About Me

Ismael Peña-López

I am Ismael Peña-López.

I am Director of the School of Public Administration of Catalonia.

I was Director General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes at the Government of Catalonia (2018-2021) and professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia (2005-2018).
I have also been senior researcher at Open Evidence and fellow director of Open Innovation at Fundació Jaume Bofill.

My main areas of work are the impact of ICTs in society (e-Readiness, the digital divide), especially in development (e-inclusion, ICT4D), and educational (e-Learning, digital competence) and political (e-participation, e-democracy) institutions.


REPORT. Catalan Participation Lab Network. Public facilities and social innovation

Cover of the report "Xarxa ParticipaLab de Cataluña. Equipamientos ciudadanos e innovación social"
Xarxa ParticipaLab de Cataluña. Equipamientos ciudadanos e innovación social

When working with the idea of the citizen participation ecosystem from the point of view of a national government, one of the basic questions is how the Administration should nurture and facilitate such ecosystem. There are, at least, two approaches that have been traditionally explored.

  • On the one hand, the Administration can fund the creation or growth of a body of professionals that can contribute to deploy a number of citizen participation initiatives all over a given territory. These professionals can work at the higher level of the Administration or can be distributed or scattered on lower levels of the Administration (i.e. local administrations), but the result is to be able to cover most necessities with a good amount of trained and dedicated professionals.
  • On the other hand, and sometimes compatible with the former approach, the Administration can fund the ...

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GUIDE. Guide to gender mainstreaming in participatory processes

Cover of the "Guide to gender mainstreaming in participatory processes"
Guide to gender mainstreaming in participatory processes

Although I had been long interested on gender studies, during December 2018 and the first months of 2019 I began to actively search for documents that dealt with the issue of gender (discrimination, inequality, etc.) on citizen participation. I found out that there was quite a lot of literature on gender and democratic institutions, but nothing specifically on gender mainstreaming in participatory processes.

So, at the Directorate General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes we decided to do our own research and project on the issue. With the valuable help of Fundació Surt, and after an initial training, we analyzed public procurement, the facilitation of events, the evaluation processes, information and communication protocols, etc. under the light of gender mainstreaming.

The result was triple. First, the aforementioned analysis and evaluation; second, a set of internal protocols to improve our own work; third, a ...

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ICT4D Blog


Citizen Participation in policy-making: internalizing externalities and preventing conflict through planning and evaluating

Some people use to believe of citizen participation as something that is at odds with policy-making. That is, that citizen participation complicates the execution of policies and delays results.

The reality is quite far from this —considering, of course, that one is committed with quality policy-making and actually aim at having an impact with the policies that one is pushing forward.

Although there is an increasing number of instruments that can be called citizen participation, most of them have the following scheme:

  1. The Administration has something in mind.
  2. Citizens are asked for an opinion.
  3. The Administration tells citizens what it did with their opinion.

These three apparently innocent steps are key to driving improvements —not delays— in policy-making.

First, the Administration just cannot "have something in mind". If one is not telling anyone, any crazy idea might be passed along and put into practice. But if the information is going to be public, and made widely available for public scrutiny, planning becomes a must. Thorough diagnosis, analysis, planning and design are a requisite for any kind of citizen participation initiative. In this train of thought, citizen participation ...

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Sociedad Red Blog


Si no somos racionales, ¿qué somos?

Portada del libro Acicates (nudges), buen gobierno y buena administración (Juli Ponce Solé, coord.)

Acicates (nudges), buen gobierno y buena administración (Juli Ponce i Solé, coord.)

En los últimos años se nos ha advertido sobre «el fin de la historia», caracterizado por la desaparición de cualquier otro mundo posible distinto al llamado modelo capitalista occidental.

Nada más lejos de la realidad: en vez de entrar en un orden mundial homogéneo y monolítico, estamos siendo testigos de su desmembramiento. El mundo actual se ...

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