Blog 16.5.2024

What does life event based digitalisation mean?

Finland is a pioneer in humane digitalisation. Now begins a new era of life event based digitalisation, where seamless, targeted, and automated services support people at life’s turning points and businesses at different stages of their life cycles. Ideally, the services of authorities and businesses merge together seamlessly.

Let’s break down life event based digitalisation into its components!

Firstly, what is a life event?

A life event is a significant turning point in a person’s life where various services are needed simultaneously, often requiring interaction with authorities. Examples include handling the affairs of a deceased relative, moving to Finland, or conscription into military service. The digitalisation of the first of these events is already underway after conceptual work, while the other two are in the planning stages.

Regarding businesses, business events could include key milestones in a company’s lifecycle, such as its establishment or a generational transfer in a family business.

What is life event based development?

Development based on life events emphasises a complete shift in the design, development, and provision of services aimed at individuals or businesses. The idea is that services are automatically and comprehensively delivered to individuals at life’s turning points, rather than individuals struggling to make sense of what they are supposed to do amidst life’s upheavals. While individuals recognise their own situations, they may not know what information they need to proceed.

So far, service development has been primarily driven by the need to address individual issues from the perspective of the organisation, authority, or business, rather than focusing on how to smoothly manage the overall process related to a specific life event from the individual’s or business’s perspective.

Take, for example, the loss of a close family member—an event that brings sorrow and feelings of helplessness, emotions we can all understand. Therefore, it’s no wonder that the first service chosen for digitalisation under the event-driven approach is the ease of managing the affairs of a deceased relative.

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency states: “When a loved one passes away, relatives face a complex, lengthy, and burdensome process. The initial stages are particularly challenging when things are unclear. Information about the death is recorded slowly in the population information system and then provided as information services to clients. Electronic services are only available to a limited extent. The model is cumbersome and costly for authorities, banks, insurance companies, and other service providers. The goal is to make citizens’ lives smoother in difficult life situations. The primary objective is to ease the uncertainty, especially in the early stages, and allow time for mourning.

What is life event based digitalisation?

The ambitious goal of the program led by the Ministry of Finance, included in the current government program, is to digitalise the 40 most significant and impactful life event based service packages by 2030.

The key to event-driven digitalisation lies in seamless service paths through digitalisation and automation. The underlying idea is to make comprehensive service offerings that facilitate different life situations or stages of a company’s lifecycle possible.

The Ministry of Finance sums it up as follows: “The goal of event-driven digitalisation is to produce public services that take into account the diverse needs and situations of individuals and businesses more comprehensively. By digitalising service packages and leveraging automation, we aim to streamline service provision related to different life situations and develop seamless service paths.

What does success require?

For life event based digitalisation to succeed, traditional approaches to visioning, development, and implementation must be completely rethought and rebuilt.

Challenges are manifold, and addressing them requires collaboration and clarity in how development efforts are led and responsibility is distributed. Legislative changes are needed to support development. For instance, there is still not full readiness for secure data sharing among different entities.

Data also presents semantic challenges. While data exists, there is no common understanding of its storage and use. Identification and authorisation of individuals and businesses are also partially lacking and not accessible to all.

Success requires not only an understanding of the services and information individuals and businesses need at various stages but also the design of services to be secure, transparent, understandable, and accessible. A life event can be unexpected or planned, and it can evoke negative or positive emotions, which affect cognitive abilities. Ideally, life event based services are empathetic and empowering.

Currently, a co-development model is being constructed to plan and implement service packages for individual life or business events. This lays the foundation for a large-scale Finnish effort spanning the entire decade, where dozens of service packages will be digitalised, requiring the involvement of both the public sector and businesses.

Viljakaisa Aaltonen

Head of Business, Design Services

Viljakaisa has over 20 years of experience in the IT sector as a leader, researcher and consultant. In her work, Viljakaisa advances the user centricity, accessibility and ethicality of services in the digital society.

Iris Alanen

Head of Strategic Accounts, Digital Society

Iris is an experienced sales and business development professional with a passion for building a humane digital society with data-driven businesses and public sector organisations.

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