The use of knowledge in decision-making is undergoing radical change. When resolving complicated societal challenges, knowledge must be produced, compiled and interpreted using several sources, across disciplines and collectively.


What’s new.


Some heavy reading.


This is what we do.


Many of our urgent societal problems are so complex that one single solution cannot be identified. Different types of knowledge are being produced more than ever before, but the solutions suggested by one expert may just as equally pose major problems for another expert. As a result of social media, experts are constantly subjected to increasingly varied types of critique. At the same time, decisions are made under the growing pressure of time sensitivity and fast-paced public dialogue.

When dealing with complex phenomena, societal decision-making needs knowledge from different fields and sources. We aim to combine research from different disciplines, foresight, trials and practical experiences with other specialist knowledge.

We aim for decision-making on complex problems to be increasingly based on the synthesis of knowledge from different sources. Instead of evidence-based decision-making, we call for decision-making that is based on collective interactive interpretation.

What do we do?

We recognise the challenges and opportunities associated with the changing relationship between knowledge and decision-making. We introduce new perspectives, increase interaction between those interested in the subject and share best practices. We try out new interactive models that connect knowledge and decision-making and help develop the two fields where they overlap.

Where are we now?

In the summer of 2017, we will be conducting a stakeholder survey to identify the central bottlenecks and development opportunities in the interaction between knowledge and decision-making. We will be publishing the results of the survey in an event being held in the autumn of 2017.

In a month-long challenge to be held in autumn 2017 – Hack for Society (link in Finnish) – teams of University of Helsinki students and researchers and local politicians from Helsinki will compete to resolve some of the challenges currently facing local authorities. The participants will learn about collective development, quick trials and design thinking as tools for resolving problems. We will publish what was learned from the operating model and the solutions to the selected challenges at the end of 2017. Hack for Society will be implemented in co-operation with the Helsinki Think Company, the University of Helsinki, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and Think Tank E2.

In 2013, Sitra assembled a panel of experts on sustainable development to support and challenge the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development and to include sustainable development views based on scientific expertise in societal dialogue. We will continue and develop the panel’s work as a part of the “Knowledge in decision-making” project.

Interested? Please contact us!

We are seeking partners who are interested in launching new projects that develop or try out interactive models that connect knowledge and decision-making and that promote resolving complex societal problems. To expand our network, we are looking for data producers, decision-makers and drafters, and intermediary organisations that bridge the gap between knowledge and decision-making and who are interested in the topic.


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