Crowdsourcing in Policy-Making: The Impact of Blended Expertise on Law-Making Process



Tanja Aitamurto, Stanford University

Date and Time

October 3, 2013 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Wallenberg Theater

FSI Contact

Kathleen Barcos

This talk reports on a study about the impact of crowdsourcing on a law-making process in Finland. In the studied process, the reform of off-road traffic law was opened for public participation in Finland. The citizens were first asked to share their experiences and problems with off-road traffic and the regulating law on an online platform. Then the participants were asked to share solutions for those problems. Crowdsourcing resulted into 500 ideas, over 4,000 comments and 24,000 votes, which were analyzed and evaluated both with citizens and experts and using an algorithmic consensus tool. The talk discusses deliberative aspects in crowdsourcing and the usefulness of blended expertise, i.e. the mixture of the crowd's and experts' knowledge, in law-making.

Tanja Aitamurto is a visiting researcher at the Program on Liberation Technology at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford. In her PhD project she examines how collective intelligence, whether harvested by crowdsourcing, co-creation or open innovation, impacts incumbent processes in journalism, public policy making and design process. Her work has been published in several academic publications, such as the New Media and Society. Related to her studies, she advises the Government and the Parliament of Finland about Open Government principles, for example about how open data and crowdsourcing can serve democratic processes.

Aitamurto has previously studied at the Center for Design Research and at the Innovation Journalism Program at Stanford. She is a PhD Student at the Center for Journalism, Media and Communication Research at Tampere University in Finland, and she holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, and a Master of Arts in Humanities. Prior to returning to academia, she made a career in journalism in Finland specializing in foreign affairs, doing reporting in countries such as Afghanistan, Angola and Uganda. She has also taught journalism at the University of Zambia, in Lusaka, and worked at the Namibia Press Agency, Windhoek. More about Tanja’s work at and on Twitter @tanjaaita.