Archive by Author | janaarhio


I had a great time at the Aalto Service Factory (ASF) that held its final event to celebrate the six years of its existence. To those who don’t know ASF, it is an open collaboration platform for service research and education atthe Aalto University.

First we learnt about the ASF network and its activities from Virpi Tuunainen and Minna-Kaarina Forssén, who held the opening presentations. It was interesting for me to find out what everything ASF does while concentrating on three target groups – researchers and teachers, students and practitioners. It organizes research presentation events called ASF Meets & Talks and events for sharing research that go by the name of Networking Evening Seminars. It has the 300 member strong ASF club, it publishes the quarterly ASF Newsletter with topics on service domain news and the monthly ASF blog with practice-oriented articles. Furthermore, ASF hosts the Researchers´ Breakfasts and another breakfast event called Early Birds that aim to build research consortiums.



Minna-Kaarina Forssén, ASF Business Collaboration Manager

ASF is also very agile in students activities. There is the yearly seminar on service industry job opportunities Young Student – Go services! and Aalto Introduction to Services organise every year. Mrs. Forssén pointed out that ASF is now finishing but the use of its good practices will continue at the Finnish Service Alliance. Check it out at





The keynote speaker was KONE’s Senior Vice President for Development, Digitalisation Strategy, and Service Business, the amazing Kati Hagros who was previously KONE´s CIO. She talked about Digitalization in industrial services context. She emphasized the role of services in KONE’s portfolio. Already in the 1970´s, half of the company´s revenue came from services. Mrs. Hagros mentioned that KONE combines business, technology and services to create a superior customer experience.

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Service Design Network Finland held the second Business Meet-Up event which was hosted by Nordea, one of the largest banks in Northern Europe with 10 million customers (of which 4.6 million are also e-customers), 1,100 branch offices and 29,000 employees, in its permises on Keskuskatu, Helsinki.

Representives from different companies, agencies, state administration offices took part in the event in order to share and gain knowledge on internal service design activities. The first speaker, Pontus Slotte, Head of Management Support at Nordea Private Banking, introducedd the service design that helped Nordea improve their customer experience. He shared with us the new higher figures: on a scale to 10, the customers´ average experience currently stands at 9,19.



Pontus Slotte´s slide on Nordea´s Private Banking awards

The next presentation was held by CEO Timo Kaisla of the real estate agency SKV. The other key players in the industry call SKV “the Center Party” (keskustapuolue) of real estate because it is active mostly outside Ring road 3 (Kehä 3). SKV controls more than 30 % of the market outside Helsinki in places like Joensuu, Kuopio, Jyväskylä etc. Previously, Mr. Kaisla used to work in a service design agency. When he was asked to join SKV, he insisted on being able to use service design methodology in order to improve the company. And he succeeded with the help of SD tools developed by a small Helsinki-based boutique company . This month (November), SKV has introduced three brand new services to the Finnish market.

One of them is the “Story of your home” (Kodin tarina) – a new way of selling houses with the help of a written description, pictures and video. Mr. Kaisla says: Only after the seller and the buyer close the deal in a bank, the buyer starts asking “Where do you buy milk on Sundays?” or “What is the best school in the area?”SKV´s solution is to utilize that information in the beginning of the house selling process. In Finland, only 10 % of real estate transactions are conducted by the owners themselves. The rest lie in the hands of professional real estate agencies. This is one way how to increase the chances of selling a house. Their motto is: NOTHING SELLS BETTER THAN A GOOD STORY!



CEO Timo Kaisla, SKV


The last presentation was delivered by First Vice President Taina Mäkijärvi about the successes and pitfalls of managing a development project with SD tools. Nordea hired an SD agency to plan a workshop with their customers regarding the tools to be applied. Everyone who took part loved it and said to go ahead. So they designed a Service design training course and engaged a professor from a German university in the process. After having cooperated with an external SD coach who tought them how to approach customers, they now train their own people within Nordea to interview clients and think outside the box.



