Boom in Nordic crowdsourcing takes in film, lawmaking

Thu Apr 5, 2012 9:19am EDT
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By Tarmo Virki

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Encouraged by the unexpected success of their homemade film spoofing Star Trek, Finnish filmmakers Samuli Torssonen and Timo Vuorensola decided to create a bigger-scale, sci-fi comedy about Nazis living in space.

With little money or professional staff, the two asked fans for help and received 1 million euros ($1.31 million). That, in turn, convinced German and Australian investors to offer several million more.

The new film Iron Sky, a tongue-in-cheek look at Nazis returning to Earth in 2018 after living on the dark side of the moon since 1945, is just one instance of a growing phenomenon in Finland and other Nordic countries - the use of crowdsourcing to make films, create laws or start up technology companies.

Nordic countries are leading the rest of the world in crowdsourcing, entrepreneurs say, with dozens of businesses following the lead of Finnish-born open-source software such as MySQL and Linux to take advantage of public enthusiasm and the region's high education standards.

Some say it's because Nordic peoples have been forced to work together to survive harsh winters when temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius that they have flocked to crowdsourcing, when tasks are outsourced to a network of people or crowd.

Anecdotal evidence certainly suggests they punch above their weight compared with other Western countries.

"In Finland and other Nordic countries, we have had to work together against the forces of nature. I think this has had a deep impact," said Joonas Pekkanen, founder of a new non-profit group called Open Ministry which invites the public to take part in trying to influence Finnish legislation.

"There is a spirit of working together and sharing the benefits of that work."   Continued...