Finnish Changemakers – Mission trumps identity in an emerging field

Today we launch the findings of the Finnish Changemaker Mapping, a health check of the ecosystem of Changemakers and Social entrepreneurs in Finland. Carried out in partnership with Sitra Lab*, this is the latest in a series of Changemaker maps that have been conducted by Ashoka across Europe.
Health check
Source: Celia Sanchez Valladares

The first mapping was done in Austria 2014, and since then close to ten European countries have engaged in this process, to better understand the state of the local ecosystem of social innovation. Thousands of Changemakers have participated in the mappings and they have served as an aid for ecosystem players, including social entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors, network supporters, media and others to have a better overview and understanding of the field.  

We hope that the results of the mapping in Finland will especially help to understand the needs, challenges and trends among Finnish Changemakers , make it easier to develop policies and investment instruments for the field, and strengthen the surrounding ecosystem for all actors involved in creating societal change.  

We believe this mapping is called for, as:

    There is limited insight into self-identified social entrepreneurs and Changemakers compared to the data and analysis available on institutionalized forms of social entrepreneurship in Finland.

For this map we approached over 260 Finnish Changemakers across three categories through what is known as the “snowball methodology”. We conducted in-depth interviews with 50 out of these and engaged 86 through an extensive online survey. The analysis, insights and recommendations in our report and online maps, are based on the rich data we collected. Below, we want to share a few highlights from our findings and we welcome everyone interested in knowing more to dive into the online maps and the full report containing our analysis of the findings!

Jasmina Amzil

We see five clear trends emerging in the field of changemaking in Finland:  

  •     Few Changemakers in Finland self-identify as one. It seems that the societal mission trumps any labels that define the actor behind it.  
  •     Awareness about the potential of Changemakers and Social Entrepreneurs is low. This frustrates many Changemakers and most would welcome more interest in the field and better awareness, saying this would enhance the potential to create social impact.
  •     Networks matter and could help accelerate change. Most Changemakers and Social Entrepreneurs would welcome more cross-sectoral collaboration and stronger connections also to people within the field. There is a strong perception that this would unlock potential to create social impact.  
  •     New financing models are needed to support Changemakers. Hardly surprising, but funding is a major preoccupation for most Changemakers active in Finland. There is a strong call for new financing solutions to support those that combine entrepreneurial methods with societal missions.  
  •     Systems changing social innovations require a supportive atmosphere, which is yet to fully develop in Finland. Developing a genuinely supportive ecosystem that accepts risk-taking and big-vision experiments, together with all the points above, would be taking things in the right direction.  

If you would like to engage in a discussion about these trends and the deeper insights of our mapping, join us for two discussions, in April and May, where we will take a closer look at how we can fund systems changing ideas and what unites Changemakers across the Nordics. Invitations will be shared via social media and of course to all those already part of our community. Follow our conversation via Twitter through the hashtags: #FinnishChangemakers #Changemakers #SystemsChange

*About Sitra Lab: Sitra Lab is the future laboratory within Sitra, which trains Changemakers, helps organisations and communities take advantage of new approaches and advocate for change.

*About the Nordic Changemakers Map: The Nordic Changemaker Map is a collaborative project with the objective to identify key stakeholders, networks, connectivity and needed support to strengthen the Nordic ecosystem for social entrepreneurship and Changemaking. You can read more about it here.