How to design an impactful research project?

From Failand to Winland is a transdisciplinary research project assessing future energy and food security in Finland with co-creation and future scenarios. In May 2017, Iina Koskinen, interaction specialist at Demos Helsinki, travelled to Tokyo, Japan, to present Winland to Future Earth, an international global change research initiative. Have a look at the three most important design principles behind a transdisciplinary research project and how these principles are implemented in Winland. Transdisciplinary research aims for change Sustainability challenges such as climate change, rapid urbanization and air quality need new ways […]

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Demos Helsinki at World Circular Economy Forum 2017

The world’s best circular economy solutions and the most recognised experts and decision makers in the field will gather in Helsinki, when the World Circular Economy Forum will be held in Finlandia Hall on 5-7 June, 2017. Demos Helsinki is part of the Forum. Follow the schedule below and find us. MONDAY 5 JUNE, 2017 Collective Impact for Sustainable Consumption and a Circular Economy Terrace Hall at 14:15-15:45  Executive director of Demos Helsinki, Tuuli Kaskinen will moderate the session that addresses how businesses and governments can combine their efforts in […]

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We need to talk about platforms

Platforms are not to be confused with traditional corporations. They are much more. Here’s three reasons why: 1. Platforms are a new, unforeseen and strong user of power Platforms that aggregate people’s needs, physical assets and labour. Companies such as Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, and Uber are creating online structures that enable a wide range of human activities. This opens the way for radical changes in how we work, socialize, create value in the economy, and compete for the resulting profits. In future, all of our interactions with strangers […]

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The NextEra Tokyo: A New Vision for Societal Progress

How do we build hope and trust in the future when we cannot count on one of the key promises of developed societies: the promise that the economy will grow and make the lives of people better? When such a fundamental premise upon which societies are built is questioned, how do we move forward? All developed societies are undergoing major transformation. We are living in volatile times and economic growth no longer equates to progress as it did in the industrial era. We need a new kind of pluralistic view […]

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Why IoT leads to the platform economy?

  1. There is nothing new about platforms  An emergence of digital platform economy is driving fundamental changes in our societies. But there is nothing new about platforms. Platform refers to a product, technology or organization that enable direct interactions between two (or more) distinct actors. For example most General Motors cars were already years ago built on a shared product platform. So, no matter if you bought an Opel or a Cadillac, the underlying structure of the car was actually similar. It makes sense, of course, to standardise production […]

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NextEra London: A New Vision For Democracy

When voter turnout fell in the 1990s people began to worry about the state of democracy. Policy makers wrung their hands, tinkered, launched enquiries and experimented with participatory budgets. But voters continued to desert political parties and cynicism grew. But then new politicians arrived, from outside the establishment, with a more compelling idea of what it means to take back control. Can we recover a vision for democracy in which people’s participation is valued? What would be in it? A particitopia of citizen assemblies, budgets and juries? An artificially intelligent […]

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When changes run faster than plans – the OECD highlighted 4 ways how governments can cope with complexity

The OECD organized a conference for initiating an international dialogue between the best practices that aim to renew public sector functions. Demos Helsinki was invited to the OECD’s headquarters in Paris to present the Finnish approach to experimental policy making. The Finnish model was listed as one of the top four solutions that can help the public sector cope with increasing complexity and a rapidly changing landscape. According to the OECD, it is plausible that societies are in the midst of moving from one paradigm to another. Climate change, eroding […]

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Kuva: Erkki Mervaala

Urban entrepreneurship is ultimately about creating happiness

Would you like to become an urban entrepreneur? Below you can find some features of successful ‘urbanpreneurs’ in a new generation smart city, as they have been coined by Boyd Cohen. According to Cohen, urbanpreneurs can prosper if they rethink the ultimate goal of their businesses. According to Boyd Cohen, the smart city guru who gave a keynote at the opening event of the latest Peloton Innovation Camp, urbanpreneurs cannot exist just ’anywhere’ according to the prerequisites of an industry, but live from embeddedness. Urbanpreneur startups do not necessarily focus […]

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Why Co-Creation: We need democracy in democracies

The real meaning of co-creation and participatory processes is not listening to more opinions and fine-tuning the outcomes accordingly but honestly open-ended deliberation and distributed decision-making on things that matter to us. That is how these processes can bring more democracy in democracy. Outi Kuittinen from Demos Helsinki talks to Eduardo Staszowski, Director of The Parsons Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability Lab at The New School in NYC, about expanding the opportunities for democracy from short-term election cycle exercise into an ongoing practice, and what design has to give […]

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The NextEra – A Global Initiative for an Open and Forward Looking Society

The reason for setting up NextEra is clear: Everyone seems to agree we are on the verge of a large transformation, yet surprisingly few ask: where do we want to go? What kind of jobs and income do we want? What is the future of democracy and self-organization? What role does growth play? In the coming decades, we are likely to create unprecedented amounts of wealth. However, we risk displacing large groups of people and putting our planet’s capacity to sustain life in jeopardy. NextEra is launching by bringing together […]

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Sit down, it’s time to talk about platforms

