in the last legislative period were introduced by the federal government. The bills were drafted in the federal ministries and passed in the cabinet. This impressively demonstrates at least a quantitative superiority of the executive over the legislature. And even bills that come out of the parliament are often based on drafting aids that previously came from the federal government. 

The current legislative process presents many essential challenges concerning normative demands for high democratic participation, transparency, professional stringency and political effectiveness. Our thesis is that the first draft of a law (usually internal to the house or government) is not optimized in terms of technical competence, diversity of social perspectives and political effectiveness, as the procedure should guarantee. The primary political orientation, the quality and the majority of mistakes are determined in this first draft and are insufficiently corrected and revised afterwards. 

With our project, we want to address these challenges and present innovative proposals to suggest reforms for the legislative process. 

In doing so, we have identified the following problem areas to which we want to pay special attention in this project:  

Influence in the run-up to legislation: 

Well-resourced, well-organized groups have significantly more significant influence and opportunities to place issues than other, more marginalized groups.

Lack of evidence base and standards: 

Evidence base is missing: (1) in the identification of a need for a law; (2) in the drafting of the law; and (3) in the evaluation of the proposal by the Bundestag based on (1) and (2) and other criteria already defined at the time of adoption. 

Moreover, there is a lack of standards, criteria and a shared understanding of “good” or “better” legislation at different levels of politics and administration. 

The potential of participation is too rarely used in legislative processes: (1) Large regulatory projects with politically imposed short deadlines usually only allow for sham participation.(2) Formal participation often occurs only at a (very late) procedure stage, when the course has already been set. Furthermore, it often takes place with very short deadlines.(3) Opportunities for early participation (= at the beginning of drafting the law by a department) are rarely used and are not transparent. (4) Additionally, participation opportunities are often non-transparent and inaccessible for many societal actors. Apart from a lack of political will, this is often due to a lack of methods, instruments and procedural models. 

Federal participation is to be criticized, too: states, municipalities, etc., are not sufficiently involved at an early stage.

Division of labor between politics and administration: 

In many legislative processes, there is a lack of transparent and shared descriptions of binding goals. Too early concrete definitions of solutions and tight time limits on the political side narrow the space for developing impact-oriented and practicable laws. 

The work mandate often already contains a solution and thus a massive narrowing of the scope. 

Strong continuous influence by the federal government (especially in the case of politically relevant projects) with constantly changing deadlines and content-related requirements make it difficult to draft the legal text in a well-founded manner. 

Interdepartmental and sectoral cooperation: 

While there is a lack of collaboration tools at the technical level, the operational exchange beyond the formal requirements of the house vote is often dependent on the individual attitude and networking of the leaders. For efficient processing, there is sometimes a lack of overarching planning (resources, deadlines) of legislative projects and corresponding resource allocation. Consequently, early participation time windows are not recognized and used to their full potential. 

A systemic, interdepartmental approach is usually completely lacking. 

Legal competences: 

There is no methodological support for project management, participation formats, content design, etc. 

Systematic training in legal competence, including a greater appreciation of the necessary non-legal methodological skills, does not exist and is usually not brought along by previous training and experience. As a result, teams are neither put together in line with needs nor the necessary diversity of competencies, and the use of existing knowledge in legislative preparation is not organized efficiently.  

Knowledge management: 

There is a lack of knowledge transfer between the administration and parliament: the political need for a law is often disconnected from the technical support in the departments. Members of parliament (especially the opposition) have no access to information gained in the process of ministerial preparation of legislation. Parliament replicates what is already practiced in the ministries. Moreover, it is not understandable for parliament why certain decisions in favor/against options for action have been made in the ministries. As a result, parliament and administrations often use different sources, particularly their own ‘bubbles’. 

Lack of traceability concerning participation/influence: 

It is unclear which external actors are involved in the legislation, when and in what way, and how this involvement affects the legislative text. There are indications that this favors economically strong interests and that weak interests organized in civil society are heard late or not at all. 


We have four objectives with this project: 

We want to review the challenges presented in the problem description to determine to what extent draft laws are changed in content and how the further legislative process optimizes them. We also want to determine at what stage changes occur to the drafts, how far-reaching these are and whether the current legislative process delivers satisfactory results measured against its own demands. This investigation should provide information on those aspects of the procedure where the legislation can and must be improved. 

We want to communicate the results of this study publicly and open them up to social discourse. 

We want to continue by developing approaches and prototypes for better, more innovative, more transparent and more participatory legislative procedures in an open co-creative process with representatives of civil society organizations and invited experts.  

We want to subject two of these prototypes to a real-life test to gain insight into which methodological approaches and procedural steps significantly optimize the quality of a legislative procedure. The ultimate goal is to be able to make concrete recommendations for a reform of the legislative process based on the experience gained from these tests. We strive to provide a model for a legislative procedure that can be implemented in an actual legislative project. 


