Polithon believes in an engaged and empowered electorate that is involved in the policy making process from day one, coming from the bottom up.
Our mission is to close the gap between citizens and government by giving a stronger voice to the people most affected by policy and engaging them directly in the policymaking process through hackathons.
It’s 2016, and money and special interests rule our political system. Just 158 families provided nearly half of the early money for the presidential election. Ordinary voters feel the game is rigged and their voices aren’t heard. Policy is being developed from the top down, and people are frustrated, but also disengaged. They don’t know how to effectively channel their frustration to change things or offer actionable solutions.
Our system is broken, but it wasn’t always this way. It was just designed for a different era, before the internet was even imagined, before we were all connected. The system has not changed to deal with the new reality, and hasn’t used any of the new technology, except to find new ways to shout at us. Our founding fathers envisioned a direct relationship between elected officials and their constituents – a representative democracy. Districts have grown from 30,000 to 750,000, while the way our government operates hasn’t changed much at all. The voice of the people has been lost.
By 2020, Generation Y will make up 40% of the voting public in the US, giving us enormous power. While Harvard polls suggest we believe strongly in community service, we don’t believe we have a say in what the government does. As a result, in the last midterm election, less than 20% of us voted.
This is where Polithon comes in. Everything we do is bottom up, not top down. We’re using new methodology and technology to give people a voice in policy again and engage them in our democracy.
Stage One: Polithon – a 48 hour event (modeled after a tech hackathon) where a diverse group of citizens is brought together and broken into strategic teams to tackle an issue and develop feasible policy solutions with the support of experts
Stage Two: Consensus – our planned online/mobile platform where the group can post and vote on the solution then get the broader constituency to join the discussion, suggest amendments, and put their support behind the solution, which then moves on to the lawmakers for implementation
Organizational Structure + Value Add
Polithon channels the anger, frustration, and complaining of citizens into a methodology that engages and empowers millennials to develop policy solutions that are actionable. As a social enterprise, we are hired by existing advocacy organizations, government agencies, and grassroots movements to help them crowd-source their policy platforms so they are going to lawmakers with specific asks that come directly from the constituencies affected. This allows them to add young voices and fresh perspective to the solutions they put forward and gives them established “people power” behind these solutions since they’re coming from the bottom up. The new generation is less ideological by nature, and tends to focus more on issues than political affiliation. Because of this, they have new ways of thinking about things and build un-obvious coalitions our clients want insight from.