There is extensive interest in how deliberative democracy can be institutionalized, in particular through forms of democratic innovation that directly engage citizens in the political process. This paper analyses two aspects of this ″institutional turn″. First, through a comparison of mini-publics and participatory budgeting, it shows how the design of any democratic innovation involves trade-offs between deliberative democratic goods. Second, it reflects on the pressing question of how democratic innovations can be integrated more effectively into the political system. The article concludes that the focus on institutionalization provides an important critical perspective on current debates on deliberative systems.