Jascha Rohr
project lead on the side of the Cocreation Foundation

A cooperation of:

Funded by:
















Forwarding a participatory legislative reform

    Workshop „A Participatory Process to Tackle Climate Change Globally“ (GRP27)

    by Jascha Rohr • 6. Oktober 2020

    We were part of the first annual Untitled festival, held 17–18 September 2020 online and in Helsinki. The Festival is an intimate annual celebration of imagination and experimentation. We focus on the societal transformation and align action with unlikely allies. It is a festival, not a gig or a conference, let alone a webinar. In 2020 there was main stage for convening all the participants together, 40+ really intriguing parallel sessions, of art, conversations and experiment workshops, moments and breaks to prevent online fatigue – but also chaos, joy and serendipity. [Continue Reading]

    Cocreation & Climate Conferences (GRP 18)

    by Jascha Rohr • 12. Mai 2020

    We are soon issuing our next study about the design of the climate conferences. This little study is more or less an analysis of the design of the climate conferences as they are now. It is a first approach for our own understanding of how these processes work now, where there are shortcomings and where we can we can introduce cocreative methodologies or even set up an additional cocreative process for climate change on a global level. [Continue Reading]

    What is the „Stadtwerkstatt“? (GRP17)

    by Jascha Rohr • 12. Mai 2020

    Directly at Alexanderplatz, the Stadtwerkstatt (City Laboratory) is hosting a space for more than 38 different citizen's projects within Berlin Mitte. The Institute for Participatory Design has the mandate by the Berlin senate to design and implement a process for these various initiatives. [Continue Reading]

    An Example of Deep Cocreation (GRP16)

    by Jascha Rohr • 12. Mai 2020

    Cocreation nowadays has become a buzzword. So how do we differentiate cocreation on a shallow vs. a deep level? Cocreation Foundation founder Jascha Rohr shares his perspective on cocreation and gives a concrete example of how it is used as a cultural technique. [Continue Reading]

    What do we mean by Cocreation? (GRP15)

    by Jascha Rohr • 12. Mai 2020

    A cultural technique or a cultural technology is an evolutionary step for humanity. It is a technique that humanity as a whole has learned, i.e. agriculture, reading and writing, digitalization, industrialization. When I refer to cocreation as a cultural technique I want to say that I feel that for the challenges that we as humanity are facing today, cocreation is of the same importance and that we all as humanity have to learn to cocreate to face these challenges. [Continue Reading]

    Theory of Change

    by Jascha Rohr • 8. April 2020

    The mission of Cocreation Foundation is to map, develop, test and establish the cultural technique of cocreation for better global governance. Our Theory of Change describes why, how and what we are doing to achieve our mission: Governance processes urgently need an update on a regional, national and transnational level to tackle challenges like climate change, plastic in the oceans or effectively fight pandemics like the Corona crisis. [Continue Reading]

    In Dialogue with: Michel Bauwens from the P2P Foundation (GRP12)

    by Jascha Rohr • 3. April 2020

    I met Michel Bauwens at the Elevate Festival in Graz. At the first warm day of the year, one day before the Corona crisis hit Europe full on, we met at this avantgarde festival of music, discussions and dialogue about human nature and the transformation and future of our society. Together in this brief conversation, Michel shared his ideas on global transformation, social change, commons, a crypto-based sustainable economy and global governance. [Continue Reading]

    Climate Change & Corona. A conversation with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (GRP13)

    by Jascha Rohr • 30. März 2020

    Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker is promoting a new kind of enlightenment, inspired by global humanism and eastern philosophy. He believes that we have to invent new products and business models who are climate efficient. The price of a good has to be calculated according to the environmental damage it evokes. It does not make sense to compare the Corona crises to the climate crises since we are dealing with very different framework conditions especially concerning the time of the exponential curve. [Continue Reading]

    Global Cocreation Forum Reflections (GRP08)

    by Jascha Rohr • 15. Februar 2020

    We developed the Global Cocreation Forum to give people a feeling for cocreation in action. Inspired by the pattern language approach of Christopher Alexander, participants contribute knowledge and insights on topics such as collective healing, compassion and how to create a healthy relationship to identity, and explore how they might be considered in global governance processes. [Continue Reading]

    What is the Global Resonance Project (GRP 01)

    by Jascha Rohr • 11. Dezember 2019

    Since August we have been building our network in Stockholm, Kyiv, Berlin, London and Vienna. We’ve combined our fundraising efforts with a format to give people a feeling for cocreation in action. In Berlin, Stockholm and Vienna, more than 70 experts have participated in Global Cocreation Forum thus starting to work on understanding the above mentioned deeper patterns of cocreation for better global governance... [Continue Reading]

    Our Journey So Far (GRP 07)

    by Jascha Rohr • 11. Dezember 2019

    Each of us come from different but complementary backgrounds, so we decided to spend the summer consolidating our networks and slowly enlarging our circles of connection.  To give people a feeling for cocreation in action, we developed a workshop format to explore some themes - such as collective healing and compassion - that we felt needed to be considered in global governance processes.  [Continue Reading]

    Video: Personal and Transpersonal Cocreation (GRP 02)

    by Jascha Rohr • 9. Dezember 2019

    In this video I share some thoughts on the dynamics between personal and transpersonal processes, and what this means for cocreation. Many people think that cocreation is simply about getting a lot of people in the room to create something together using the same old methods, but in order for deep cocreation to happen everyone must first be supported in their own personal growth. [Continue Reading]

    Video: What is the Cocreation Foundation? (GRP 03)

    by Jascha Rohr • 9. Dezember 2019

    We started the Cocreation Foundation because we see a great need for redesigning transnational and global politics. Why is now the right time to be thinking about new forms of governance? If we want to rise up to the challenge of climate change or global inequality we desperately need to reform the ways we govern ourselves as a global community. In this video I present the foundation and give some background on the experiences and thoughts which led to this initiative. [Continue Reading]

    Video: Conversation with Tomas Björkman (GRP 06)

    by Jascha Rohr • 9. Dezember 2019

    Social entrepreneur Tomas Björkman is initiator of the Emerge platform and network. He is the author of three books, The Nordic Secret, The Market Myth and The World We Create. Jascha sat down with Tomas at the Emerge Gathering in Kyiv to discuss his work and mission to cocreate a more conscious society. [Continue Reading]