In search of a bridge between the Finnish capital's need for new ideas and the need for business owners to market their products, Helsinki has decided to rely on a team of "innovation agents" to find and develop creative solutions to meet the needs of the population in an optimal way.
The world's governments are similar in their quest to provide a high-quality life for their populations. To achieve this, It resorts to innovative and digital solutions such as robotics and artificial intelligence that make social and health services more efficient and improve the lives of individuals. The Finnish capital, Helsinki, is no exception, Its powers are expanding the concept of luxury even more.
But this endeavor often encounters difficulties in communication and understanding, Private companies lack a clear picture of their customers' preferences. Users also feel that the products do not fully meet their needs. At the same time, Government agencies in cities do not have accurate information about the types of companies and their activities, Channels of cooperation that allow the exchange of information on challenges and needs that relate primarily to public health are absent; Such as the growing tendency of the population towards "passive behavior", That is, a lifestyle characterized by lack of physical activity. More worryingly, this trend is very common among young people and high school students. More than 80% of them refrain from exercising on a daily basis. Moreover, This phenomenon has been accompanied by psychological problems shown by school health surveys, The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mental health of adolescents, increasing cases of social exclusion, depression and phobias.
Accordingly, and to address these and other challenges, The Helsinki government has established a team of experts called "innovation agents" to create effective channels of communication between the private and government sectors.
When it comes to innovation, These government employees act as intermediaries connecting city authorities with companies, They look for areas that can be developed to improve the performance of the city's operations and services, They collaborate with experts in these fields to identify companies qualified to perform the task. Once that's done, They help these companies turn their ideas into marketable products, They also share with business owners the directions of the city authorities, They look at the scene from the perspective of the business sector.
Agents work in many government agencies such as social services, health care, education, urban environment, culture and entertainment, They look for new ideas in the business sector. They also cooperate with research centers, government institutions and companies, which in turn can communicate with agents specialized in their field to explore the possibility of testing and developing their solutions. Where the members of these teams keep abreast of everything new in their fields, And they follow the news of the companies active in it.
When finding viable ideas, Developed, improved and integrated for a few months into the city's testing activities, Which are conducted in real experimental environments such as schools, health and traffic facilities, Innovation agents remain in direct contact with them.
To attract more business owners, City authorities launch competitions that correspond to the development and experience axes applied during a given period, Where companies submit their projects, The winning projects then receive financial compensation along with the launch of a collaboration between their owners, government experts and target customers to formulate and commercialize the final form of the innovative solution.
One of the ongoing competitions is a competition that seeks to find new ways to promote physical activity and healthy life for high school students. The idea submission phase has ended, waiting for the next stages aimed at benefiting residents and innovative companies alike. Essentially, The Helsinki authorities adopt a strategy of their own, Always concerned with creating conditions for the population to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, You try to encourage them to engage in any physical activity, regardless of their age. This competition was chosen to target students who lead a more sedentary lifestyle, More than a quarter of them express a desire to increase their activity.
The authorities have also previously launched a competition aimed at activating government teams in the city. And others to promote physical activity beneficial to the elderly, Preparations continue to launch other competitions according to the needs of the population.
This collaboration provides companies with critical data on the effectiveness of their services, It enables it to develop its products and promote its business and solutions that benefit the population. As for the launch of innovation competitions, It hones the expertise of these companies by experimenting with their innovations in real environments, It also allows them to reach social groups that are difficult to reach without the help of local authorities, Such as young people who will reap great benefits from products that understand and meet their needs, protect them from psychological problems, relieve stress and stress associated with schooling, and increase their social skills.
In depth, This type of project establishes mutual awareness and dialogue between business owners and the government sector, It makes improving public life more effective.