Photo of Guido Vilariño


Guido Vilariño

Bringing politics into the XXI century with his citizen participation platform

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"Internet has revolutionized every aspect of modern life, and politics are no exception. The use of social media to galvanize public protests is only one example of the political transformation driven by the internet. Within this realm, Guido Vilariño has created a platform directed at modernizing politics and adapting them to the digital age. Thanks to this development, this young Argentinian has been recognized as one of MIT Technology Review, Spanish Edition´s Innovators Under 35 Argentina and Uruguay 2016.

Vilariño explains his motiviation: ""Any sensible person can see that the current political system is not working and, as an engineer faced with a broken system, I wanted to fix it."" Thus DemocracyOS was born. This young Argentinian, convinced that the apathy towards politics stems from the public´s negative political experiences, has created tools to adapt citizen participation to the current demands of society. It is ""the Wordpress of politics,"" its creator states.

DemocracyOS is a web-based application, created at the Democracia en Red foundation, which allows political parties, non-governmental organizations and public administrations to create a communication channel with the general public. Vilariño specifies that users ""can make proposals, organize the debate regarding these proposals and submit them to a vote.""

""Modern politics can not reduce citizen participation to voting in elections every few years,"" he affirms while he recalls how he formed part of a group of hackers that decided to try to change the situation by founding a political party, Partido de la Red (Internet Party), and running for election. The young engineer tells his story: ""It´s interesting that, despite losing the elections, our message has gotten through, since today these institutions use our consultation system."" DemocracyOS is the official software used by the Argentinian Government for organizing citizen consultations.

More than 50,000 people have already used one version or another of DemocracyOS´s software, which are open-sourced and available free of charge in countries ranging from Argentina to Kenya, where parliamentarians use it to communicate with their constituents, and including Tunesia, where it was used to debate a constitutional reform proposal.

In the words of the managing partner of Dalus Capital and jury member for the Innovators Under 35 Argentina and Uruguay 2016 awards, Diego Serebrisky, DemocracyOS offers ""an innovative and disruptive approach to democracy in a new, interconnected world."" Serebrisky highlights the fact that Velariño ""combines his vision and the technical capacity to continue to help the project grow.""