Deliberative policymaking: how vTaiwan engaged its citizens in policymaking during Covid-19

An online deliberation platform for stakeholders to remove deadlocks on thorny policy-making issues
©Kirby Wu-g0v-Deliberative Policy-making During COVID-19-VTaiwan-collective-intelligence-democracy Flickr.

Quick facts


Read this if you

  • want inspiration about new forms of online co-legislation
  • want many stake holders to achieve a nuanced consensus on thorny issues
  • seek input from a large number of citizens to inform your policy-making


Policy making steps


Helen K Liu
Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Graduate Institute of Public Affairs, National Taiwan University (NTU)
Lin Tze-Luen
Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University (NTU)

Related ressources


Coming up with new rules on thorny subjects like lockdowns, uber vs taxis, trade bills and alcohol sales can paralyse policy making and needlessly inflame social tensions.

The vTaiwan platform has contributed to make deliberation smoother to produce smarter laws on complex and divisive issues.

How they solved it

When COVID-19 struck, the Taiwanese government used a digital platform and in-person process called vTaiwan to engage citizens in deliberative policy-making and quickly modify policy guidelines to deal with the deadly virus. Born from the gov0 “civic hacker” movement, and used successfully prior to COVID on other matters (education, online commerce…), the platform was used during the pandemic to develop 20+ pieces of legislation. On Covid, it helped manage hospital resources, plan lockdowns, and adapt with online education, add new laws regarding virtual economy. 

Key methods and concepts

vTaiwan’s 4 step deliberation stages:

  1. Brainstorm (i.e. agenda-setting: the public is encouraged to participate in online or offline meetings to propose ideas or issues of concern and officials give suggestions about the procedures and about how to move forward on the issues raised)
  2. Preference expression (a proposal with an accountable government agency is disclosed for public opinion through technologies such as Discourse,, and Typeform) –
  3. Deliberation (participants are led by a facilitator to deliberate on the proposal through live streaming platforms; the output is a proposal that reflects the consensus of the participants) –
  4. Institution / legislation: the proposal is translated into a draft bill, policy, guideline, or statement


Regulation room:
vTaiwan is based on the “Regulation Room” operated by Cornell University’s E-Rulemaking Initiative, which enables the public to deliberate on proposed federal rules. Its process is unique in that it enables online public deliberation on federal rules by using a structured approach that encourages participants to engage in dialogue, ask questions, and provide feedback in a respectful and constructive manner. The platform provides a neutral space for stakeholders with diverse perspectives to collaborate and deliberate on proposed rules, fostering a sense of community and encouraging participants to consider the views of others. The regulation room’s process is transparent, as participants can see the comments and feedback of other participants, facilitating accountability and promoting trust in the policymaking process.

Coherent Blended Volition (CBV) and conceptual blend:
digital deliberation methods to help a group build a consensus opinion and move forward with policy. CBV involves using an iterative process of discussion and consensus-building to create a shared vision or “volition” among participants, which serves as a guiding principle for decision-making. Conceptual blend methods involve combining different perspectives and ideas to create new and innovative solutions to complex problems. In the vTaiwan platform, these methods are used to encourage participants to collaborate and generate ideas, while also promoting a sense of shared purpose and community. Cluster analysis is a data visualization method that helps participants express and compare their opinions.

Cluster analysis:
Cluster analysis helps citizens understand where they disagree with others and where they have common ground. The objective is to build a new consensus by reformulating initial statements until they garner enough support.

The vTaiwan platform and process builds on an emerging approach known as public value governance. Developed to respond to challenges resulting from New Public Management, public value governance is a framework for managing public organizations that emphasizes the creation and delivery of public value as the primary goal of governance. Bryson defines public value as “what members of the public value, what is valuable to them, what enhances their well-being, and what is in the public interest.” As a holistic approach to managing public organizations, public value governance places a strong emphasis on creating and delivering value for the public, while also ensuring that resources are used efficiently and effectively to achieve desired outcomes.

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