Smart City Update: Espoo is enhancing digital services through experiments and co-creation

The Digital Agenda program of Espoo (years 2015-2021) is co-developed together with several partners. Through small and large experiments within the program, Espoo has advanced different digital solutions, the introduction of new technology and new ways of working together. 

The key aim of the program was to increase the efficiency and enhance Espoo’s digital services by identifying feasible development ideas and implementing these through controlled experiments. One of the leading ideas has been to find synergies and scalability. The experiments have sought to identify solutions and practices that could serve several city services and activities. 

Engaging the residents of Espoo 
In total, the Digital Espoo program has engaged more than 6 500 Espoo residents and customers, as well as over 70 companies, communities, and partners. Out of over 150 experiment proposals, 20 experiments have been carried out, shaping practices, and accumulating new knowledge. The experiments have been conducted in different areas of Espoo: offices, staff premises, libraries, schools, kindergartens, museums, swimming pools, shopping centers, and service centers. Just a few examples of experiments include digitalized cultural services, a home street portal, a municipal integration platform, a translation and interpretation application in employment services and customer services, and experimentation of VR content in early childhood daycare services and in education. 

Impact and learnings 
The program has had great impact by developing Espoo city services and activities, working methods and readiness for change, and it has increased learning and developing competences. It has taught the importance of involving residents and customers right from the idea and design stage of the experiment, streamlined the development and experimentation process, facilitated the sharing of knowledge and expertise in the Espoo organization, and catalysed collaboration also with external actors and stakeholders. According to feedback a great number of Espoo residents, companies, especially startups and export-oriented companies, have benefited from the Digital Agenda.