Gregor Hackmack

Ashoka Fellow
Hamburg, Germany
Fellow Since 2008


This profile was prepared when Gregor Hackmack was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Working to counteract widespread political apathy, Gregor makes state and federal politics transparent and accessible to citizens. Through his two online gateways, Parliament Watch and Candidate Watch, Gregor enables direct dialogue between citizens and elected members of parliament or candidates for office. With the help of these online platforms, Gregor casts light on the often “hidden” business of parliamentary politics by allowing citizens to track politicians’ actions over time. Gregor’s websites record the politicians’ speeches and contributions to parliamentary debates, as well as their voting record in parliament.

Gregor’s platforms spark a new form of interaction between elected officials and their constituents, because they allow citizens to post public questions for their politicians, to which politicians may respond, thus starting a direct dialogue with the electorate. Gregor’s system accounts for the reality that it is people behind parties that shape politics, and he holds politicians accountable to the citizens who voted for them. Politicians realize simultaneously that Parliament Watch offers them an opportunity to strengthen their ties to their constituents and rally support for their ideas; it also prevents them from losing touch with their base. Others have found that they must follow suit or be left behind. Gregor creates win-win situations for both the electorate and elected alike, encouraging honesty and integrity.

Gregor’s system is not simply a third-party clearinghouse for political information, but rather a forum for public discourse shaped by citizens and politicians. It wins the trust from political parties because it adheres to the principle of strict political neutrality, employs neutral moderators, screens questions, and relies on a carefully selected ethics commission to prevent the platform from being manipulated or used for activist or lobby purposes. To increase social impact, Gregor uses the publicly available collective knowledge created through Parliament Watch and Candidate Watch to further strengthen public accountability of politicians and encourage citizen participation. He uses prominent media partners as effective distributors of the information created and works with newspapers and TV stations to set in motion an interactive movement of citizens who feel they have the ability to shape politics; multiplying into all parts of society. Gregor is spreading Parliament and Candidate Watch to the remaining German states and has taken concrete steps to take it next to the European Parliament and several other countries.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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