Digital Content Communities (DCC)

Our research focuses on social computing, i.e., information systems that enable and support social creativity, participatory media and distributed problem solving. However, to develop successful new technologies, and bear responsibility of design decisions, we as developers should understand and anticipate the dynamics of technology-society interaction. This requires multi disciplinary end-to-end research from technological platforms to various viewpoints to their impact on the use environment.

The goal of our research is to enable and encourage people to belong to communities of content creators, to develop service design methodology and business model development for social media, to study how people interact with each other using digital content, and to understand what new business opportunities and social structures emerge around community-generated content and technology. One of our strong focus areas is the rapidly expanding social forms of gaming and how to apply the findings from online games to other non-gaming domains. This includes virtual economies and virtual consumerism, and applying economics and business studies in virtual worlds.

Another viewpoint is legal. In relation to future technologies, it is not enough to be able to apply only traditional jurisprudencial methods, but we must also collect and analyze empirical data. Therefore, in addition to conventional legal studies that focus on the analysis of statutes, court cases, etc, we also seek to understand practices and business reasons, as well as availing of user studies to find real human, business, and societal needs. Likewise, futures research methods, e.g. user scenarios, may give us important information on forthcoming issues. 

DIgital Content Communities is a joint research group of both HIIT and EIT ICT Labs Helsinki node.


Group leader

Senior researchers

Post-doctoral researchers


Sample Publications

Sarvas, Risto, Frohlich, David M.
From Snapshots to Social Media - The Changing Picture of Domestic Photography
Series: Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Springer-Verlag 2011
Kai Kuikkaniemi, Giulio Jacucci, Marko Turpeinen, Eve Hoggan, Jörg Müller
From Space to Stage: How Interactive Screens Will Change Urban Life
Journal: IEEE Computer - COMPUTER , vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 40-47, 2011

Vili Lehdonvirta, Terhi-Anna Wilska, Mikael Johnson
Virtual Consumerism
Journal: Information, Communication & Society , vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 1059-1079, 2009

Hamari, J., & Lehdonvirta, V. (2010). 
Game design as marketing: How game mechanics create demand for virtual goods. 
Journal: International Journal of Business Science & Applied Management, 5(1), 14-29.

Olli Pitkänen, Perttu Virtanen, Jukka Kemppinen
Legal research topics in user-centric services 
Journal: Ibm Systems Journal - IBMSJ , vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 143-152, 2008
Anu Kankainen, Kirsikka Vaajakallio, Vesa Kantola, Tuuli Mattelmäki
Storytelling Group - a co-design method for service design. 
Journal: Behaviour & IT 31(3): 221-230 (2012)

Research projects

  • OtaSizzle (Director Prof Martti Mäntylä, Project Manager Dr Olli Pitkänen)

OtaSizzle is a research project that has been developing a mobile living lab. OtaSizzle platform provides a flexible programming environment and infrastructure for creating mobile services and for testing them in real-life settings. The project is carried out in collaboration with UC Berkeley, University of Nairobi, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication (BUPT). OtaSizzle is a five-year projected funded by TKK's Mide Programme. It started in January 2008. 

  • SPIRE  (Director Dr Olli Pitkänen, Project Manager Dr Kalle Toiskallio)
  • Social Publicity & Privacy (Dr Risto Sarvas, Dr Olli Pitkänen, Dr. Asko Lehmuskallio)

Possi is a Tekes funded project, parallel to OtaSizzle. Social Publicity & Privacy is funded by The Emil Aaltonen Foundation. They study publicity and privacy aspects of social media and networked services.

  • PatLim - Inner and Outer Limits of Patent Protection (Director Dr Olli Pitkänen)

PatLim is funded by the Academy of Finland and accomplished in parallel with Hanken School of Economics (Prof Marcus Norrgård). The project is focusing especially on software patents.

  • ARMS - Acquisition, Retention & Monetisation Strategies of Virtual Social Spaces (Director Dr Olli Pitkänen, Project Manager Kai Huotari)

ARMS is a Tekes project focusing on gamefication and business models of digital services.

InPractice is a Tekes funded project collaborated with School of Arts, Design and Architecture focusing on values and practices in consumer services design.

The project focuses on user and designer practices, co-design arrangements, user innovation communities and pathways of user contributions to innovative products.

Past projects

  • Kasi - Future Information Security Trends (Director Dr Olli Pitkänen)

Kasi was funded by Tekes and companies. Its final report was published by the Ministry of Traffic and Communications.

  • DCM – Digital Content Marketing (Director Dr. Olli Pitkänen)

DCM was a Tekes funded project, accomplished together with University of Jyväskylä. The project studied digital marketing, focusing especially on music in online network stores.

  • AVEA

Advanced Virtual Economy Applications (AVEA) was a research project focusing on new approaches to so-called “virtual property”, artificially scarce digital objects that have rapidly become a viable business model for software products and online services, and especially gained prominence in e.g. massively multiplayer online games. We combine theoretical understanding of virtual economies with new application areas to produce novel software concepts aimed at the global market: mobile virtual economies, casual gaming, social networks, sustainable consumer behavior, and analytical software.