Our societies are undergoing fundamental change driven by the emergence of platforms. The way people come together, communicate and create value is changing. In a possible future, all of our interactions with strangers will be facilitated by global digital platforms: from trade to meetings to sex to services and peer-help. Most successful digital platforms can reach near monopoly in months, allowing us to do things we could not do before, simultaneously granting very little power to their users or the societies they operate in. Are we losing or gaining power […]

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Margarine, biohabitat bank, space poop – and few other reasons why you should follow challenge prize competitions in Finland

The celebration of the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence will start in a matter of weeks. Besides festivities, cocktail parties and memorable speeches, next year will go down in history as the year when challenge prizes came to Finland. Challenge prize competitions, also known as challenge prizes, are open innovation competitions where anyone with a great idea can participate. Challenge prizes have been the platform for the creation for some of the most useful as well as the oddest inventions of human history. Margarine was invented in a butter substitute challenge […]

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Hot tips for Slush 2016

Demos Helsinki is part of Slush 2016, one of Europe’s biggest technology and startup event! Follow this schedule and find us at Slush 2016: TUESDAY 29th NOV 2016 17:30–21:50 // FREE PRE-EVENT The Sexy Truth – An Afterwork of Cleantech & Opportunities G Live Lab, Yrjönkatu 3, Helsinki Satu Lähteenoja from Demos Helsinki will discuss the opportunities of cleantech to solve environmental problems in the afterwork event of cleantech. The Sexy Truth is that climate change and the environmental problems of the world are actually opportunities for change, growth and […]

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Future Needs Your Body

Good morning on-demand world! You are better than my dreams, carefully curated into bite-sized chunks. You show me things I never knew I wanted (but still love), because you predict my preferences with the precision of artificial intelligence and with the strength of the swarm. But heck! Whilst progress became so smooth, it seems democracy died. The history of our time is brief. Social media, as they are today, were born in 2004. In 2007, they took Europe by storm, and two years later they started making money. The political structure […]

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What, if anything, can a government in India learn from a Nordic think tank?

Demos Helsinki recently had the honor of being invited to assist the government of Assam in India in the establishment of a new innovation lab. Our very own government innovation experts, Roope Mokka and Jaakko Kuosmanen, have spent the past months working on the project. Here, Roope and Jaakko talk about wicked problems, Assam taking control of its own future, and why governments around the world need to implement bolder innovation strategies in order to succeed in the 21st century. From Buzzwords to Action ’Innovation’ is a buzzword touted around […]

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5th Ave from the New School

On an expedition in the US: Why open innovation and participatory processes stumble or succeed?

This year Demos Helsinki’s Head of Co-creation Outi Kuittinen visits the New School and Harvard as a Fulbright Scholar to explore how open innovation and participatory processes stumble or succeed. And will bring you the insights. Co-creation, open and participatory processes for innovating services and for planning policies are slowly becoming more of a rule than an exception. And this is great news. More voices are heard, highly specialized silos of the industrial era are broken, there is hope for more holistic solution for wicked problems. There is a promise […]

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Which is better: human or machine? Both, say these Finnish researchers

A woman in her thirties is gazing at a row of computer screens in a dimly-lit room. Each screen is running a video feed from a car driving on the sunny streets of Helsinki. “I must say I’d love to have some life around me”, she sighs, and continues to stare at the screens. “Humming of the motor, some noise from the nearby forest. Or perhaps just the mumbling of a co-worker would do it – anything really. It’s so boring.” What took us to this dystopian scene? Let’s take […]

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UN Habitat III: Smart city evolution will transform consumers into active co-designers of the city | Demos Helsinki

The UN Habitat conference, officially titled the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, is held once every 20 years. From Habitat I in Vancouver in 1976 to Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996, the conference has sought to create more sustainable urbanization. The 2016 conference was hosted in Quito, Ecuador, and Demos Helsinki had the honor of hosting a workshop there, titled “Citizens @ the center of Smart Cities“. Our smart city expert, Mikko Annala, reports. From what I saw and heard at the Habitat III conference in Ecuador, it is clear that […]

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ClimateLaunchpad finals were held in Tallin on 7.-8.10.2016

87 solutions to tackle climate change

Creating products and services that help us live comfortably and with zero carbon emissions is not only crucial for our planet, but also a treasure trove of business opportunities. The scarcity of natural resources and climate change are absolute game changers for our future lifestyles. All of this was evident in the European finals of ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest cleantech innovation competition. The grande finale of the 6-month program was held in Tallinn on 7.-8.10.2016, where a total of 87 teams from 30 different countries presented their business solutions to […]

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Which smart city will be the first one loved by its citizens?

  Smart city has become an umbrella concept bringing together strategies for reinventing cities utilizing ICT. Smart city promises drastic leap in energy efficiency, less congestion, more humane conditions, in hot and crowded urban spaces, and overall responsiveness to needs of urban dwellers. Until now, the concept of smart city has revolved solely around technology. Now this approach has begun to show its limitations. Problems faced by Songdo or Masdar clearly exemplify them: not being able to engage citizens in urban planning, design and service co-creation, can lead result in […]

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