Child health clinics, day care centres and children’s hobby activities are present in the day-to-day lives of many Finnish families. Digital services have an increasing role in the interaction between the city and its residents, as well as service providers.
As a result, the City of Helsinki decided to find out what kinds of digital services families with children want and how services could be developed. Gofore was selected as the partner in the venture, thanks to its service design expertise and experience in the public sector. The development project was conducted within the framework of the joint 6Aika project of the six largest cities in Finland, which focuses on open and smart services.
Residents, public bodies and companies get involved
One of the project’s goals was to engage as wide and diverse a group as possible in the service development work. “We wanted to engage the parents of small children, companies as well as professionals in social welfare, health care and early education,” Heli Rantanen, City of Helsinki’s Project Manager for the 6Aika – Open Participation and Customership project, explains.
The City of Helsinki needed to determine the types of complete products available from companies, but traditional product presentations are not always to best way to demonstrate a company’s expertise. In addition to this, the size and broad population base of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area was problematic for many companies. These aspects were included in the list of issues to solve through workshops.
City of Helsinki’s Project Manager for the 6Aika – Open Participation and Customership project
Excellent feedback on the workshops
The development efforts involved a range of workshops, some of which were intended for parents while others were aimed at representatives of the city and businesses. “We utilised a wide variety of service design methods in the workshops, such as concept idea creation, engaging discussion, group work and illustrating matters by means of drawing and dramatisation,” Gofore’s Head of Business, Design, Soile Roth describes.
The aim was to put together a service description on the wishes that parents have with regard to digital services. This goal was met with great success. “The workshops were arranged in a highly professional manner and we received excellent feedback on them. Personally, I liked the dramatised portion, and all the other facilitation methods worked wonderfully to drive the theme forward,” Heli Rantanen says.
She was particularly pleased with the willingness of business representatives to get involved in the development efforts. “The workshops presented a great opportunity for networking, and many companies chose to seize it. In addition to this, everyone had the opportunity to talk about their own products and services, which we also expected,” Rantanen says.
The interest group work shop aimed at developing digital services for families with children highlighted many service ideas related to making day-to-day life easier for the families. The participants expressed hopes that the City of Helsinki will keep engaging families with children in the development of digital services aimed at them, and that the cooperation sparked in the workshops will continue in one form or another.