During our CoLab Exchange session in November 2014 we considered traditional forms of participation in society and communities, and new emerging people-led hybrid initiatives and ways of participating.
This article by Tessy Britton about the Creative Collaborative Paradigm gives a great overview. (Paradigm is a word which people can be a bit shy about using, it basically means a typical example or pattern of something, and can be used to mean a set of assumption, values and practices that are a way of viewing reality for people who share them.)
This 8 minute TED Talk by Dave Mezlin, The Antidote to Apathy, offers explanations for disengagement in traditional forms of participation and suggests what could be done to increase participation.
When you are working in the representative paradigm you might find some of the ideas in this Representation Toolkit developed by RAISE useful. Though written for voluntary and community organisations, the key ideas are transferrable across some other contexts.