Helsinki ICT programme 2015-2017: Users engaged in the digital service development

Artikkelikuva: Helsinki ICT programme 2015-2017: Users engaged in the digital service development

The City of Helsinki ICT programme aims to make the most of information technology to aid citizens and city development. The ICT programme focuses on several themes, which Forum Virium Helsinki has helped promote and will continue promoting in the future.

Open city development, open innovation, open data and open source code

The ICT programme states, for example, as follows:

  • Developers will be offered open innovation platforms, new open data interfaces and developer community meet-ups (e.g. Smart Kalasatama, HRI, 6Aika Open Data spearhead project, Helsinki Loves Developers activities)
  • Information about city services and decision making will be made more accessible to everyone online. The transparency of city operations will be enhanced by improving the availability of open data and further developing for example Open Ahjo, the open data interface of the city’s decision making system (e.g. Code Fellows, Helsinki Region Infoshare).
  • Companies and organisations are encouraged to utilise the available data and develop new services together with the city and citizens. The city will involve new entrepreneurs and start-ups in innovating new digital services.  
  • The city will make it easier for citizens to directly influence decisions, give feedback and contact officials. New ways of digital interaction will be tested along with existing digital channels.
  • City services will be made more user friendly and users will be invited to participate in developing digital services.
  • All digital services of the city will be combined into a single entity, which will be optimised to work on all devices. Services offered to corporate customers will be collected in the city’s eServices folder. The city is digitalising its services with a focus on self service and automation.
  • New programming code commissioned by the city will be released under open source license unless there is strong justification not to do so.

Developing the city’s ICT know-how

The ICT programme also aims to develop the city’s ICT know-how. ICT procurement skills will be improved in order to make tendering more effective and the city less dependent on system suppliers. The city will centralise its ICT management and ICT support services.

Regarding Forum Virium Helsinki, the ICT programme states for example the following:

”Forum Virium Helsinki drives a culture of experimentation in developing digital city services in Helsinki, lowering the threshold for anyone to innovate, design and test service ideas and concepts openly in a real urban environment together with city residents. The city’s Smart Kalasatama project is bringing different actors together and leading the way in new urban development.”

The implementation of the ICT program will be started with a city-wide coaching program, which the City Executive Office will carry out together with Oiva Academy, the purchasing centre of the city and Forum Virium Helsinki.

For more information in Finnish, please see:

City of Helsinki ICT programme 2015-2017 (pdf)

More specific extracts about Forum Virium Helsinki in the programme:

“Forum Virium Helsinki drives the adoption of an open and participatory culture of experimentation, raises funds and implements projects within its own portfolio together with companies, organisations and citizens.”

“The most significant open interfaces were those of the service map, the feedback system and the Ahjo decision making system. The developer community has used them as a basis for new digital services, such as the Päätökset (“Decisions”) online service of political decisions and the Ahjo Explorer mobile service. In keeping with its goals, Forum Virium Helsinki has driven the city’s ecosystem to develop new digital services. The tools used in this process have included the Apps4Finland competitions, the Code4Europe fellowship programme and the developer community’s Helsinki Loves Developers programme with its events and online services.”

“The residents of an open city are involved in decision making as part of the community, with free universal access to decision making processes. Planning is made more transparent and citizens are encouraged to use electronic channels to search for data, participate and interact. The city will invest in opening up and utilising the data it produces. ICT plays a key role in helping achieve these goals. Helsinki is encouraging different actors to make use of digitalisation as well as test and develop new service innovations together with citizens. Companies are offered new opportunities to develop city services for Helsinki and other urban communities (such as the 6Aika Six City Strategy and the Smart Kalasatama project).

Extracts about the goals of the programme period in developing the urban community:

”The developer community utilising open data will become stronger and more active. Forum Virium Helsinki drives the city’s ecosystem to develop and experiment with new digital services.”

”The city’s own developers, Code Fellows, are active participants in Forum Virium Helsinki’s developer community meet-ups and help municipal offices to open up data interfaces to third parties.”

”In addition to their traditional core tasks, municipal offices also participate in experiments that explore possibilities to further develop operations. The aim is to discover new ways of working that could later become established and supported by ICT systems. Forum Virium Helsinki supports the offices in these experiments. When applicable, municipal offices and public utilities hand over their established support services to be managed and further developed by municipal support service organisations.”


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