  • Extreme design
  • FUGA - Fun of Gaming

    Digital (computer and video) game playing is the fastest-growing form of entertainment media, and enormous resources are invested in the creation of new digital games. In addition to entertainment, digital games are more and more used for therapeutic, educational, and work-related purposes. Established methods to measure gaming experience with high temporal resolution are lacking, however. The main objective of the FUGA project is to create novel methods and improve existing measures in order to examine how the different aspects of gaming experience (e.g., different emotions and cognitions) can be assessed comprehensively with high temporal resolution. The operational goals of FUGA include the establishment of the construct validity, reliability, and predictive validity of the game experience measures that are based on the different measurement techniques (e.g., psychophysiological recordings, brain imaging). A further goal is to develop a prototype of an emotionally adaptive game. The innovative measurement approach provided by FUGA can be applied when designing new digital games for different purposes.  Please visit the web site

  • GAS - Games as Service

The research project is studying how digital games are turning to services and the impact of this development to different stakeholders. The project will produce a description and an analysis of an important transition process in the field of digital game business and culture. It will contribute to the overall strategic understanding of digital game business. The project will focus in analyzing the impact of service model in the following areas: development of game technology, business and revenue models, game design patterns and narration, game play and the role of gamer. The leading Finnish game research institutions, game companies and associations participate in the project.

  • P2P-Fusion

    The P2P-FUSION project develops a new software system, Fusion, that supports audiovisual creative activities and makes it easy for anyone to create, reuse and share audio and video productions over the internet legally, without costly servers and complicated system management.Fusion binds together a peer-to-peer network, a distributed semantic database, social enrichment features, audiovisual production and editing software, support for embedded licenses and a social media application toolkit into an integrated easy-to-use solution.The system will be developed in collaboration with user communities in a codesign process which aims to ensure that Fusion corresponds to real needs and can continue to evolve throughout the project to support the most interesting novel media practices that emerge within the communities.


    Community media and Service-Oriented Architecture (COMSOA) project studies community media, i.e., systems that enable and support social creativity, participatory media, and distributed problem solving. We argue that service-oriented computing (SOC), dynamic social network analysis (SNA) and probabilistic community modelling coupled with systematic design methods, such as user-centric product concept design (UCPCD), are necessary building blocks of novel community-centric methodologies to design the architecture of future community services. This requires multi-disciplinary end-to-end research from technological platforms to various viewpoints on their implications in actual use in real world users and communities. COMSOA research consists of (1) in-depth case studies of selected community media services, (2) development of new methods and tools for dynamic community analysis and modeling, (3) demonstration of the benefits of service-oriented computing by building extensions to service platforms being developed at HIIT, most notably to Digital Content Distribution Management System DiMaS, and (4) development of novel community-centric methodology for product and service concept design.

  • MoMUPE

    Mobile phones are advanced communication devices and they can be an integral part when creating new context-aware applications. Although context-awareness has been a hot research topic for a long time, no widely used applications yet exist. This project aims to create context-aware multi-user applications that can be run on any mobile phone. The applications are developed with the Multi-User Publishing Environment (MUPE), which is an open source application platform developed in Nokia Research Center (NRC). The project is an exploration of the open innovation model of doing research. Ideas and technologies move freely between partners, and in case new businesses arise, these will be allowed to grow. All partners have the possibility to create companies around new ideas.

  • Pamphlet

    Pamhplet studies digital media communities and designs hybrid media product concepts for those communities. One of the objectives of the designed concepts is that the community members themselves can customize or otherwise affect the product. The project gains more understanding on the role of paper-based products in digital media communities. The project started in April 2006 and ends in October 2007. It is a co-operation project with KCL, Dynamoid, Futurice, TFIF, Myllykosken Pallo, TKK/Media Technology, and the National Consumer Research Center.

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  • Immortalidad

The Immortalidad project studies future social use of self-created media. Grounding the work on literature and empirical data on domestic photography and memorabilia creation and sharing, we will design future concepts that blur the boundaries between personally, socially, and professionally created media. Also, the concepts take into account the perceptions and characteristics people assign to digital and paper as format for media. Immortalidad is a 1.5 year project done in co-operation with KCL and Futurice. The project started in August 2005 and ends in February 2007.

  • Mobile Content Communities (MC2)

    The MC2 project, which started in June 2003, studies the social meaning and impact of new communication technology for communities that are interested in mobile gaming. The expected results of the MC2 project include evaluated and tested scenarios of mobile community gaming, template-based design tools that allow people to create their own games and game-related content, new open source tools to empower the community activity, and company-specific case studies to help the industry partners to benefit from community-created content.

  • Rich Semantic Media for Personal and Professional Users (RISE)

    The main objective of the RISE project is to study and develop tools and process models to support private and professional content creators as well as publishers in producing and utilising rich semantic content through the whole content lifecycle. The project also helps the professional actors to position themselves and their products in the semantic content markets of the future.

  • Mobile Media Metadata (MMM-1) at UC Berkeley.


Last updated on 6 Mar 2013 by Olli Pitkänen - Page created on 13 Jan 2007 by Webmaster