The think tank Renaissance Numérique was created in March 2007, in the midst of the French presidential election campaign. It was born out of a strong conviction shared by its founders: that of the need to anticipate the digital transformation of society, so that it does not create new divides. It was on that occasion that its first White Paper, « 2010 : l’Internet pour tous, 15 mesures pour réduire la fracture numérique en France » ("2010: Internet for all, 15 measures to reduce the digital divide in France") was published.
After a little over a decade, the think tank is continuing its mission of supporting public action in its digital transition and its goal to create an inclusive, equitable and growth-enhancing digital society. It now has some forty members, who are committed to bringing digital thinking to life throughout the country (entrepreneurs, major Internet companies, researchers and academics, start-ups, schools, members of civil society).
Thanks to their reflection and expertise, the think tank issues concrete proposals, that are the fruit of analyses carried out within the think tank itself but also in collaboration with the global digital ecosystem. Published in the form of notes, reports, books or surveys, these proposals are also put under the spotlight for public debates and special events.
Because the technological revolution affects all aspects of our professional and personal lives, as well as all layers of society, and because many actors do not have a sufficient analytical grid to understand the impacts of this new deal yet. We thus deem it crucial to provide an open, inclusive and public-interest-driven reflection on the issues of this society that has entered the digital age.
This is precisely the role of think tanks which, in today's complex and fast-paced world, have the task of delivering and distributing knowledge, expertise and long-term proposals, in order to inform public policies and provide citizens with the necessary basis for their critical thinking and commitments.
In this regard, Renaissance Numérique defends its deep grounding in the 21st century, a century in which the role of civil society mediators and think tanks is being redefined around empowerment for and with citizens.
Renaissance Numérique therefore considers that the expertise needed to build a new society goes far beyond that of the "experts" or “usual suspects” and that it is important to draw ideas and critical thinking from the different layers of society. It also uses data and other digital traces as a basis for its analyses: in this digital world, data from different sources have become increasingly central resources used for public policy analysis and public decision-making.
Renaissance Numérique has identified four dimensions through which the change in society we are experiencing is taking place. They constitute its axes of reflection.
Politics, institutions and democracy
Public liberties and ethics
Digital inclusion and solidarities
Economy, employment and labor
General Interest & Citizens
Based on the premise that the digital revolution presents unprecedented opportunities for each citizen and for society as a whole, Renaissance Numérique always puts the general interest at the heart of its reflections and actions. Its publications first and foremost defend the point of view of the citizens and consumers. Neither a lobby, nor affiliated to any political movement, and not either a professional union, Renaissance Numérique is a citizen-oriented think tank, that intends to build a new matrix of intermediate bodies representing the French and European societies in the 21st century.
In the digital age, power is refocused on the individual. In this context, the primary aim of Renaissance Numérique is to give all of the actors of society (public actors, private actors, citizens, etc.) ways of understanding and seizing the opportunities that digital technologies offer them. Also, Renaissance Numérique produces work that puts citizens in a position to think and act at their own level and in both their public and professional life. Renaissance Numérique also provides, when it deems it necessary, tools and methods at the service of citizens and civil society.
The reflections of a cenacle of experts are no longer sufficient to analyze and understand the transformation of society. Renaissance Numérique advocates for a reflection relying on collective intelligence and dialogue and in which all can take part, through accessible and free publications and events.
Openness & Inclusion
The digital society we want to build is, just like the Internet, open to the world and collaborative, more horizontal than pyramidal. Also, with realism and without any angelicism, Renaissance Numérique is opposed to the politics of inward-looking attitudes and places the issue of the access to tools and knowledge for all at the heart of its concerns.
Jamais sans elles
As a recognition of its efforts towards diversity and inclusion, Renaissance Numérique was labeled by the “JamaisSansElles” movement, which is committed to promoting gender diversity, particularly in public events.
On the occasion of the 13th edition of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the think tank reinforced this commitment by signing the #JamaisSansElles Charter for Internet Governance Actors, which aims to adopt a global and generic rule of conduct for the equal recognition and participation of women in the digital world.
Transparency & Independence
Renaissance Numérique's work program is determined by transparent decision-making processes, based on proposals from its members and its team, and deliberated collectively by the think tank's governing bodies: the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. Renaissance Numérique is a think tank turned towards the general interest. Its members and its team are thus committed to respecting this principle, in complete independence from individual interests. In line with its transparency approach, the think tank is registered in the interest representative register of the French High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (Haute Autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique or HATVP), as well as in the European Union's Transparency Register.
Renaissance Numérique was awarded a four-star rating on the occasion of the latest edition of the "Think Tank & Transparent" label awarded by the European Observatory of Think Tanks in 2017.
Renaissance Numérique's funding is essentially private, with the exception of the Seriously project, which relies for a third on public funds. As such, the financing of this project is treated separately.
Most of the think tank's funding comes from its members' annual membership fees, which range from €60 to €15,000 depending on the nature of the member and on their turnover. No membership fee can exceed 4% of the think tank's annual resources, which amount to approximately €270,000 for the year 2018. Ancillary projects, such as events or publications, may also be supported or sponsored on an ad hoc basis.