Description of the National dialogue process and dialogue round

The model for National Dialogues and the organisation of the dialogues involve many actors in society.

An infographic in Finnish describing the process of organising a round of national dialogues that is written out on this page.

Decision and thematic choice

The organisation of each round of National Dialogues begins with a decision to organise the dialogue and select topics.

Topic selection of dialogues

  • The operative core group will organise an open dialogue to identify proposals for the topic of the upcoming National Dialogue round. The invitation will be widely shared in the networks of National Dialogue actors.
  • The main question of the topic selection dialogue is: “What topics should we next have an extensive dialogue that affects all citizens in Finland?”
  • After the event, the operative core group will choose the topic on the basis of the following criteria:
    • more versatile understanding of the subject is needed in Finland
    • the topic concerns a large number of citizens at the national level
    • the topic does not exclude any particular group of people
    • a broader understanding of the topic will also benefit public administration
  • The operational core group will open the topic in such a way that it affects as many groups as possible and chooses the dialogue days.

Due to an exceptional social situation, change or crisis, the core group may decide to launch a series of dialogues without a topic selection dialogue.

Invitation materials for dialogue organisers

The operative core group will lead the preparation of general invitation materials for the dialogues. These include updating the event page on this website, email templates and social media templates. The operative core group will also prepare specific invitations on the topic.

Inviting, encouraging and engaging dialogue organisers

Some dialogue organisers hold dialogues every time, regardless of the subject. The operative core group sends an invitation to these permanent dialogue organisers to organise a dialogue every round. Read more about the role of permanent dialogue organisers here.

In addition, the operative core group determines the key target groups for the topic and strives to involve as many different actors and groups as possible as dialogue organisers. The operational core group contacts these stakeholders by various means, such as phone and e-mail. In addition, the invitation will be widely shared through various channels so that new dialogue organisers can be involved.

The opportunity to organise a National Dialogue is open to all interested organisations from public sector organisations and foundations to private individuals.

When inviting dialogue organisers, the different operating logic of different sectors should be taken into account. It is likely that some organisations will be more agile to adopt new operating methods and can use resources for this when the activities meet their needs. In municipalities and welfare counties, on the other hand, administrative authorisation may be required so that resources can be used for a new operating model. For companies, the activities may be based on financial justifications or benefits. These factors should be taken into account when inviting dialogue organisers.

For example, strengthening inclusion and linking National Dialogues to involvement activities can be a key motivation factor in municipalities.

When inviting dialogue organisers, personal contact is important.

Coordination of registration and provision of additional information

The operative core group will receive applications and publish the list of registered as organisers of dialogues on this website. This website contains a list of the dialogue organisers, including a more detailed topic for dialogue, time, place and where/to whom the participants can sign up.

If necessary, the operative core group will support the dialogue organisers define a more detailed topic and answer the questions about the dialogues and, if necessary, ask for missing information. The operative core group also organises orientation sessions for the organisers. If there are several rounds/days of dialogue on the theme, each organiser may register for all or only one day of dialogue.

Dialogue materials

The operative core group will draw up the materials for dialogue organisers. These include instructions for organising the dialogue, an invitation template for inviting the participants, a dialogue script, communications guidelines and material. The materials will be sent directly to those who have registered as dialogue organisers, but they will also be published on this website. The materials are always translated into Swedish and English. Depending on the subject of the dialogue, other translations may also be offered. Translations into other languages may also be produced in cooperation with dialogue organisers.

Inviting people to dialogues

Each dialogue organiser invites participants to their own dialogue. One dialogue group has 3-12 participants. Dialogue organisers should also be prepared to enable more than one group during the same round of dialogues in case a large number of participants register for the event. The role of the dialogue organiser is to ensure that each dialogue group has a facilitator and a scribe. In addition, the dialogue organiser will reserve a physical space for the dialogue or virtual platform, such as a Teams or Zoom meeting.

It is advisable to start inviting participants as soon as the decision has been made to organise the dialogue. The best practice of sending an invitation is usually one month or a little before the dialogue.

All the channels available should be used for sending invitations. While dialogue is part of National Dialogues, it does not mean that the participants would automatically find the dialogue. The more personal the invitation is, the more likely the participants are to get involved. More information on the invitation is available in the dialogue organiser’s materials package.

Dialogue organisers can also challenge other organisers to participate.

Orientation of dialogue organisers

The operative core group prepares the orientation material for the dialogue organisers and plans the orientation session. Two to three orientation sessions will be held each dialogue round. They are intended for all interested dialogue organisers who are committed to organising a dialogue.

The orientation session lasts two to three hours and material provided includes an invitation template, a script for facilitating the dialogue and a description of the topic. Orientation consists of short presentations and joint dialogues. The aim is to make the dialogue organisers feel safe and confident about the organisation of the dialogue and answer any questions.

