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Digital Participation Platform
Mikkeli & Finland

Senior Researcher Toni Ryynänen, Project Manager Päivi Pylkkänen, email: lastname.firstname at helsinki.fi

Service Skills

Citizen Participation




Circular Economy


Climate Change






Technical Resources

Check our GitHub project

Find the code of our platform



Benefits of the Service

  • Promote innovative and versatile citizen participation in the city of Mikkeli and South-Savo region, especially in remote and sparsely populated areas;
  • Raise awareness on sustainability issues, circular economy and climate change;
  • To participate citizens to actively contribute to and promote everyday sustainability solutions and green lifestyles;
  • Increase citizen engagement in the digital participation platform and further development activities.

Targeted Groups

The most promising service areas for utilisation of the Omaidea platform within public administration:

  • The youth services
  • Schools and other educational institutions
  • Environmental services and services related to waste management and circulation
  • Municipal planning

All the mentioned services need novel and digital means for citizen participation and engagement. The development of the Omaidea platform and its pilot testing provides invaluable experiences of a Decidim-based solution.

Marketing and Promotion

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Development and Implementation Process

Development Process

The development and implementation of the Omaidea digital participation platform is a sequential process consisting of the following steps along the project periods:

Period 1: Analysis of relevant technologies available for citizen participation and engagement.

Period 2: Local stakeholder interviews (12) and contextual analysis to understand the needs, priorities and contextual conditions in the city of Mikkeli and the region of South Savo.

Period 3:

  • Shortlisting of the potential technologies and comparing between the most promising ones (Consul vs. Decidim) considering the views of the stakeholders’ together with other contextual factors.
  • Development, installation and testing of the first Decidim-based prototype of the service by NUIG.

Period 4:

  • Refinement of the service prototype, design of the user interface and installation of platform software on the permanent domain address corresponding with the service name Omaidea, available at https://omaidea.fi
  • Pilot testing of the first public version of Omaidea platform with local stakeholders and Ruralia Institute’s test audiences.

Period 5:
Designing and implementing three sustainability related participation themes with activating events and supporting content on the Omaidea’s social media channels. The themes of the digitally supported participation processes were
bio-waste, food waste and small-scale climate action as follows:

  • 1. “Bio-waste challenge” at https://omaidea.fi/processes/Biojatteestahyodykkeeksi including 3 minisurveys, thematic communication and discussion activities (NovemberDecember 2020). The participatory activities involved from 30 to 62
    participants on the platform.
  • 2. “Food waste challenge”, part one, at https://omaidea.fi/processes/ruokahavikki including a “wake-up” survey, thematic communication and information sharing on food waste (January-early February 2021). The participatory activities involved 45 participants on the platform.
  • 3. “Small-scale climate action” idea competition at https://omaidea.fi/processes/ilmastotekoideat including idea generation,
    voting for favorite ideas, and thematic communication (February 2021-April 2021). The idea competition resulted in 21 climate action ideas and altogether 103 votes on the platform.

Period 6:

  • Food waste challenge, part two, April-June 2021, concentrating on idea generation against food waste (ongoing). The ideas will be voted for later on (like in the climate action process). https://omaidea.fi/processes/ruokahavikki/f/73/
  • Yet to come: Collection of feedback from registered users with actual participation experience in one or more above mentioned participatory events.

Technical Requirements

The platform requires a server to be hosted on.

Technology Used

Omaidea is based on Decidim software (programming language: Ruby on Rails) for citizen participation. Decidim is a freely modifiable open source software: https://decidim.org

Challenges and Recommendations

Introducing a participation service within any (public) administration is technically straightforward, but requires dedicated staff and enough resources to support the citizen participation processes in different service areas.
In the case of Omaidea, the service was introduced and piloted by UH outside the public administration, albeit in active collaboration with targeted service areas of the associate partner city of Mikkeli.

Lessons Learnt
  • Requirement of registration to a new service has proved to be a participation barrier to many. For example, the number of respondents on Omaidea surveys almost doubled when participation as enabled without prior registering and logging in. Allowing unregistered participants involves risks (e.g. spamming)
    and registering is a prerequisite for utilising most of the advanced functionalities of the software.
  • Several entertaining and often commercial participation channels compete over people’s time. Attracting citizens to adopt a new and unknown participation forum is a challenging endeavour.
  • Participation events on the platform need substantial preparation and consultation with the collaborating stakeholders. The platform alone does not attract audiences. It can add value to existing activities and audiences of collaborating actors when you find a common agenda.
  • Successful campaigns on the platform require early and targeted communication measures on the service and its events.
  • The marketing of the service benefit from parallel promotion on the social media channels favoured by the target groups and awareness of topical trends that can be applied for sustainability engagement and nudging.