Demos Helsinki is a globally operating, independent think tank. We conduct research, offer a range of services, including strategy, capacity-building and training among other things, and host a global alliance of social imagination called Untitled. Since day one, our community has been built on the idea that change can only happen together. That is why we carry out direct engagements and research projects with hundreds of partners around the world. Unlike many think tanks, we are predominantly project-funded and fully independent, without any political affiliations.
We intentionally strive to hold and balance exquisite tensions that pervade today’s societal structures and actors. Our work conceptually and practically reflects our mission that transformative change is needed. We believe this change includes a spectrum of partners, and the many unlikely alliances it manifests, across social sectors and geographies.
Learn more about our work and partners.
Only together can we fight for a fair, sustainable, and joyful next era.
We focus our work on four leverages. We believe that these leverages are critical for pushing forward the change we wish to see in the world:
- Expanding agency in decarbonization. Policy changes and technological innovations are not enough to stop climate change. We need fast and radical decarbonization by states, corporations, citizens, communities, and the people who currently see themselves as powerless bystanders.
- Transformative governance. Politics and public governance in their current form do not inspire enough trust and confidence in citizens. We have to find a new governance mindset that balances both change and stability, managing critical long-term transitions alongside more immediate needs.
- Regenerative infrastructure. Current physical and digital infrastructures fail to fully address collective, individual and planetary needs. Infrastructures can only reach their maximum potential if the people who use them have more agency over those structures.
- Emancipatory economy. Not all forms of economic growth are beneficial to society, and financial capital should not be the sole measure of success. Our economy must be geared towards prioritizing human capabilities, wellbeing, and sustainability.
If we manage to pull these leverages in the desired directions, we have the potential to contribute to paradigmatic, system-level shifts that transform societies towards a more fair, sustainable, and joyful future. Learn more about the Impact Model.
Democracy at Demos Helsinki
Democracy is deeply embedded in our structure. Employees at Demos Helsinki are also members of Demos association, the parent organization that owns all of our operations. This means that employees as Demos association members possess the final power at Demos Helsinki.
Radar is a bi-annual forum where permanent employees come together to decide on the future agenda and to evaluate previous outcomes and impact. Radar is our most important agenda-setting arena.
The Demos Helsinki board is selected by the members of the association’s annual meeting. The board ensures that Demos Helsinki’s work is globally relevant and we use our assets towards maximum societal impact. The board consists of both external members and employee members. Meet the board.
Demos Helsinki consists of three entities – Demos ry, Demos Helsinki oy, Demos Research Institute oy – referred to jointly as Demos Helsinki.
Demos ry is a non-profit, registered association that owns Demos Helsinki oy and Demos Research Institute oy. Employees exercise the highest authority in the Demos ry association.
Demos Helsinki oy specializes in direct engagements with public and private sector actors. Demos Helsinki oy offers a range of services, including capacity-building and training, for governments, social enterprises, NGOs, and foundations.
Demos Research Institute oy specializes in academic research. Demos Research Institute is an independent non-profit organization, committed to the guidelines for responsible conduct of research created by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK.
You can read more about our work, structure, and numbers in our most recent annual report.