Consulting With Citizens in the Design of Wellbeing Measures and Policies
1NUI Galway, Ireland
Background: Current thinking suggests measuring social progress and national wellbeing requires something more than GDP. Method: We employed a novel approach to the design of a national wellbeing index by experts, citizens, and politicians. Participants first generated a list of strategic objectives to guide efforts to enhance the wellbeing of the Irish public. A systems science methodology, Interactive Management, which optimises deliberation and co-design in group settings and graphically represents inter-relations between ideas generated, was later employed. This facilitated participants in further developing strategic objectives within each domain. Findings: Domains for which strategic objectives were developed included Education, Business and Employment, Community, Health, Democracy, Environment, Sustainability, Governance, Lifestyle and Equality. An influence structure highlighted governance involving community participation as the primary driver. Discussion: Different countries have focused more or less on citizen consultation in the design of wellbeing measures and policies. We believe involving citizens to be crucial and have developed an effective way of doing so.