Sparking Social Innovation through Crowdsourcing and Prizes: Does Finland Lead the Way?

Room W2.06, Institute of Education, London
Jan 31st 2019
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Sparking Social Innovation through Crowdsourcing and Prizes: Does Finland Lead the Way?


A public policy colloquium hosted at University College London by the City Leadership Laboratory, UCL STEaPP, and the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP). 


*This event is for policy-makers at different levels of government, innovation and public policy scholars, social innovators, students and the general public.


Join experts from SITRA, the Finnish innovation fund, and UCL innovation scholars to discuss the possibilities and limits of democratic crowdsourcing and challenge prizes in light of fresh evidence and practitioner insights.


Starting with innovation labs, hackathons and place-based hubs for cross-sector collaboration, innovative policy instruments feature prominently in global city leadership networks to disseminate new insights, formats and best practices in public policy. In this colloquium, we focus on two particular public policy instruments of interest: “democratic crowdsourcing” – where crowdsourcing methods are employed to co-construct social problem frames and policy agendas with citizens – and challenge prizes – that mobilise a wide range of actors to generate solutions to shared societal challenges. 


“Solution 100”, Finland’s centennial social innovation competition implemented in 2016-2017, serves as a main source of practical and empirical examples in speaking to these general questions. To share key learnings while speaking to larger theoretical questions around innovative policy instruments – including their ability to potentially shift the direction of entrepreneurial activity towards public value creation – our event brings together members of the challenge prize team at SITRA, the Finnish innovation fund, and UCL-based innovation scholars to engage in discussion at the very forefront of the field.


This event also marks the publication of Sparking Social Innovation: Evidence on Teams, Ideas and Incubation from Finland (Toivonen, Nordback & Takala, 2018), an empirical report that assesses the short- and medium-term performance of Solution 100 in light of key objectives. Colloquium participants will be given a free copy of the report at the venue.


Event timetable:


Opening remarks, Dr Ellie Cosgrave, City Leadership Laboratory, UCL STEaPP


Designing “Solution 100”, Finland’s centennial challenge prize: Crowdsourcing wicked policy problems from citizens, Kalle Nieminen & Riina Pulkkinen, SITRA, Finland


Steering the direction of innovation at the team level: How did “Solution 100” transform the paths of technologists, academics and public sector professionals? Dr Tuukka Toivonen (UCL STEaPP), Dr Ville Takala (UCL IIPP) & Dr Emma Nordback (Aalto University)


Comments and reflections, Professor Rainer Kattel, UCL IIPP


Panel discussion


An access profile of the Institute of Education can be found here. If you have any access requirements, please email or call 020 3108 9047.

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