Spring 2021 Programme

Politics of Co-Creation seminar (PYAM-9142, 5 study credits)

This is a research seminar under the Doctoral programme in political, societal and regional (PYAM) at the University of Helsinki. The seminar is open to researchers, PhD and master’s students as well as other experts interested in the issues related to co-creation and its introduction as a new type of paradigm in knowledge production, politics and innovation.

The seminar has run, since 2015, by the Politics of co-creation team at the Centre for Consumer Society Research. The idea of the seminar is to i) provide a multidisciplinary platform for the discussion and critical reflection on related phenoma, ii) introduce on-going and emerging research projects, and iii) link researchers with users of knowledge, thus supporting societal relevance and value to research based knowledge. During spring 2021, the seminar will continue to be arranged online due to Covid-19 restrictions. In case you want to formally complete the course, you should enroll to it in Weboodi. A presentation and active participation are requested to acquire 5 study credits. Otherwise, you are welcome to participate and listen to the presentations that will take place in Zoom.

The seminar will continue to build on the “collective intelligence” theme. Collective intelligence refers to processes and capacities through which humans can interact with each other, many times facilitated by machines and the Internet, resulting in better quality of decisions or knowledge than would be possible to achieve by any individual actor. This special theme will feed into, and benefit from the NordForsk funded project COLDIGIT “Collective Intelligence through Digital Tools” which started in November 2020. In addition to this special theme, other research contributions to the theme “politics of co-creation” are welcome, and you can approach any of the organizers, Mikko Rask, Nina Kahma and Titiana Ertiö, to ask for an opportunity to either participate or give a talk.

Programme for Spring 2021

April 23 at 13:15 – 14:45 Dr. Michele Cantarella (University of Helsinki): Impact evaluation of startup innovation policies: evidence from a natural experiment

Zoom venue:

Many countries around the world have developed policy packages aimed at supporting innovation among young firms. Assessing the effectiveness of such policies is, however, rather difficult: self-selection issues usually prevent the researcher from establishing whether a firm would have been equally successful without the aid of these initiatives. In Italy, the Startup Act came into force in December 2012, and set up a scheme of benefits which young firms could access by registering as ”innovative startup” on a voluntary basis, as long as certain pre-requisites were met.

In this paper, we look at a natural experiment from the Italian region of Trentino Alto-Adige/Südtirol to find quasi-experimental evidence on the effect of startup policies on firm performance. We find that informational asymmetries arising from assignment into different language groups affects firm registration as an innovative startup conditional on the etymological origins of the surname of the CEO. Firms whose CEOs have a surname of German origin are more likely not to register as startups, while no differences in terms of outcomes between with firms with Italian-named CEOs are to be noted during the years preceding the introduction of the policy. We exploit these asymmetries as an exogenous source of access to the benefit scheme. Our findings suggest that acquiring innovative startup status increases R&D expenses and facilitates access to loans from shareholders, but that the effects on employment, revenues and access to bank credit are null.


Previous presentations

5th of March at 13:15 – 14:45 Dr. Salvatore Ruggiero (UH): Current research interests

Zoom venue: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/68166129175?pwd=OFdZbHUwOVJXOGVrZWMyYmRZOVhYUT09

Dr. Salvatore Ruggiero has recently joined the Centre for Consumer Society Research as a post-doctoral researcher. Previously he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University where he conducted research on business model innovation processes in organizations operating at the intersection of the ICT and energy sectors. In addition, he also investigated the role of community energy initiatives in diffusing grassroots innovations and promoting cultural change in sustainability transitions. Currently, Salvatore is still partially affiliated to Aalto University as he leads the D.Game project. This is a project funded by EIT Climate-KIC focusing on sustainable education and co-creation processes to promote collaboration between secondary schools, academia, businesses and civil society sector in local sustainability projects. In the near future, Salvatore plans to conduct research in the following two research areas:

(i) civil society organizations (CSOs) and legitimacy of environmental governance processes — to better understand when the participation of CSOs has positive, negative, or even irrelevant implications for large processes of societal transformation towards sustainability

(ii) young people and sustainability education — explore the role of new forms of
environmental governance based on the active participation of children/young people in local decision making processes related to the transition towards a more sustainable future


12th of February at 13:15 – 14:45

Dr. Maija Jäske (Åbo Akademi): Two-way street: Involving politicians in a deliberative mini-public

Co-creation seminar_Maija Jäske_12022021


Democracy scholars are currently trying to come up with models for connecting deliberative mini-publics with the institutions of electoral democracy. One proposed model is involving elected representatives in mini-public deliberations with lay citizens. It has been argued that the involvement of politicians may increase the commitment among politicians and boost the impact of mini-publics.

We designed a deliberative mini-public engaging politicians in half of the small groups. The mini-public took place in a Finnish city, Turku/Åbo, and involved 171 citizens and 21 local councillors. The participants deliberated on three expert scenarios for the future traffic arrangements in the city. We examine how councillors’ participation influenced deliberations. We also study councillors’ experiences of deliberation and their attitudes toward direct public engagement in general. The study takes a mixed-methods approach using interviews of 11 councillors who participated in the mini-public, councillors’ (N=17) and citizens’ answers to a post deliberation survey (N=171).

The results indicate that the involvement of councillors did not have a negative impact on deliberations. The mini-public provided councillors with new ways to listen and understand the needs and concerns of ordinary citizens. Furthermore, it increased councillors’ understanding and appreciation of citizens’ local knowledge and competence. The councillors felt positive about using mini-publics in the context of democratic decision-making.

22nd of January  at 13:15 – 14:45

Dr. Nina Kahma (UH): Dark Patterns in the Design of Challenge Competitions 

University-based science competitions are a recent example of orchestrated effort binding together researchers, universities, private corporations and societal stakeholders in attempts to develop solutions for societal problems as well as to develop new innovations – and from the researchers’ point of view to disseminate research knowledge to the wider publics. In her presentation that is linked to an on-going PhD study at Aalto University,Kahma will depict the adverse effects of participatory and multi-stakeholder processes in university-based challenge competitions using interview data from interviews with participants, organisers and other stakeholders who have been involved in recent challenge competitions. Leaving from the viewpoint of design ethics in challenge competition design, the presentation will proceed to the direction of dark patterns identified as situations where differences between the actors involved in challenge competitions (in terms of values and expectations, power and resources) become visible. The preliminary results from the study reveal both dark patterns related to the everyday inequalities in the academic world as well as imbalances between the participants and the organisers involved. It is to be questioned, whether positive user experience for all parties involved can be ensured? And which ones of the identified dark patterns can be addressed by design of an individual competition, and which ones extend beyond them.