Helsinki Family centres, the Finnish Tax Administration and Nordea join the hackathon course for the digitalisation of services

Nearly 100 students will conceptualise and implement digitalisation projects.
Kuvassa Kauppakorkeakoulun Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen ja vanhempi yliopiston lehtori Johanna Bragge.

For the fourth time already, Aalto University will hold a multidisciplinary course with Accenture and selected public sector organisations from October to December 2018. The Digitalism Challenge capstone course kicked off on 30 October at Dipoli in Otaniemi with an event where the various organisations' challenges were introduced with the help of presentations and service design exercises.

This time, course participants will be working on the challenges presented by the Helsinki Family centres, the focus being on families’ service needs assessments and service packages. As for the Finnish Tax Administration and Nordea, their challenges are related to holistic personal finances and living as well as to platform economy.

18 multidisciplinary student teams, 6 challenges, 45 days

Both the Helsinki Family centres and the cooperation of Nordea and the Finnish Tax Administration present three challenges for the students each. After hearing the presentations of these six challenges, student teams had the opportunity to choose which one they were most interested in solving. Based on the students’ wishes and the goal of having multidisciplinary teams, Aalto academic advisors had formed a total of 18 teams. Nine teams will be focusing on the Family centres’ challenges, and the other nine on the challenges presented by Nordea and the Finnish Tax Administration.

The Helsinki Family centres challenge students to consider, among other things, how families could independently identify what kind of support and assistance they need. The Family centres are also hoping for solutions that will help direct families to appropriate services in the best way possible. The Family centres have also found that, in social and health care services, it would be beneficial to strengthen the role of the father/partner alongside the role of the mother. The aim is to involve fathers more in family services, which will also support their role in their children's development and their families’ everyday life. The hope is that students will provide a solution for this objective, as well.

One of the wishes of the Finnish Tax Administration and Nordea is for the students to produce a prototype for illustrating how to identify and anticipate life events that affect income and personal finances and how to provide proactive and personalised advice in each individual situation. The Finnish Tax Administration and Nordea also recognise that combining studies and entrepreneurship can be difficult. For this issue, they would like to see a vision on how to combine income from “light entrepreneurship” with other sources of income.

International teams supported by participating organisations and researchers from the School of Business and the School of Science

Nearly 100 Master's Degree students from Aalto's different schools are taking part in the Digitalism Challenge course. Of the participating students from Aalto, the majority are School of Business students with various majors, but there are also participants from the schools of technology and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. This allows the formation of multidisciplinary teams in line with Aalto's ideology.

'Our students can prove that the promotion of digitalisation does not always require projects with hundred thousand or million euro budgets. What is essential is to understand the user's needs and develop quickly solutions that will be functional on the basis of these’, explains Johanna Bragge, Senior University Lecturer at the School of Business.

Since 2016, the School of Business has developed the hackathon course concept with experts from Accenture and its service design unit Fjord. In addition to Dr. Bragge, the other School of Business staff involved in running the course include Professor of Practice Katariina Kemppainen, Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen and doctoral candidate Sanna Tiilikainen. The School of Sience staff includeresearchers Talayeh Aledavood andMatti Nelimarkka and doctoral candidates Katrine Mahlamäki andSiddharth Rao. The project involves 4–5 experts from each participating organisation.

Hackathon event in mid-November, best team will be selected in December

The actual hackathon event will be organised 13–14 November. The student teams will be given the freedom to develop concepts and solutions for the organisations’ challenges in any manner they wish over a period of two days. During this period, teams are coached by representatives of participating organisations as well as experts from Aalto University, Accenture and Fjord. The winning team or teams will be selected in the final held on 28 November, where the teams will present their solutions to the jury. In addition to the 20-hour long hackathon event, the course includes lectures, group work assignments, coaching, start-up cooperation and excursions.

News edited on 15 Nov.: The winning team or teams will be selected already on 28 November, not on 13 December as informed earlier. The teams will present their solutions to the jury, which will make the decision and announce the winning team or teams at the end of the day.

Twitter: #pschallenge18 #aalto


Aalto University:
Johanna Bragge
Senior University Lecturer
Department of Information and Service Management
+358 40 530 1032
[email protected]

Tuulia Timonen
Health & Public Services
+358 40 715 2703
[email protected] 

Photo (above): Aalto University Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen and Senior University Lecturer Johanna Bragge (in the picture) as well as Health and Public Service Management Consulting Lead Vesa Silfver from Accenture gave the opening remarks for the course and welcomed the students and organisation representatives.

Photo (below): Student teams began working on the challenges put forth by public sector organisations at Dipoli on 30 October. 

Photos: Miika Turunen / Cast 

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