About Me

Ismael Peña-López

I am Ismael Peña-López.

I am Director General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes at the Government of Catalonia.
Formerly, and during nearly 13 years, I was professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia.
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.


BOOK CHAPTER. The differential impact of crisis in the Information Society

Cover of the draft opinion "Book cover of Comunicación política en tiempos de coronavirus"
Book cover of Comunicación política en tiempos de coronavirus

The crisis of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is having an unequal impact on people, thus worsening the also unequal impact of globalization and the transition into the Information Society.

It is not only that wealthier and healthier people have more resources to face the crisis, but also that the way society is being reshaped (new relationships of production, experience and power) is also making more evident where we are facing as a society and what is becoming more obsolete. And the coronavirus crisis is especially hitting hard those tasks and institutions becoming obsolete.

But not only.

While two worlds overlap —the aging Industrial Era and the upcoming Information Era— there are also several views overlapping, and casting shadows that distort reality. There are some production sectors that are seen as obsolete by those in the Information Era, but ...

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Draft Opinion. Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens

Cover of the draft opinion "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens"
Draft Opinion "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens"

On 9 December 2019, the Catalan Government presented a working document at the 26th CIVEX commission meeting of the European Committee of the Regions.

The aim of the working document was to spark a debate for an upcoming Opinion on the "Local and Regional Authorities in the permanent dialogue with citizens". The working document had the following scheme:

  1. Bridging the gap between what leaders see vs. what citizens see
  2. Lack of identification of EU issues with daily-life issues
  3. An ecosystem of infrastructures of participation
  4. Engaged citizens in a technopolitical paradigm
  5. Transforming the administration(s)

Now, a draft for that opinion has just been published for its discussion during the 2nd CIVEX commission meeting. As it happened with the working document, my colleague Mireia Borrell, Secretary for External Action and the European Union of the Government of Catalonia, acts as ...

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ICT4D Blog


Three challenges of citizen labs

Photo of a garage door with the inscription 'this door blocked'
Industrial garage door blocked, courtesy Morgane Perraud

Citizen labs —as it happens with open innovation, social innovation, etc.— are very interesting tools for opening up what is now the monopoly of public decision-making. They contribute to enable a citizen participation ecosystem with open, distributed, autonomous public infrastructures, so that an ecosystem of public governance is possible.

Citizen labs (fab labs, living labs, innovation labs, etc.) have already been around for a while. On the one hand, they seem to be a more than a hype and some have a long track of interesting experiences. On the other hand, they do not seem to clearly take off, be part of mainstream citizen activism and, most especially, have a fluid relationship with the Administration.

The main three challenges of citizen labs nowadays are the following:

  1. Getting to know how their actual functioning, what works and what does not work, why things succeed or just do not happen, which actors are more relevant and what ...

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Sociedad Red Blog


El papel de los equipamientos públicos en un ecosistema de participación ciudadana

A la hora de plantear la sostenibilidad, la escalabilidad y el impacto transformador de la participación ciudadana, deviene estratégico el fomento y articulación de un ecosistema de participación global que comparta los mismos valores, visión y objetivos. Este modelo de participación, además de ser compartido tiene que ser eficaz y eficiente, per lo cual se considera necesario que comparta, también, unas infraestructuras globales en el ámbito de la participación. Estas infraestructuras son, entre otros, una Administración coordinada a todos los niveles que optimice los recursos disponibles, un sector empresarial que comparta el modelo de participación y colabore en su mejora, ...

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