John Richardson

John Richardson

Founder & CEO, Ethelo

John Richardson is the founder and inventor of Ethelo and the author of the patents describing the technology. He completed a B.Sc. (Hon) in Mathematics at the University of Toronto and a law degree at the University of Victoria. John is also the founder of Pivot Legal Society, one of Canada’s leading human rights organizations, which he led for ten years. In 2005, John was named a world-leading social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow by the Ashoka Foundation. John has overseen Ethelo’s growth and development over the past 5 years, leading early planning and design of the Ethelo technology, as well as the business analysis and market validation.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

There is a growing crisis of faith in our democratic institutions and their seeming limited capacity to address society’s social and environmental challenges. Participatory democracy, in particular new innovations and online forms that often fall into the category of “eDemocracy” have enormous potential to ‘refresh’ and deepen democratic practices and systems of governance. Climate change, economic inequality, military conflict, population growth; each of these are failures at the level of government and public policy. But government and public policy are also where the solutions lie. New ways of engaging the public in participating in and improving on those systems are, in my firm belief, the only sustainable path to a better world.


What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I hope to meet many new people, learn new ideas, share about Ethelo and enter into new partnerships and collaborations.