Our group´s achievement in the independent group work


After that, we were split into three groups and each group concentrated on one subject related to SD. My group was given the following task: How to get everyone work towards customer centricity in the organisation? We came up with a number of ideas and devided them later into 9 themes. Each theme has approximately ten ways how to get everyone to cooperate towards customer centred services. Here you have the results of our group´s brainstorming whirlwind.




Written by Jana Arhio, Laurea




Public and Private Sector into Cooperation for Better Services and Innovations

I attended a seminar organised by CIDe Cluster Finland in Laurea´s Tikkurila campus. CIDe Cluster is a joint project of Laurea University of Applied Sciences and Vantaan Innovaatioinstituutti Oy (Innovation Institute of Vantaa, Inc.). It focuses on the development of products and services promoting good care and rehabilitation. CIDe Cluster brings together health care and well-being companies, public sector organizations and other community players to create business development and innovation know-how. CIDe Cluster offers their partners networking events and welfare business and welfare technology trainings.

Don’t fear the restructuring


Jari Koskinen, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorites

CEO Jari Koskinen of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities opened his speech by saying that the Finnish administrative structure is moving towards the European model – state, autonomous areas (countries) and municipalities – with the new Social welfare and Healthcare reform. His opinion is that when planning those reforms, one should keep in mind the number of inhabitants in Finland. Not only was he comparing Finland to France where he, still as a spokesman of the Päijät-Häme region, wanted to create a partnership with one of the northern regions of France, but while the Finnish one had 200,000 residents, the French equivalent had over four million! Understandable, the French were not enthusiastic about a joint action. He also compared the Finnish regions with one another – Keski-Pohjamaa having 70,000 inhabitants, and Uusimaa getting close to two million! His message was “How do you divide the responsibilities in the upcoming reform if the autonomous regions aren´t homogenous?” He noted that there are  20 cities in Finland that each have a larger population than the entire region of Keski-Pohjamaa.

He had more questions to which he would want answers from the new reform policy makers. The municipalities own real estates and if the responsibilities for health care are transferred from them to the autonomous regions, will the latter purchase those properties from the municipalities? If so, will they pay the market price? How to arrange it so that nobody suffers because of the responsibilities being taken away from the municipalities?

The role of the Universities of Applied Sciences as reformers of welfare and well-being services


Katariina Raij, PhD, Laurea

Director Katariina Raij of Laurea University of Applied Sciences had an innovative approach: as soon as a new innovation appears, new training/studies should be made available swiftly. Otherwise, we won´t utilize the innovative ideas properly. The innovation should be quickly introduced to the markets, there are lots of innovative technologies that were never applied. How do we bring agility into the process of innovation? When thinking about health care in the public sector, it is an industry focused on curing diseases, and the whole system is based on illnesses not health.  The research findings of the JADE project 2014, Active and Healthy Ageing Report 2011, Special Euro Barometer 378 and Digi Barometer 2014 show that technology is very poorely utilized in solving  the problems of the public sector.

In order to be internationaly “visible”, it is important to invest in high-level development and know-how. Finland has a reputation of being slow in putting new health technology innovations into use in the health care sector. Finland is also very careful when approaching new innovations because of the risk of conflicts of interest. That prevents the creation of partnerships between the private and the public sector which are very important especially for the health care system. Insufficient revision of regulations and standards delays the entrance of innovations into the markets by months or even years.

She praised the new National Curriculum that is currently being drafted by the Finnish National Board of Education. She called the new curriculum fantastic, with the mindset the children will acquire and the way in which they will perceive the future. As of 2019, there will be a freedom of choice among public, private and third sector health service providers. How does the client recognize the best quality? How do we help clients make good choices? The question is: Do we need a new college degree/ complementary educational training in service navigation/ guidance?



The Well Life Center of Laurea created a research project called HyvinvointiTV (CaringTV) . The HyvinvointiTV’s studio was built in the Well Life Center with professionals offering individual guidance and advisory services that were co-created with clients. The aim of the interactive HyvinvointiTV was to support the health and well-being of elderly people living independently in their own homes. At that time, the founders of course had no idea how fast the e-services would develop. HyvinvointiTV was a pioneer in robotics. The award-winning service gained a lot of attention all around the world. The clients claimed that the screen felt so real they felt as if they had invited guests to their homes.









