Data collectives ideation contest

We need new ideas to enable more people to enjoy the many uses of data. Sitra is now looking for great ideas for data collectives. A data collective is a group of people who bring data together in order to achieve a common goal. The contest has ended, get to know the winners!

The contest has ended, get to know the winners!

What is it all about?  

In recent years, the amount of data collected on our everyday lives has increased at an astonishing pace. Nevertheless, the benefits of data are still being distributed very unevenly. 

The position of power of the largest technology platforms seems unwavering in relation to both individuals and SMEs. There is a growing need for solutions and approaches that empower people to harness data for the common good.

By combining digital solutions, innovative ways of using data and citizen participation, we will support democracy and develop opportunities for participation.

This set-up and the operating mechanisms of the data economy in its current form were described in Sitra’s Digipower investigation report published in spring 2022. As one recommendation aimed at improving the situation and giving individuals more bargaining power, the report highlighted a new model for the alliance of individuals: data collectives. 

To spread and develop the data collective approach, Sitra is now launching a pan-European data collective competition. The competition seeks out the best ideas about how different communities could together use data to support people’s digital rights, learning, agency and engagement.  

The competition is aimed at European SMEs and NGOs as well as public sector organisations operating in the EU area. More detailed rules and instructions for participation are available on this page.  

We have extended the application period. In the data collective ideation contest, we tested whether we could find ideas for new types of data communities in a short timeframe. As the ideas – however excellent – we received did not meet the competition’s criteria, we decided to extend the application period.

We encourage all types of communities to apply with a low threshold, as technical expertise is not a prerequisite for participation. It is the idea that counts. The call for competition ideas is open from 28 April to 14 September 2023.

Ideation contest

We are looking for great ideas for data collectives. The call is open from 28 April to 14 September 2023.

What kinds of ideas are we looking for?  

We are looking for great ideas for data collectives. Your idea may be in its early stages or already under development: the most important thing is that it is a question of a genuine data collective where people or organisations form a community to which each participant contributes value-creating data. Combining, reviewing and analysing data creates new, valuable information or other benefits for all members of the data collective.  

Your application must include your contact information and a general description of the idea: what is the goal of the data collective, to whom it is targeted and what makes the idea a data collective?   

Applicants may take part in the idea competition with several proposals. The idea must be the applicant’s own idea. The applicant is responsible for the accuracy of the information provided to Sitra and their non-infringement of the rights of any third parties.  

And what is not a data community? For example, we do not accept a community that simply operates online and uses digital tools and connections. We are looking for an idea where community members each bring their own contribution of data to the table. The data does not have to be personal data, for example, but members must have the right to use the data. An innovative pairing is not yet a competitive idea, but there must be at least three different partners in the community.

How to participate 

The call is open from 28 April to 14 September 2023 and selections are made in September 2023.  

You can take part by filling in the application form (in English) for the idea competition.  The form must be filled in and sent by 16:00 EEST on 14 September 2023. Solutions submitted after the deadline will not be considered. It is the participant’s responsibility to get the form to their destination.

Questions about the competition to:

The participants in the idea competition must be legal entities, private individuals cannot participate. The data collective competition is aimed at SMEs, public sector organisations and associations registered in Europe.

The best idea will be rewarded with two tickets to the MyData 2024 conference, including travel expenses within Europe (tickets + hotel accommodation) up to EUR 1,000 per person.

What are the evaluation criteria?  

The evaluation criteria are defined by Sitra together with Hestia.ain. In addition to the detailed criteria specified at the bottom of this page (see Detailed application instructions), the jury emphasises the social sustainability of the idea, in other words, how well the idea pays attention to the digital autonomy, agency and engagement of an individual.  

The selections will be made by the Data collective idea competition jury comprised of representatives from Sitra (Kristo Lehtonen, Jukka Vahti, Tiina Härkönen) and Hestia (Paul-Olivier Dehaye) and Viivi Lähteenoja from MyData. The jury contact person is Tiina Härkönen. Sitra reserves the right to change the composition of the jury and the schedule of the contest.


Detailed information about the criteria

Participation criteria

The participants in the idea competition must be legal entities, private individuals cannot participate. The data collective competition is aimed at SMEs, public sector organisations and associations registered in Europe. 

The contest is open to any European entity (or groups) that is value-aligned with SITRA in seeking to promote democratic values and engagement. 

Evaluation criteria

The main criteria for evaluation are impact, originality and feasibility. All three will be weighted equally. 

Impact: We will evaluate the proposal according to its contribution in increasing engagement and agency in digital society. Will participants achieve more autonomy? Will they gain a new voice in digital society? Will the collective upset the power imbalance inherent to the current landscape of data-driven technologies? Will it improve the participants’ everyday life? What might be the side effects of such an effort? 

Originality: How unique is the idea? How essential is it to have a data collective in order to achieve it? 

Feasibility: How does such a collective get started? How would it sustain itself? Both financially, but also taking into account the energy required from participants. Is there a cultural perspective to take into account? How are fears around privacy and data protection addressed? 

right, personal data and other terms

Detailed application instructions


Sitra aims to disseminate the proposals made in the idea competition as extensively as possible for use in society.  

By participating in the call for ideas, the applicant organisation undertakes that all of the information presented in the applicant’s application and ideas are public and freely available for public use. Sitra has, for example, the right to publish the names of the call for ideas applicants.  

An applicant rewarded in the idea competition must undertake to sign a co-operation agreement with Sitra in which the rewarded applicant, among other things, grants Sitra free right to publish and use the applicant’s idea proposal.   

Sitra is not liable for protecting business secrets or any direct or indirect intellectual property right-related or other loss associated with participation in the call for ideas incurred by the participants or third parties. The participants in the idea competition must, where necessary, protect their own business secrets and intellectual property rights.  

Sitra has the right to disclose information related to the idea competition documents if they are subject to a request for information. 

Processing of personal data 

The party taking part in the call for ideas must ensure they have the right to provide Sitra with the personal data concerning the contact persons and other personal data specified in the idea competition for the purpose of implementing the project, and to the accuracy of the data.  

The personal data provided in the idea competition will be used for contacts regarding any follow-up co-operation. The personal data collected in the idea competition will be processed in accordance with the Privacy policy for the Finnish Innovation Fund’s (Sitra) interest group and marketing register. Moreover, the above-mentioned personal data of the contact persons for the organisations chosen through the idea competition will be processed for preparing and processing the co-operation agreement.  

Other terms and conditions 

Sitra has the right to make minor changes and further clarifications to the terms and conditions of the application process, such as extend the application period. The changes will be published on the idea competition website. Therefore, the participants in the idea competition should monitor the relevant website in order to note any changes.  

Sitra has the right to suspend the idea competition if the circumstances or conditions prevailing at the time of commencing the competition have changed to such an extent that Sitra considers implementing the competition no longer possible or feasible.  

If Sitra considers that the idea proposals do not meet the criteria stated above, Sitra reserves the right to not reward any idea proposals.  

 Sitra has the right to exclude from the idea competition an applicant that violates the terms and conditions of the competition rules or valid legislation or that is otherwise considered to be unsuitable for taking part in the competition. For example, an operator who is subject to a sanction or restriction imposed by the EU or UN shall be considered to be unsuitable. The applicant’s contact person will be informed of the exclusion by e-mail.  

Contact us

We would like to tell you more!

Tiina Härkönen
Senior Lead, Democracy and participation
Jukka Vahti
Project Director, Digital power and democracy

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