Europe’s most sustainable city trusts LINK

CASE THE CITY OF ESPOO

Starting point: working with a common vision

LINK has a framework partnership with the city of Espoo for service design and we are actively involved in the development of municipal operations and services. Selected as the most sustainable city in Europe for two years running, Espoo is an ever-evolving centre of international innovation that is aiming for a more functional future with the support of the customer-oriented service design team at LINK.

Kuntakanvas: more effective and inclusive development

To support the design work, LINK worked with the city’s internal stakeholders to develop the Kuntakanvas tool. It not only encourages participation and creates structure to design, it also adds colour to the management work tinged with legal clauses and process diagrams.

What is it all about? Kuntakanvas is a strategic tool for planning, developing and managing municipal operations. Kuntakanvas encourages cooperation and it is easy to use to structure complex entities and present changes in them visually.

Above all, Kuntakanvas takes the development of projects towards genuinely inclusive cooperation. Often, different types of files and operating models are scattered around an organisation. This tool makes it easier to understand the overall picture and the objectives, making design work better to support the city’s strategy.

English as an official language of services makes a more international Espoo

Espoo has the second largest foreign-language population in Finland. It is estimated that by 2030, the native language of one in four people in Espoo will be something other than Finnish, Swedish or Sámi.

LINK is involved in the English as the Official Language of Services reform that aims to improve the accessibility of the city’s services in English and to reinforce the inclusion of the English-speaking population in the common decision-making process.

One of the objectives of the City of Espoo’s strategy is to add English as an official language of services of the city. As a result, Espoo would become the first city in our country to provide official services in three languages. The aim is also to attract more international expertise and to encourage English-speaking residents to participate more in development activities. How about that!

Espoo website on the social and healthcare reform: providing more practical everyday services

Municipal services are of no use if local residents cannot find or access them. A project to improve the customer experience on the website of the City of Espoo’s social and healthcare services is an example of making life easier for residents. LINK built the foundation for the development of a more user-friendly website by involving both staff representatives and end customers. We also commissioned an expert evaluation of the existing website: the usability of the website was assessed in terms of the general availability principles and as a reflection of the typical ways in which research-based customer types use the website.

This groundwork outlines the continuing development work to make the website more user-friendly so that, for example, you will be able to make a dentist’s appointment online, frustration free, and you will find the necessary phone numbers and addresses even if you do not have a degree in engineering. We will continue to work tirelessly to improve the accessibility and usability of municipal services!

Espoo Innovation Garden – introducing the world’s smartest community to visitors

Espoo Innovation Garden is the largest innovation hub in the Nordic countries, built around the Keilaniemi, Otaniemi and Tapiola districts. It is also home to Supercell and Rovio, companies that have taken the world by a storm. Recently, the Innovation Garden made Espoo and the entire Finland proud by winning the Intelligent Community Awards 2018, organised by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). Espoo was the only European city to make into the final seven in a competition with the topical theme of the use of data in anthropocentric service design.

As a design agency, LINK is a natural part of the innovation garden that combines research, development, education and business, but we also work to make it more visible and accessible to outsiders. The Tripster mobile application acts as a contact point in the presentation of the Innovation Garden. In a way, it is a digital tourist guide for those interested in the innovation village. Working with our client and representatives of various stakeholders, and with the focus on innovation, LINK created content for the app, including visiting themes and paths to cater for the key visitor types. Thanks to our groundwork, the application is able to guide the diverse flow of innovation tourists, message-carriers and independent travellers to the deepest hole in Finland and to the heat of the Startup Sauna.

6Aika: Six cities generating multipliable innovations

Espoo is not only developing and innovating to benefit its internal operations; the city is sharing information and best practices across municipal borders. In cooperation with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu, Espoo is working to implement the 6Aika urban development strategy with the goal of meeting the challenges of urbanisation and digitalisation. The main focus areas in the common strategy model for the six major cities are open innovation platforms, open data and interfaces, and open participation and custom.

The strategy will be implemented in the form of local pilot and trial projects and spearhead projects that will bring the cities together. The aim is to better understand the needs of residents, businesses and other stakeholders and to create new expertise, business opportunities and jobs.

At its best, the 6Aika strategy will generate concepts and tools such as the visiting paths and Kuntakanvas tool mentioned before that other cities will be able to replicate successfully in the future. Projects in the 6Aika strategy include our Marine Helsinki project that you can read about next!