Three pioneers in the Finnish Open Data scene, Open Knowledg Finland, The Finnish Independency Fund SITRA and Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) launched new funding instrument, Datademo in February 2014. They are set out to search for ideas that make use of open data in order to promote democracy and are offering developers micro funding of 2000 euros each.

“Datademo is a participatory process, alike participatory budgeting. The applicants themselves take part in evaluating and deciding who will be receiving funding. On the contrary to traditional, Datademo brings out open and agile method to develop public IT systems” says Joonas Pekkanen, project manager for Open Knowledge Finland (OKFFI).

OKFFI is responsible for organizing Datademo, whereas SITRA and HRI are the funders. Total amount of funding available in Datademo during the year will be 48 000 euros.

The proposals for Datademo are required to use either specifically open data from Helsinki region or genrally from Finland. Another requirement is that they need to promote citizens’ possibilities to obtain information or to participate. Existing commercial products are ruled out from Datademo, but the applications may evolve to one in the future. At the first round, Datademo received almost 50 proposals, that are now under consideration.

“It’s great that HRI and SITRA see the big potential even in small ideas and want to enable open and agile chance to make them happen. Public administration has opened data on increasing pace, but it is more than often when developing applications is up to individuals and even the small expenses are left for the volunteers to pay for” notes Mr. Pekkanen.

A sign of novel approach is also that the funding is paid in advance. Completing the job and reporting the results is left to happen on the basis of peer pressure. The organizers are hoping for that this arrangement reduces the risk for the developers to take action, as usually the market for democracy related applications is rather modest compared to eg. what mobile games might make in the app market.

Learn more about Datademo.

This story was originally posted here.