Finlands Innovillage - an online collaborative platform for the development and implementation of new government service models and practices - shows that innovation demands an open process that involves users, professionals, managers, experts and policy-makers. “Fundamentally, e-government innovation needs to be open and allow participation”, says Pasi Pohjola, coordinator of Finland’s Development Programme for Social Welfare and Healthcare.
The Innovillage catalogue lists over 700 projects and describes 1,300 service models and their implementations. The platform started in 2011, and now has more than 4,700 registered users, attracting some 22,000 visitors per month. The most important part of Innovillage, says Pohjola, is that it allows collaborative development and implementation of new service models and practices.
Pohjola, who works for the National Institute for Health and Welfare, argues that publicly and openly building e-government processes energises all those interested in the process. “It makes Innovillage a tool for networked open innovation in the development of public sector social and healthcare services.”
Cooperation and development
He presented Innovillage at the OECD conference ‘Innovating the Public Sector: from Ideas to Impact’, which took place in Paris on 12 and 13 November.
The collaborative platform is one of the outcomes of the social welfare and health care program. The use of Innovillage was made a requirement for all the project that were funded over the past two years. “We push the service developers to be open and share results including service models and practices”, says Pohjola, “anyone can use and learn from these projects.”
The open process results in better projects, he says. Effective new services are found quickly, and the platform also speeds up dissemination.
Open and participatory projects need to be emphasised by management, Pohjola says. It is hard to change the way services are developed. It requires enthusiastic lead developers, motivated key users, and convinced management. “Without a little pressure to change, the process would take much longer.”