Care Innovation and Design (CIDe) was founded in 2010 in collaboration between Laurea and Vantaan Innovaatioinstituutti Oy (Innovation Institute of Vantaa, Inc.). CIDe sees itself as an innovation environment with an emphasis on advancing health  and well-being, supporting self-care and enabling customer-centeredness in all research and development activities. At the moment CIDe is owned by Laurea only. Care Innovation and Design as such doesn´t exist in any other University of Applied Sciences in Finland.


Jana Arhio, Laurea

Open data and its potential – free information for all

What do we mean by open data? It is material which is created by public administration, organisations, companies or private persons and which is freely available and free of charge for the use of others. I attended a morning coffee event held by the Urban Academy, where launching of the open data of the City of Helsinki and its scientific implications were discussed. The Urban Academy´s main partners are the City of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University. The Urban Academy brings together officials, policymakers, students, researchers and residents to share their experiences, knowledge and opinions with one another.

Tanja Lahti, Open data advocate and Project manager at City of Helsinki, Helsinki Region Infoshare

Tanja Lahti, Open data advocate and Project manager at City of Helsinki, Helsinki Region Infoshare

Tanja Lahti, an Open data advocate and Project manager at the City of Helsinki, gave an inspiring speech on how open data takes us towards a more democratic Helsinki. She stressed the advantages of open data: more effective public administration, improved transparency and democracy for residents and last but not least broader trade activity and more innovation for enterprises.

Mrs. Lahti talked also about one of the most important data openings this year – the Ahjo Explorer which is a free App providing residents with data on the political decision making of the City of Helsinki.The App is in a machine-readable form and brings openness and transparency into municipal politics and can be used in many different ways. The App allows the political decision making to be followed wherever and whenever with updates once a day. I found it very interesting when she spoke about an application that uses open data – the Blindsquare, which is the world´s most popular accessible GPS-app for the visually impaired and blind to help them move around the city using their smartphones. The app describes the environment and announces points of interest and street intersections.

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Public Health Booster – Project which brings startup thinking into health care

I took part in a Public Health Booster Workshop held in the Laurea Tikkurila Campus – a project formed together by the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, City of Vantaa and HealthSPA – the Finnish health ecosystem booster, a non-profit association for health startups, with its main aim at placing Finland among the top best in healthcare. HealthSpa creates events, like this workshop, which matchmake healthcare professionals, students and startups and make it possible to improve the customer experience in healthcare and create new opportunities in cooperation.

Hanna Vartia, HealthSpa

Hanna Vartia, HealthSpa

First we heard the opening words of Hanna Vartia from HealthSpa who introduced the main purpose of the workshop. This autumn, Laurea healthcare students have taken part in the Public Health Booster Project by interviewing startups, City of Vantaa healthcare professionals and their clients. With knowledge of the existing problems that needed to be tackled they tried to find solutions to the challenges. After the HealthSpa introduction, Laurea’s V.C. Kyösti Väkeväinen explained that annually 30 startups were formed among Laurea´s 7,000 students, making Laurea a cradle of innovators and innovations. The next speech was held by vice-mayor Jukka Salminen who said that the health care system “is not healthy” and should undergo a comprehensive innovation process with startups taking ideas to the next level and creating the kind of services the citizens would be willing to pay for and to buy straight from them.

Petteri Hirvonen, Klinik

Petteri Hirvonen, Klinik,

Next, Petteri Hirvonen introduced the project Klinik, which enables us to take better care of our health. Together with patients, doctors and other experts, they have developed an easy-to-use health service with which it takes just two to three clicks to get a proper understanding of what´s worrying a patient. Klinik changes the way we look for and find the right health care professionals. Klinic has filled a niche in the health service market because according to the statistics, 80 % of adults want an immediate answer to their health-related questions. Klinik uses simple language on their pages without any latin explanations which makes the text easy to understand for just about anyone. The Klinik service has made a breakthrough with as many as 100,000 visitors to its websites in a single month. Petteri Hirvonen proves how important an electronic evaluation of the need for treatment is because the modern healthcare

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