Published on February 26, 2013

From Fairy Tale to Reality

By Edward Andersson

Edward Andersson is European Associate for Involve and an established expert on methods of participatory decision making. He set up – one of Europe’s leading public engagement sites, and has advised a number of organisations on public engagement strategies, including the Home Office, the European Commission, the OECD, WHO Europe, UNDP Turkey and numerous Local Authorities and Health Trusts.

From Fairy Tale to Reality

From Fairy Tale to Reality

Citizen engagement has become increasingly important in the last ten years, but we have barely scraped the surface of what innovative public engagement can do for public services, communities and citizens. Part of what is holding us back is outdated myths about citizen engagement.

“From Fairy Tale to Reality: Dispelling the Myths around Citizen Engagement” is a collaborative venture by Involve and the RSA. The pamphlet debunks common misconceptions of public engagement such as fears of spiralling costs and dwindling prospects of success, and provides evidence to the contrary. Drawing on six innovative case studies from Croydon to Tuscany and Estonia, the pamphlet offers much needed alternatives to the way in which we deliver our public services.

Full pamphlet: From Fairy Tale to Reality: Dispelling the Myths around Citizen Engagement

Summary: From Fairy Tale to Reality: Dispelling the Myths around Citizen Engagement – Summary

11 Responses to “From Fairy Tale to Reality”

  1. Mike Vickers
    July 27, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I live in Scotland
    Scotland is the least democratic country in Europe.
    We are trying to reintroduce the delegation of democracy back to where it was 30 years ago and set up what was then Town Councils.
    We need to involve the citizens of the Town so that they lobby, but also , as you say, Public Services will need to radically rethink how they provide those services; but we have to do it in such a way that they see it expanding their role rather than the reverse.
    Which of you tools can you suggest we should use?
    More generally any advice as per Tuscany
    Kind regards
    Mike Vickers

  2. September 2, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Mike,
    Many thanks for your question (which is great, but a difficult one). Have you tried the method search on There’s a lot of material there which might be useful to you. In order to understand which tools to recommend I was wondering if you can clarify if you are looking for tools that your citizen group can use or tools that the Town Council could use ?



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