In autumn 2016, Aalto University is organising a multidisciplinary course with Accenture and selected public sector organisations. The course was kicked off on 1 November in an event at Design Factory in Otaniemi where the agencies’ challenges were introduced with the help of presentations and service design exercises.
‘The course is built around an intensive Hackathon event, and its purpose is to accelerate the digitalisation of public services in Finland’, explains Karri Saarelainen, Director at Accenture. Organisations are challenging students to develop solutions that will make the services easier to use and produce faster processes, for example.
The course was organised for the first time last spring. This time, there is a total of seven participating organisations: the Apotti project, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, the National Police Board, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Finnish Border Guard, the Ministry of the Interior, and Finnish Customs. Last spring, the participating organisations were HUS (the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa), the Finnish Tax Administration, and the Population Register Centre.
‘The Hackathon supports Apotti's ecosystem-thinking and our wide-ranging operational reform. I can't wait to hear new ideas on what kind of innovative services can be joined with Apotti’, tells Jari Renko, Technology Director at Apotti. Apotti is an extensive change project of the social services and healthcare field. The central objective of the project is to build a regionally cohesive social services and healthcare system.
International student teams with members from Aalto and the National Defence University
The group of more than 100 students is expected to develop creative and customer-oriented solutions that can be adopted quickly. This time, the course includes Aalto University students as well as 18 first-year master’s degree students from the National Defence University.
‘It is an unique opportunity to create solutions for the most central operators in our society, and I am looking forward to trying out these solutions in the future’, described Allu Pyhälammi, a student of Organizational Communication at the School of Business, after the kick-off.
The School of Business has developed the Hackathon concept with specialists from Accenture and the service design unit Fjord.
‘It is great to see how students exploit this concept and create something new. During the course, the students learn valuable lessons on for example service design and process planning, and they will also receive in-depth information on public service organisations. The course is six credits, and it is also one of Aalto University’s Finland 100 projects’, explains Johanna Bragge, Senior University Lecturer at Aalto University.
Aalto personnel participating in the course include Professor of Practice Esko Penttinen, Assistant Professor Eeva Vilkkumaa, University Lecturer Christa Uusi-Rauva, post-doc researcher Jani Merikivi, and researcher Darius Pacauskas, plus many visiting coaches during the Hackathon weekend, such as Professor Jarno Limnéll.
Hackathon event in mid-November, best team awarded in February
A central part of the course is the Hackathon event organised at Urban Mill in Otaniemi 17–19 November. The teams will then have 24 hours to develop digital solutions to the agencies’ challenges. Challenges may for example include reducing idle time for conscripts during military service, and helping the Customs improve their customer service for ordering packages from abroad. Academic experts from Aalto and representatives from the participating organisations will be supporting the students in solving the challenges. After the Hackathon, the teams engage in implementing their ideas in practice with the customer organisation and will present their ideas to the jury in December. The team that has developed the best innovation will be awarded in February 2017.
Project website: https://nordic-events.accenture.com/hackathon/#/
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Senior University Lecturer, Department of Information and Service Economy
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