Data for good – Enactments and political capacities of data in the non-profit sector
Ville’s research explores how data can be used as a force for good. Working in close cooperation with technologists, non-profits, and governments, his research concentrates on how data is used in different ways and how data becomes different things for different people. He is particularly interested in technology-driven interventions such as hackathons, data skills trainings, open data, and data science volunteering, and how the collaboration between data-driven technologists and mission-driven non-profit professionals. His research takes place in London, where he is involved with various organisations within the “Data for Good” and “Tech for Good” networks. Through his research Ville wants to develop new ways of making technology a force for good without falling for controversial quick-fixes or technological determinism.
In theoretical terms, Ville uses Science and Technology Studies to intervene with communications, sociology, and political science. His research concentrates on practical work with data sets, using a bottom-up approach to build the layers of situatedness from mundane work on spreadsheets to the organisational and political dynamics where this happens. His research thus tackles both the theoretical questions of what it means to work with data, as well as the practical questions of how data is used in the non-profit sector.
Alongside his research, Ville has worked extensively with Finnish Government and has authored several reports on developing government practices. In his latest collaboration with Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, Ville acted as a lead author for a report on the working practices of the Parliament of Finland, which has led to extensive parliamentary review of its own work. In his wider collaboration with Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, Ville has analysed over 150 interviews with leading Finnish decision-makers and politicians, and Ville continues to play an active role in driving innovation in the public sector.
Supervisors: Alison Powell, Robin Mansell
Ville has an interdisciplinary background in social sciences and he worked in government consulting prior to starting his PhD. He has completed an MSc in Social Science of the Internet (2018) at University of Oxford, where his thesis explored connections between health data infrastructures and public institutions. Ville holds both a master’s (2014) and a bachelor’s degree (2013) in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Helsinki where he specialized in sociological and discursive approaches to public management. In Helsinki Ville completed the 5-year combined degree in just 4 years and was awarded with a scholarship for research excellence. Through his consulting, Ville has advised key Finnish institutions such as Parliament of Finland, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Social and Welfare Affairs, and numerous regional and local governments.
Ville’s research is supported by a 4-year scholarship from the UK Economic and Social Research Council that expects Ville’s research to have outstanding social impact. Ville is also an Eemil Aaltonen scholar, which is a competitive Finnish private scholarship for social science research.