This autumn 110 students from Aalto and 15 from the School of National Defence taking part in the Hackathon course (#PSHACK100, Public Service Hackathon) worked on solutions to digital challenges posed by three public sector organisations in 27 interdisciplinary teams. The task of master's students in this Finland 100 project of Aalto University was to develop solutions that ease doing business while increasing the use of on-line and mobile services.
The Defence Forces, the Finnish Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR (Palkeet) and the Apotti & Helsinki-Uusimaa consortium each presented two challenges. In the final, held on 14 December 2017, the best student team for each challenge was allowed to seek a solution. The top six were announced on 8 December at a gala held at the School of Business where each team was given three minutes to pitch solutions to a client.
Accenture hosted the high-quality final in the premises of its design company Fjord. After the pitch presentations by the teams a prestigious panel of judges, which was chaired by Vice Dean and Professor Timo Saarinen, who is responsible for teaching at the School of Business, as well as Jari Renko, Technology Director of the Apotti project, Pirjo Pöyhiä, Managing Director of the Palkeet Services Centre, Timo Viinikainen, head of the Shared Services Centre for the Finnish Defence Forces, and Hanna-Mari Parkkinen, Business Design Director at Accenture chose as the winning concept the RAPA application because of its client-oriented approach and its significant potential.
'Both the solution of our winning team and other teams that reached our very competitive final showed with their solutions how magnificently new technology, customer orientation, and other activity models can be combined. We are once again truly proud of the concepts created by the students', says Jari Renko, Technology Director at Apotti.
Reporting tool that activates nursing home clients and their next of kin, frees up employees' time to focus on work which enhances the dignity of the client
'The greatest challenge in service housing is the legal requirement of recording, which requires that employees document all procedures in work with clients into a database', says Annukka Svanda, a member of the winning team. 'However, the information in the database is used relatively rarely. The RAPA application on reporting for the good of the client aims at converting mandatory documentation and reporting to a versatile tool that activates the clients and their next of kin. This increases the client's well-being and frees up employees to work more directly with clients.'
The application, which focuses on services for the disabled, offers images and visual elements to help clarify and speed up communication. RAPA supports the disabled in digital learning and increases the versatility of contacts with families. Use of the mobile app can also be applied to communication between different locations, such as home and the workplace.
In addition to Svanda, who studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, the winning team included Vy Dinh, Po-Lin Lu, Sofia Pitkänen and Matias Salokannel from the School of Business. They study in the English-language master's programmes Collaborative and Industrial Design, Creative Sustainability, Accounting, and Information and Service Management.
'The Hackathon course offered us students a good opportunity to establish contacts with players in the public sector and the possibility to demonstrate in practice what innovations a university can offer its client organisations. During the course students were also able to conveniently acquaint themselves with various working methods, giving them a good impression of the real challenges facing public services', Annukka Svanda says.
Public sector digi-hackathon courses have been successful
'Faster development requires constant renewal. Aalto has well-established traditions in interdisciplinary programmes. Our ambitious goal is to offer a unique and practical experience in development work on a course that earns only six credits', says the course's developer and initiator, Professor of Practice Katariina Kemppainen of the Department of Information and Service Management of the School of Business. 'Students get an unforgettable experience on how intensive and procedure-based work leads to great results in a short time.'
Aalto University recently awarded the Hackathon course as a Teaching Excellence achievement. Kemppainen, and Senior University Lecturer Johanna Bragge, the teachers responsible for the course, believe that these types of integrative courses based on extensive cooperation will become more common at Aalto in the coming years. 'The cooperation with the professionals of Accenture has been great in this course, which was arranged together for a third time. We are grateful for the courage of our client organisations to leap into this process and we are following renewal in the public sector with interest.' Also taking part in the Aalto coaching team were Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen, Assistant Professor Eeva Vilkkumaa and Postdoctoral Researcher Jani Merikivi.
”Hackathon course is an excellent example of open innovation in public sector. The finalists were able create impactful concepts, which hopefully will be developed further in collaboration with the participating organizations. At Accenture we believe it is important to collaborate with universities when renewing public services, therefore I want to thank Aalto University for organizing the third Hackathon course together with Accenture”, says Public sector Management Consulting lead Vesa Silfver.
Professor of Practice, supply chain and operation management
Department of Information and Service Management
+358 50 486 9858
Senior University Lecturer, information systems science
Department of Information and Service Management
+358 40 530 1032
Project website: http://ps-hackathon.fi/
Prior news on the course (2 November 2017)
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