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Matt Ryan

Senior Fellow

Matt Ryan researches democratic innovations and change. His main research interests are how political institutions are responding to the apparent demand for more participatory forms of governing, and the use of participatory methods for better public problem solving.

Matt’s forthcoming article in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, sets out how between 2010-2018 South Australia experienced a period of ‘interactive political leadership’. In it he documents the particular leadership style adopted, the range of democratic innovation experiments that were undertaken, and discusses ways to address the challenges participatory leadership styles confront.

As a Senior Fellow of The Governance Lab, founded at New York University and affiliated with Northeastern University, Matt’s research has explored the use of ‘collective intelligence’, and digital and participatory approaches adopted by courts, legislatures and policy making bodies. This research has also contributed to the development of programs that introduce innovative problem-solving techniques to legal professionals and public officials.

Matt’s research at Flinders University into how politicians perceive democratic innovations led to him being awarded first class Honours, being awarded The Bill Brugger Prize, and being a recipient of a Chancellor’s Letter of Commendation. His PhD research is investigating the contribution parliamentary public engagement makes to democratic representation in Australia.

The research Matt undertakes is strongly informed by an extensive career working in political offices. As a Deputy Chief of Staff to a South Australian Premier he led work on an internationally recognised democratic reform program, which included multiple citizens’ juries, large scale participatory budgeting, open innovation challenges, and a participatory style of political leadership. He continues to pursue democratic innovation and change through a range of Australian and international associations and community-led initiatives.

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