Interdependent Democracy Innovation Lab

A community of practice we convene for cross-movement social justice leaders to co-create a strategy to build and sustain thriving, interdependent democracies and recognize, anticipate, and respond to anti-democratic and anti-human practices.

The Interdependent Democracy Innovation Lab fosters ideation, collaboration, and experimentation to reimagine how we practice local governance to ensure our collective survival and build a culture of well-being. Rooted in the understanding that our interdependence is the key not only to our survival but to our thriving, the Interdependent Democracy Innovation Lab seeks to generate a new approach to democracy that allows everyone to access the resources they need without causing harm. 

The Lab was formed to address four core questions: 

  • If we accepted our interdependence as a fact, what would that mean for how we define, practice and talk about democracy?
  • How can we transform the paradigm of democracy into something that is working for everyday people, unified in liberatory values, and rooted in the understanding that our interdependence is the key not only to our survival but to our thriving?
  • What are the ways of being together that we deem essential, so that we — in solidarity with community and the environment — can recognize, anticipate and respond to anti-democratic and anti-human practices?
  • How do we engage in strategies to both heal from systems of oppression and survive them simultaneously?

In 2023, a multiracial and intergenerational cohort of 18 social justice leaders developed a definition of interdependent democracy and core framework to guide the Interdependent Democracy Innovation Lab.

Interdependent Democracy Innovation Lab Core Framework

Illustrated by Sara Yukimoto-Saltman, the framework includes: 

How We Define Interdependent Democracy: a model of local governance prioritizing the inherent interconnection among individuals, communities, and the natural world through repeated practice extended over time.  

Roots: the wisdoms, histories, and lineages that inform the emergence of interdependent democracy. These are resources that practitioners can and should utilize to support and enable the practice of interdependent democracy. 

Pillars: the underlying beliefs, conditions, and values that underscore interdependent democracy. They offer a guiding compass to practicing interdependent democracy.  

Streams: practices, processes, and tools to create and advance interdependent democracy. They offer concrete action steps to apply the framework.

Going forward, the Interdependent Democracy Innovation Lab will explore applications, iterations, and evolutions of the framework, including: 

  • applying the interdependent democracy framework to improve standards democratic practices and equity in community, organizational, and civic contexts 
  • supporting the community of practice in testing the framework in community 
  • creating an interderpendent democracy toolkit and learning hub 
  • expanding and deepening the community of practice