UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Sparking social innovation through crowdsourcing and prizes: Does Finland lead the way?

31 January 2019, 6:30 pm–8:00 pm

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

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.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







020 3108 9047


Room W2.06
Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

A public policy colloquium hosted at University College London by the City Leadership LaboratoryUCL 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.

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 directionof 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:

18:30-18:40pm: Opening remarks, Dr Ellie Cosgrave, City Leadership Laboratory, UCL STEaPP

18:40-19:00pm: Designing “Solution 100”, Finland’s centennial challenge prize: Crowdsourcing wicked policy problems from citizens, Kalle Nieminen & Riina Pulkkinen, SITRA, Finland

19:00-19:20pm: 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)

19:20-19:30pm: Comments and reflections, Professor Rainer Kattel, UCL IIPP

19:30-20:00pm: Panel discussion



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


About the Speakers

Dr Ellie Cosgrave

Lecturer in Urban Innovation and Director of UCL City Leadership Laboratory at City Leadership Laboratory, UCL STEaPP

Dr Ellie Cosgrave is Lecturer in Urban Innovation within STEaPP's City Leadership Laboratory. She was previously a Research Associate on the EPSRC funded Liveable Cities Programme; an ambitious five-year programme of research to develop realistic and radical engineering solutions for achieving low carbon, resource secure UK cities in a way that maximises wellbeing. 

More about Dr Ellie Cosgrave

Professor Rainer Kattel

IIPP Deputy Director at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Rainer is professor of innovation and public governance at IIPP, and research professor at Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia.

More about Professor Rainer Kattel

Kalle Nieminen

Leading Specialist at Sitra

Kalle Nieminen believes that the state plays a strong role in innovation. In his day job, he gets to live out this idea by leading the Ratkaisu 100 challenge prize. Colleagues have given Kalle a host of titles, including Experimenter-in-Chief, Experimentation Geek and Innovation Prize Nerd.

More about Kalle Nieminen

Dr Emma Nordback

Postdoctoral Researcher at Aalto University

Dr Emma Nordback works as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Management Studies in the International Design and Business Management program, conducting research as well as being responsible for the online version of our IDBM study program, which is part of the broader FITech networked university initiative in Finland.

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Riina Pulkkinen

Leading Specialist at Sitra

Riina Pulkkinen is a member of Sitra’s Ratkaisu 100 team. Riina is responsible for ensuring that the challenge prize is realised in a sensible, human-centric way from the point of view of the problem solvers.

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Dr Ville Takala

Senior Research Associate at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Ville Takala is Senior Research Associate in Public Value and Digital Transformation at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.

More about Dr Ville Takala

Dr Tuukka Toivonen

Honorary Senior Lecturer at UCL STEaPP

Dr Tuukka Toivonen, PhD (Oxon.), is an expert on creativity in entrepreneurship, co-working and innovative teams. Born in Helsinki and educated in the UK as well as Japan, he is the director of Creative Friction, an emerging research agency that helps organisations foster interactions that can energise the creative journeys of their members. 

More about Dr Tuukka Toivonen