National Dialogue days

On the actual days of the dialogue, the organisers arrange the dialogue at a time that suits them. It is also possible to hold a dialogue on a day around the actual day of dialogue. However, to make sure the summary of the arranged dialogue bacomes part of the national summary, it is important that the dialogue day is not more than a few days away from the actual dialogue day.

After the dialogue, the dialogue organiser will send a summary/notes of the dialogue to the core group via a virtual link. At this stage, the organiser of the dialogue may also, if he or she so wishes, communicate on the insights gained through the dialogue and any further measures. Summaries are always anonymised, which means that they do not disclose the names of the participants or anything from which the participant could be identified.

Compilation of entries

The operative core group receives the notes of the dialogues, ensuring that all dialogue organisers have provided summaries/notes of their dialogues.

Submission of the entries for the joint compilation increases the impact of the dialogues, as they thus affect the content of the national summary of that year and, through this, all those development projects and actors that intend to utilise the summary to support their work.

Compilation of notes into a national summary

The team that compiles the notes operating in connection with the operative core group analyses the notes and writes the first version of the national summary. The composer team sends it to the core group for comments. After the comments, the compiling team finalises the summary.

As a rule, the notes from National Dialogues form interesting research material on the topic being discussed and on the dialogue. It is therefore always good to consider using the entries as research material on a case-by-case basis.

Publication of the summary and communicating about it

The operative core group sees to the publication of the summary on this website. The core group will prepare a press release, which will be distributed using the communication channels of the core group and the permanent dialogue organisers. The press release is also available under news items on this website so that it is easy to share it also on social media. The press release also informs when the next dialogue day will be held and invites more dialogue organisers to take part.

Dialogue organisers will be provided with communication material to support their communications (such as social media templates and images).

The summaries are always translated into Swedish and English. Depending on the subject of the dialogue, translations into other languages may also be produced.

Transmission of the summary to central and local government

The operative core group will ensure that the summary and the communications spearheads included in it reach the relevant parties in central and local government administration. The core group aims to share the summary as widely as possible to different actors and collect feedback on it. It is good to identify whether the summary serves as an input into significant national reforms or legislative development. Feedback is collected on the functioning of National Dialogues in order to assess the impact of the dialogues, for example in the development of legislation and other reforms.

Evaluation of the implementation and impact of the round

The operative core group will assess the implementation and effectiveness of each round of dialogue. The assessment is based on feedback collected from dialogue organisers, participants and other actors including close cooperation between the operative core group and the permanent dialogue organisers. The results of the evaluation will be used for developing the National Dialogue model.

Read more about impact assessment here.

Peer meetings organised by the operative core group for permanent dialogue organisers are a natural place for conducting assessments also in a dialogue-based manner. The operative core group is responsible for communicating the results of the impact assessment through various channels, and the aim is that the dialogue organisers would also share the information through their own channels.

National Dialogue process starts again

The dialogue round of a National Dialogue usually lasts one spring or autumn term. The operative core group will evaluate the implementation of the round of dialogues and launch the next round of dialogues through a topic selection dialogue.

The structure described above will be used for the next round. If the social situation so requires, the next round can also be organised on the same theme.


Communication plays a key role in the planning, implementation and promotion of National Dialogues.

Everyone, especially the core group and the regular dialogue organisers, has the responsibility for communications. Dialogue organisers are encouraged to communicate about the core group and to support it through content and materials. In this way, knowledge of the activities also reaches target groups that are otherwise difficult to reach.

Communications are based on openness so that everyone can get involved in the activities. The aim of communications is to encourage participation.

In order for National Dialogues to become an operating model that unites Finland as a whole and Finns living abroad, it is important to build awareness.

Increasing dialogue competence

As a result of National Dialogues, dialogue organisers and participants will increase the society’s dialogue competence. The materials created for National Dialogues and the orientation provided for dialogue facilitators and scribes have a direct impact on the enhancement of different actors’ dialogue competence. Involving different organisers of dialogues and a range of different topics also affect our understanding of how many organisations can use the dialogue.

The aim is also to increase broader expertise in the coordination and organisation of dialogues. A troika model is being designed for the operative core groupso that every 2-3 years, the responsible leaders in the group change and the change is carried out in such a way that the competence acquired is also transferred to new factors. In practice, this troika model means that new accountable leaders are to be involved in the activities midway through the above process.

The operative core group makes visible and recommends different kinds of dialogue training for dialogue organisers. In the initial phase, the operative core group may also, if necessary, arrange training in different areas, such as the guidance, organisation and recording of dialogue, or the analysis of notes and the compilation of a summary.