Demos was last night awarded as having Britain’s best think tank website at the Prospect Magazine Think Tank of the Year Awards 2006. The announcement was made by Ed Balls MP at a ceremony celebrating outstanding achievements in policy thinking. Chairman of the judging panel David Walker praised the Demos website as ‘pushing the boundaries of online collaboration’ and breaking new ground in ‘e-engagement’. Hailing Demos’ willingness to experiment and take risks he gave special mention to the Demos blog, to which he has been an occasional contributor.
Launched in June, www.demos.co.uk has taken the think tank’s guiding principles of ‘Everyday Democracy’ online. Unique among its peers the site goes beyond promoting work and products to become a truly participatory research tool. Through bespoke project blogs and light touch editing researchers gain real-time feedback on emerging ideas; through ‘wiki’ technology the website can allow cooperative editing between Demos researchers and associates; while social tagging allows users to be part of defining Demos content in their own words.
Accepting the award Demos’ Website Manager Molly Webb said:
“I’m delighted to take home the best think tank website award for Demos. For a few years Demos has been committed to open access and free downloads of our publications, but we wanted to get people involved in our research before we publish. Along with our friends at social software consultancy Headshift we’ve worked hard to build a site that puts participation, transparency and engagement theories into practice.”
Livio Hughes, Headshift Director, said:
"Many organisations are waking up to the communication opportunities offered by the integration of social media tools into their online offering, but much of this is still limited to the occasional PR-managed blog. By contrast, Demos have embraced the social media revolution and placed online social networking and informal knowledge sharing techniques at the heart of their work. We're very fortunate to be working with such visionary clients and we're absolutely delighted that their efforts have been recognised with this award."
The Demos website is designed to optimise interaction between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to provide better policy ideas and solutions. Molly thinks we are just beginning to understand the possibilities of decentralised tools and how they will impact the relationship between people and their governments at all levels.
”These are still early days for the site and we are very ambitious! I'm looking forward to a lot of exciting and challenging work to come, and this recognition shows that we are heading in the right direction”.
Notes for Editors
- The Prospect Magazine Think Tank of the Year Awards were held on Wednesday September 20th at The Savile Club in Mayfair. The awards judging panel was chaired by David Walker, Editor of Guardian Public; and Michael Gove MP.
- The Demos website was launched in June 2006 and built by Headshift.
- Headshift is a professional online social media consulting and development company. They work with a range of knowledge- based organisations to create successful online communication projects that exploit the power of social networking.
- Molly Webb is Demos’ Website Manager and a Researcher on science, technology and innovation. She is currently leading the Korea research for the Atlas of Ideas: China, India, South Korea and the new geography of science, a project looking at innovation systems, emerging trends in science and technology and models of scientific collaboration.
- Demos is the think tank for everyday democracy, the idea that all people should have greater influence over factors that effect them and their communities.
- Media enquiries: Mark Fuller, Demos Communications Executive
+44 (0)20 7367 6325 or +44 (0)7952 286223