COLDIGIT Helsinki Symposium 20.9.

COLDIGIT Helsinki Symposium, 20.9.2023 – Open for everyone!


In the seminar we delve into the following themes:

Demystifying Collective Intelligence: What is the potential use of collective intelligence for the public sector?

Using Digital Tools to Amplify Participation: How  to best utilize digital tools to enhance the quality and reach of dialogue and deliberation?

Shared Landscapes of Democracy: How to draw insights from the municipal experiences and collaborative visions in the Nordics?

Everyone is more than welcome to the Symposium!

Teams link:



COLDIGIT project recommendations at the “Fast Track to Vision 2030”

Harnessing Collective Intelligence to
Strengthen Democracy in the Nordic

By 2023 policymakers in the Nordic Region aim to achieve their vision of a socially sustainable, green and competitive society and deepening participation from citizens is more relevant than ever.

This policy brief presents recommendations from the COLDIGIT project on how to mainstream the use of democratic innovations such as citizens assemblies and participatory budgeting in the Nordic countries.

Link to the publication: Harnessing Collective Intelligence


NordForsk: Interview of Mikko Rask

Governments and municipalities across the globe are facing a series of crises. How do we deal with them?

Link: NordForsk (
Published: 30.03.2023

The research project Collective Intelligence through Digital Tools (COLDIGIT) aims to generate new knowledge on innovative digital tools and approaches to help governments manage difficult societal processes in the Nordic Region.

The NordForsk-funded research project COLDIGIT is led by Associate Professor Mikko Rask from the University of Helsinki. He says that the public sector is in a very difficult position right now.


Collective Intelligence Tools repository

As digital technology develops, there is an increasing demand for public organisations to employ digital tools to facilitate citizen participation in policy-making processes. The rise of Civictech and GovTech markets reflects this trend. Nevertheless, public managers, especially at the municipal level, face difficulties choosing the right digital tools due to the fragmented digital ecosystem and complex technologies. Few digital tool repositories exist that could help public managers (except PeoplePowered’s Digital Participatory Platforms).


Three case studies published

Proposal meeting in Biskopsgården, 4th March 2022 (CC-BY Digidem Lab)

COLDIGIT has published three new reports describing the case studies of democratic innovations. The first case describes the implementation of participatory budgeting (PB) in Helsinki, a broad and lengthy process open to the entire city. The second case is about PB in Gothenburg, but there, it is a public housing company that implements it, in two of the most stigmatized residential areas in the city. The third case describes a Citizen’s assembly, carried out in Trondheim, with the intention of getting residents’ views on the new master plan.


The role of digital technology in democratic innovation

Christopher Edgar / Senior researcher, NESTA

In recent years, there has been an increasing desire to enhance the democratic process and make it more accessible to citizens. In the UK for example, recent findings indicate that 77% of the general public believe that local residents should have a say in determining how government funds are utilised within their respective communities. These findings support a broader global trend, with one study reporting that 56% of people surveyed across 17 advanced global economies believe there should be major or complete reform of their political systems. There is a clear demand for democratic reform, and this demand has led to the development of a number of tools and platforms that facilitate citizen participation and engagement in democratic innovations such as citizens assemblies and participatory budgeting initiatives.


New article “Learning through online participation: A longitudinal analysis of participatory budgeting using Big Data indicators”

We are excited to publish a new article that analysed the democratic quality of online deliberation using Big Data indicators in two rounds of OmaStadi, a participatory budgeting project led by the City of Helsinki, Finland. Our main contribution is to propose online and Big data-based monitoring indicators as a tool for learning and improving democratic innovations that are increasingly iterated along with a policy cycle.


New Article by Pekka Tuominen in a Special Issue Edited by John Rennie Short and Mari Vaattovaara

Striving for normality: Agency, citizen participation and intergroup belonging on the urban periphery of Helsinki

Pekka Tuominen

This article examines how the inhabitants of a culturally diverse suburban estate in Finland strive for meaningful encounters in their lives. The focus is on Kontula, a residential working-class district on the eastern periphery of Helsinki, which has become a powerful symbol of the ills of contemporary urbanity—poverty and social problems, as well as rootlessness and the failed integration of the immigrant populations—in the vernacular geography and media representations of the city.


Citizen Participation, Social Inclusion and Digitalisation in the Nordic Region

COLDIGIT organises a public seminar on April 27, 2022 17.00-19.00 at Think Corner in Helsinki (Yliopistonkatu 4, 2nd floor). Experiences of the participatory practices and cultures from Gothenburg, Trondheim and Helsinki will be discussed

A public event with presentations and discussion with the COLDIGIT team brings together researchers and practitioners from the UK, Sweden, Norway and Finland to explore the most recent developments of citizen participation, especially in the Nordic context. In the seminar, we combine qualitative and quantitative orientations and look into the benefits of digital tools in initiating novel approaches, methods to evaluate citizen engagement in a comprehensive manner, strategies for participatory processes in marginalised areas and many other pertinent societal dynamics.

The event consists of brief glimpses into the cases and themes we are working with, followed by discussion with the audience. Oli Whittington (NESTA); Sanna Ghotbi, Pierre Mesure and Annie Hermansson (Digidem Lab); Siri Holen (Sintef); Mikko Rask (University of Helsinki) and Kirsi Verkka (City of Helsinki) introduce a variety of topics for the participants to deliberate upon. The event is facilitated by Pekka Tuominen (University of Helsinki). Welcome! 



COLDIGIT presented at Decidim Fest

Decidim is one of the biggest open source digital democracy platforms currently in use. Over one hundred cities across the world are using Decidim for a variation of citizen participation processes. The management and development of the platform is run by a democratic association, Meta Decidim, where members together prioritize what features they want to improve or develop next. In the Nordics, several cities in Finland, Sweden and Norway have strarted using the platforrm to run participation processes such as participatory budgeting, participatory urban planning and citizen proposals. Every year Decidim Fest is organized in Barcelona, the birth place of Decidim.

This year the COLDIGIT team were invited to present our work at the conference. Under a hybrid meeting form, much like the platform itself that facilitates both digital and face to face participation, we presented our work together with the municipality of Trondheim, one of our partners. We talked about the overall mission of our project and shared some of our findings so far. Our session was joined by representatives showcasing examples from the EU-commission, French parliament and Swiss municipalities. Among the other attendees were also representives for example Japan, the US and Dakar.

Taking part in the international digital democracy community is key for us as we intend for our research to build on a wider network of knowledge and needs. During the upcoming year alone we are going to study and interact with over one hundred user cases and tools, create a framework to measure participation through barriers and enablers and test new innovative approaches together with Nordic municipalities and public institutions. Stay tuned, as we will share more of our discoveries together with you. Feel free to get in contact if you have questions about our work (Mikko Rask, mikko.rask(at)

This post was written by Sanna Ghotbi from Digidem Lab.