Blog 31.5.2022

How to serve 100 different family types?

Digital Society

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Creating wellbeing with real-time public data

It’s not news that all families are different with different needs in daily life. However, it has been a challenge for municipalities and cities to serve families based on individual needs as the information has been scattered around in different systems and the decision makers have not had the right tools to develop services from the families’ point of view.

Six municipalities in Finland (Tampere, Vantaa, Pori, Ylöjärvi, Vaasa, and Laihia) decided to take on this challenge in Advanced Family Analytics project and used Gofore’s digitalization expertise to create a detailed picture of 80,000 families with 132,000 children under the age of 19. The information was gathered from ten different national registers and the analysis combined information from experts, artificial intelligence, and ethical evaluation.

“The number of families is not essential in the construction of services. Because of the diversity of families, municipalities need to understand the diversity of the needed services and support. Family type or family background does not determine what kind of services a family needs. Depending on the municipality, the family may need the support of a social network, help in employment situation, or support for situation of a multi-challenging family,” says Petri Takala, Gofore’s leading consultant.

In the analysis, 100 different family types were defined and cross checked with 11 phenomena that affect a family, like the income level, education, health, and the socio-economic situation.

Although it was an expected finding that families have very different needs, the diversity of families was still a surprise. The mere result of the analysis and information about where or who needs what kind of support is not enough to bring about change, but a new kind of management skills and the ability to organize in a customer-oriented manner are needed to support the situation. In addition to digitalization expertise, the project utilized Gofore’s change management expertise. The range of means includes e.g. increasing interactivity and dialogue, bringing new management methods and practices to the organization, experimentation, service design, and in particular, modeling how and where the value experienced by the customer is generated.

With the help of the situation picture and new operating methods and information, municipalities will be able to operate in a more customer-oriented way and more efficiently. At the strategic level, the service network can be better designed when it is known in which target groups or geographical locations support or special expertise is needed. This will allow capacity to be managed and prioritized more effectively. The situation also enables equal treatment of customers, when both management and those doing practical customer work have the same information about the need for support, regional differences or even surprising target groups, such as the large number of young people living alone that the Advanced Family Analytics project revealed.

Advanced method combined with ethical reflection

Gofore aims to be, not only an expert in digitalization but the pioneer in ethical digitalization. Advanced Family Analytics project was a perfect example of ethical digitalization development where information handled can be very sensitive and the results have real effect on the analysis subjects.

The project is pioneering the way and methods of combining researched knowledge, expert knowledge, and artificial intelligence to obtain concrete results and form a situational picture.

“We have succeeded in modeling registry data with artificial intelligence and teaching the algorithm to work with researched and empirical data from experts. It has also been essential from an ethical point of view that man has led the process all the time. A similar approach to modeling can be used to analyze the well-being of Finns in other population groups,” says Petri Takala.

Ethical evaluation has been a key part of the project. Gofore’s analysts have guided the processing of the information and ensured that the data is handled responsibly, ethically and that privacy is maintained. It has not been possible to identify individual families from the data.

“The ethical review ensured that the results were interpreted correctly, and we were able to respond quickly to emerging ethical considerations. In addition to information security, we paid attention to, for example, our own preconceptions when interpreting the results, and to the fact that we do not inadvertently strengthen social dividing when communicating the results. Together, we have created operating methods for ethical evaluation that can also be utilized by other actors,” says Anna Seppänen, CEO of CoHumans Oy, who supported the project’s ethical process.

Take a look at how we can help you build smarter city services:

Or contact our Data & AI team!

Aino-Maija Vaskelainen
Head of Business, Data & AI
+358 40 577 3261

Pasi Lehtimäki
Leading Consultant, AI
+358 50 545 5193

This article was originally published at the Tampere Smart City Week website on February 10th, 2022.

smart city

Petri Takala

At the time when this text was published, Petri "Pepi" Takala worked at Gofore as a principal consultant in the field of data-supported leadership and management.

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