Pushing past platitudes – from co-design to holding leaders to account for achieving real system transformation felt by everyday people in everyday life

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Countless decisions are made every day that affect citizens but do not include them. That reality results in suboptimal services, programs, and policies that fail to deliver on the expressed and diverse needs of citizens. However, citizens bring a unique vantage point and when their insights and experiences are built-in to design and execution processes, it can drastically improve outcomes. This webinar will showcase effective structures and processes – such as citizen panels, citizen forums and co-design labs – that support citizens to have a voice at decision-making tables so they can better hold leaders to account for achieving the system transformations that citizens need – in health, education and beyond.

In this fourth session in the series, we will explore practical ways to make evidence-based choices the default or easy option for everyday citizens. Our discussion will push past the common rhetoric that often surrounds conversations of co-design and system transformation to explore how to bring about real change, felt by diverse populations, with citizens guiding the way. The webinar series is hosted by three groups working together to ‘put evidence at the centre of everyday life,’ including Cochrane (the world’s largest producer of evidence syntheses and home to the Cochrane Consumer Network), the Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges (with one if its three implementation priorities being ‘putting evidence at the centre of everyday life,’ which is being overseen by the Citizen Leadership Group), and the World Health Organization’s Evidence-informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) with its work on Citizen Engagement in Evidence-informed Policymaking.


  • Maureen Smith, Co-chair, Citizen Leadership Group, Evidence Commission (Canada)

  • Richard Morley, Consumer Engagement Officer, Cochrane and Cochrane Consumers Network (United Kingdom) 


  • In Brazil, Danilo Castro, currently the journalist at Instituto Veredas, was General Coordinator of Communication and Digital Participation for the Brazilian federal government. He worked on the Brasil Participativo platform, which collects online proposals from citizens in the country, in an experience of techno-civic innovation
  • In Colombia, Daniel Patiño has dedicated his team's work to exploring citizen panels, including citizen panels with children and youth
  • In Cameroon, eBASE Africa's Patrick Okwen has developed an evidence storytelling methodology with relevance for the evidence synthesis environment
  • In South Africa, Bulelwa Maphela's work on end-of-life services (for the proper handling of human remains) offers insights on the implementation of public health and environmental policies
  • In Canada, Bernice Downey's work supporting Indigenous research policy initiatives, as a member of the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health, Institute Advisory Board, and including her work as one of the Indigenous leads for the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, Canadian Reference Group. Notably, Bernice's presentation will also premise our fifth session in the global webinar series

Series Description

Citizens frequently make decisions where evidence would be helpful but face many challenges in doing so—from too much or inaccessible information to the deliberate spread of misinformation. This webinar series titled, Putting evidence at the centre of everyday life: A global webinar series for citizen leaders and citizen-serving NGOs, pushes past the rhetoric about engaging citizens in evidence-informed decision-making and zeroes in on actionable ways to help citizen leaders and those who serve them, e.g., non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments – from finding reliable information to knowing which types of questions to ask to making evidence-based choices the default or easy option, and more. While these are early days in understanding ‘what works’ in putting evidence at the centre of everyday life, this global webinar series will identify what is going well that needs to be systematized and scaled up, and what gaps should be prioritized to fill, and to work with government policymakers and citizen-serving NGOs, among others, to push for these improvements.

This webinar series takes place between June 2023 and January 2024: