One of our partners in Finland has been exploring how customer driven public service development take place in Finland. This is an area that is growing across Europe as the way that public services are managed and developed changes. Below is a short synopsis from Tuula’s work where she raises questions about the importance of political involvement. The thesis was published in 2015 and there is a link to the full thesis at the end of the blog post.
Customer-driven development — even if underpinned by a national or a regional strategy —cannot alone drive changes unless the political decision-making process supports the implementation of service renewal.
“Citizens are increasingly more often included in the discovery phase and the generation of ideas” notes Tuula Jäppinen, an innovation adviser at the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.
She goes on to say that “Citizen-driven development is a common practice in Finnish municipalities, and both the young and the old are eager to participate. Service design as a method makes their conscious and latent needs visible to developers, and new ideas flourish”
Jäppinen found that Citizens are eager to participate even in the actual co-production of services, volunteering to help their neighbours and relatives by offering transport, clearing snow, and assisting in shopping. The current public service system does not, however, support such initiative. The development of new service concepts, including the last two phases reality check and implementation, needs to be more closely linked to the decision-making process, .
These findings are from a local service development project, implemented in the towns of Oulu and Kajaani, and in the Kainuu region over the period 2013–2014. This project was carried out as a service design process and was managed by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.
Tuula Jäppinen, Innovation Adviser, D.Sc. (Admin.), Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities
The full findings can be found here: https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/87102/Jappinen_Tuula_SID_Thesis.pdf?sequence=1