How would our society look like if it was designed by citizens – by us? If the societal structures at grassroots level were shaped to support the citizens’ lives instead of being shaped by institutions?
Summary of a report sponsered by the Finnish Innovation Fund: Done by me – and us. Introduction to the democracy of making (in Finnish: Ominvoimin – mutta yhdessä. Tekemisen demokratian ensimmäiset askeleet)
This report describes how citizens are shaping the society by crowdsourcing, collaborative consumption and other peer-produced grassroots activity in modern community efforts in Finland. The study reports on nine cases, in which the common denominator is a bottom-up citizen activity: the efforts are initiated by individuals and small groups instead of government strategies or other incumbent actors. One of the cases tells the story of the Equipment Library in Helsinki, one of the early forms of the modern day collaborative consumption in Finland. Another case analyzes the story of a platform, which crowdsources information about problems in bicycle routes. (See the full list of the cases at the end of this abstract.)
a form of informal economy
These peer-produced initiatives lead into citizen empowerment, and they are a form of informal economy, which is primarily fueled by social capital rather than traditional pecuniary incentives. With these peer-produced efforts, the citizens explore new ways to govern themselves.
The report is written by a researcher Tanja Aitamurto and communication specialist Riku Siivonen. The report is funded by the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra). The study analyses factors for successful peer-produced community activity. The successful initiatives had similar features to start-ups: for instance, just like start-ups, community efforts need good advisors rather than money. Mentors guide the work forward and connect the group to relevant networks. Furthermore, the report also includes an analysis chapter written by a collaboration specialist Iikka Lovio.
Action points for Finland
The report concludes with five action points, which, if realized, would support peer-production and citizen empowerment in Finland. The recommendations are the following: Read the rest of this entry →