Open Knowledge Festival was a Spectacular Success

  • Image: Veikko Kähkönen, 2012

    The Finnish Institute in London organised OKFestival in Helsinki 17 – 22 October. This sold-out event gathered more than one thousand participants to the Finnish capital.

    The Finnish Institute in London organised the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki 17 – 22 September. The event was organised in cooperation with Open Knowledge Foundation and Aalto Media Factory. Several other partners from public, private and third sector took part in carrying out the programme. The Festival was sold out already before the opening day and over 1000 experts, designers, businessmen, activists and officials from dozens of countries around the world participated in the event during the week. In addition to the actual participants, the event had several thousand online participants.

    Topic streams such as Open Development, Open Democracy and Open Cities stirred up interest and discussion among the event's participants and media alike. The festival had altogether 13 streams, which contained several separate sessions.

    In addition to the varied topics, the acclaimed speakers of the event received much interest. The main speaker, award-winning academic and data visualisation guru Hans Rosling emphasised in his lecture that dividing world into developed and developing countries on the basis of literacy, family size and life expectancy is out dated, as are the idea of exponential population growth and the notion that if living standards in China rise, a global environmental catastrophe will ensue. The lecture was live-streamed via several websites, and it has been viewed more than 19 000 times already.

    OKFestival was covered by all major media in Finland, including the national TV and the major newspapers. Foreign media as well as online media covered the event as well: Wired Italia, Le Point,, to mention a few. The festival was also a social media success with almost 20 000 tweets hashtagging the festival.

    "The purpose of the festival was to broaden the public debate about open data and open knowledge as wide as possible. The festival was very successful in doing so: in addition to the over thousand participants on site people participated to the discussions through video streams, Twitter and other social media both in Finland and in several other countries," says Raija Koli, director of the Finnish Institute in London.

    A Finnish open knowledge organisation, Open Knowledge Foundation Finland, will be founded as a result of the festival.

    The discussions at the Festival can be seen here.

    Slides for most of the discussions can be seen here.