Co-P2P - Finland

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= Co-creation, co-governance and peer-to-peer production of public services SIG, from Aalto University


The co-p2p special interest group initiative aims to increase stakeholders understanding of the processes, logic’s and incentives that can make possible co-creation, co-governance and peer-to-peer production of public services, as well as chart the limits and implications of these approaches (social,economic, political, technical and cultural dimensions). The members represent different expertise with in the Aalto University in order to provide a multidisciplinary and multifaceted view to these developments.


1) The need for a multidisciplinary perspective towards the challenges and opportunities that exist in designing and developing services for participatory modes of governance (including co-creation and peer-to-peer aspects).

2) The mapping of the constellation of new technologies and actors involved in citizen-sensitive public service creation and delivery, and their current and emerging roles.

3) Understanding and proposing new service ecosystem configurations (technological and social) to address the challenges and circumstances identified.

Initial funding to develop the topic has been granted by the Aalto University Service Factory for the year 2010-2011



"There is a renewed interest in different disciplines to understand processes, logics and incentives that can make possible new partnerships between the public sector, private sector, third sector, and citizens, in order to create and produce public services (c.f: Parks et. al. 1999, Borchorst, Bødker&Zander 2009, Ostrom 2000, Parker & Heapy 2006). Amongst the many aspects to consider, active forms of citizenship and broader public participation have emerged as key issues. In discussing alternative models of governance, Peters (1994) claims that a participatory state builds upon the involvement of citizens and front-line staff in making and actively influencing choices about policy and social services. Similarly to the market model, a participatory model could also give citizens more choice and control variables over the providers. However, the manner in which these choices would be exercised in a participatory state would be much more overtly political. Instead of voting with their feet (euros, dollars, crowns), as the market model imply, citizens would contribute and influence through governance structures such as referenda of local policy, local representative structures (e.g. parent associations), or new forms of civil and non-governmental engagements (e.g. by creating cooperatives). Citizens are therefore seen as being involved in the co-production of the services they need, with ever-bigger roles (Pestoff 2008), complementing the public and private providers’ resources and activities.

Furthermore, the emergence and visibility of peer-to-peer production (e.g. Bauwens 2005, Benkler 2006) is of increased relevance for the design and provision of all kinds of services. In peer-to-peer production, services are offered and delivered from one individual or group, to another, because of common interest, shared needs, or social ties. “Talkoot”, Wikipedia and Free-Librea and Open Source Software (e.g. Linux) are all examples of peer-to-peer production logics, some of which have been made possible by the emergence of digital service ecosystem infrastructures. Peer-to-peer arrangements are also being discussed in relationship to public services, and its importance will presumably rise (e.g, Cottam & Leadbeater 2004, Jegou & Manzini 2008). Additionally, there are recent examples of services and goods, which are commonly considered to be public services, but are today organized in a peer-to-peer manner, such as community managed senior care and online education. The “do it yourself” (DIY) phenomena that relays on cheap, fast and efficient communication technology, such as social computing and media (1), is also potentially challenging creation, governance and production of public services (Punie, Misuraca, & Osimo 2009).

While new technologies, media and tools substantially lower the barrier of participation and sharing of information, the mismatch both in the processes and in the information structures between the public service providers and the citizens and communities cause serious limitations. For example, support for combining citizen created information structures and semantics with official structures and standards is needed. A challenge is therefore to combine the rigid, centrally controlled and slowly changing public service systems with the open, dynamic and very rapidly changing citizen-created information sharing and peer-to-peer developments.

The approaches outlined above can inform and inspire new ways and models to understand, create and develop public services. However, the multiple issues at stake point at the need for a multidisciplinary and multifaceted view to these developments, it is in this framework we see our contribution from Aalto University."


Bauwens M. (2005) The Political Economy of Peer Production. In Kroker A, Kroker M (eds) 100 Days of Theory. Available online:

Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks : How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. {Yale University Press}.

Borchorst, N. G., Bødker, S., & Zander, P. (2009). The boundaries of participatory citizenship. In Proceedings of the European Computer Supported Collaborative Work. Vienna: Springler.

Cottam, H., Leadbeater, C. (2004). Health: Co-creating services. Red paper 01, The Design Council UK. Retrieved March 15, 2010 from:

Jégou, F., & Manzini, E. (Eds.). (2008). Collaborative Services, Social innovation and design for sustainability. Edizioni Retrieved from

Ostrom, E. (2000). Crowding out Citizenship. Scandinavian Political Studies, 23(1), 3-16. doi:10.1111/1467-9477.00028

Parks, R; Baker P, Kiser L; Oakerson R; Ostrom E, Ostrom V, Percy S, Vandivort M, Whitaker G & Wilson R (1999) Consumers as Coproducers of Public services: some economical and institutional considerations. In McGinnis, M (ed) Policentricity and Local Public Economies. The University of Michigan Press (pg 381-391)

Parker S, Heapy J (2006) The Journey to the Interface. How public service design can connect users to reform. (Demos, London)

Punie, Y., Misuraca, G., & Osimo, D. (2009). Public Services 2.0. The impact of Social Computing on Public Services. JRC Scientific and Technical Reports. Sevile, Spain: European Commission – JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.

Peters, G, (1994). “Alternative Models of Governance: the Changing State of Public Service”, Berlin: IPSA Congress paper, RC27.

Pestoff, V. (2008). A Democratic Architecture for the Welfare State. Taylor & Francis.


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