The Democratic Shift

The new paradigm of public communication, between trust and accountability.
Research in progress October 2019 - July 2021
John Lichfield, a former British journalist from the Independent journal, expressed surprise on May 8, 2020, on the news website Politico. He shared a feeling of "strange defeat" that now pervades public opinion. He pointed out the failings of the Government in the management of the Covid-19 crisis. "How did we get here? " asks the journalist. In the USA and the UK governments' blunders were more serious and the means deployed less important. However, a large part of the public opinion remained favorable to the decisions of their governors. Of course, the defiance is not new. The Covid-19 crisis comes at a time when many factors are already disrupting the way the French receive and interpret public discourse: fragmentation of opinion, suspicion of so-called "expert" discourse, the technological revolution leading to the transformation of the ways in which judgments are formed... But the crisis has catalyzed these factors and exacerbated their effects. Calls to change communication, to renew the practices of leaders' dialogue with citizens, have become a key measure even of government performance. Faced with the brutality of the looming economic and social crisis, the response must be swift, efficient and unambiguous. To accompany the exit from the crisis, communication must fully play its role as a catalyst of the founding principles of democratic life: dialogue with citizens, transparency and accountability.
Under the direction of Thinkers & Doers and conducted by the Government Information Service, this applied research's objectives are to identify existing solutions with the help of experts, to define a new theoretical and practical framework, i.e. a new matrix for public communication, its conceptual basis and its operational mode.


  • Prototyping of solutions
  • Creation and facilitation of a committee of 22 French and international experts
  • Syndication of academic and university contents
  • Map of positions (state of the art and horizons of solutions)
  • Workshops on “solutions by design” and ideation plenaries with experts
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Analysis of international examples 
Interlocutors and Contributors

The applied research on this topic was conducted as part of an analysis and consultation work commissioned by the Government Information Service. Under the direction of Thinkers & Doers, a committee of 22 experts, in partnership with the OECD and Sciences Po, worked for a year to develop a map of positions, the basis of a new matrix for public communication, and to establish horizons for activable and operational solutions.

If you wish to see the position map and propose solutions or actions for this program, contact us.