As we move from a paper-based society to an increasingly digital arrangement, the mission of the Think Tank is to provide our stakeholders with innovative solutions in the area of e-Government and democracy.
The Think Tank is headed by a director. It is the role of the director to ensure the independence of the research.
Dr. Costa Vayenas is the author of Democracy in the Digital Age: How we will vote and what we will vote about (2017). His book shows how the disintermediation that digitalization is causing in the private sector is now also impacting the machinery of the state. Digitalization is changing all aspects of how modern societies operate, including democracy. These changes may work to improve the quality of government or make it worse, but ignoring these trends and trying to seek refuge in an unreformed representative system from the late 1700s is not the answer. Before being appointed as the director of the Think Tank, Costa Vayenas worked as an analyst for UBS in London, New York, and Zurich. His recent roles included Head of Research and Head of Credit for emerging markets. He has lectured at the University of Zurich as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).
Lionel Dricot, mostly known under the nickname Ploum, is an engineer, writer, blogger, and blockchain consultant. Passionate about freedom and decentralization, he contributed to multiple free software and open source projects, wrote one of the first books ever published about Ubuntu before joining the Bitcoin community in 2010, foreseeing Bitcoin as a tool to build a more decentralized future. In 2012, he was 14 votes short of becoming the first Pirate Party member elected in Belgium. Lionel is an invited lecturer at École Polytechnique of Louvain (Belgium). In 2017, after more than a decade in the industry, he started a Ph.D. on the subject of Democracy & Blockchain.
Gianluca Miscione joined the group of Management Information Systems at the School of Business of University College Dublin in June 2012. Previously, he worked as Assistant Professor in Geo-Information and Organization at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Netherlands. Gianluca received his Ph.D. in Information Systems and Organization with research on telemedicine in the Amazon. Then, he joined the Department of Informatics of the University of Oslo, where he developed his research on information infrastructures on the global scale. Since 2015, he conducts research on crypto-currencies and blockchain. Since 2017, he is research associate at the Information Management Research Group of the University of Zurich. Common interests with Procivis AG revolve around applications and actual uses of blockchains.
Inge has a corporate background in strategy and impact investing and has extensive operational experience in international relations, policy, and development. She was Senior Policy Advisor to The Elders, a group of senior statesmen and women and has advised a number of governments on building stability via democratic systems and promoting inclusion of the marginalized, especially women. Inge was head of Sustainability at Swiss Fintech Exchange Lykke, advisor to UNEP on Green Digital Finance and is a board member of the Responsible Finance Initiative foundation in Zurich. She is currently working with the US-based ERA foundation on mobilizing global voices on global issues.
Since 2017 Uwe Serdült is a full professor at Ritsumeikan University, Japan, in the College of Information Science and Engineering, while keeping some projects as a principal investigator at the Centre for Democracy Studies Aarau (ZDA) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In this dual position, he is teaching and doing interdisciplinary research in several domains of participatory and digital democracy. Within digital democracy, he is especially interested in internet-based platforms and tools for citizens (e-participation) as well as public administrations (e-government) in order to enhance transparency and deliberation in an information society. In the realms of direct democracy, he is currently focusing on the study of recall institutions and practice in polities as diverse as Japan, Peru, Poland, and Switzerland. Uwe Serdült studied History, Political Science and Computer Science at the Universities of Zurich and Geneva and received his doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
The Think Tank was established in 2018 by its initial sponsor, Procivis AG, with the vision is to spin it off as a separate entity with its own funding. Since September 2019, the Think Tank operates as an independent entity.