HAPPYMOOR Logbook: Cities of the future are being built quickly by experimenting

The fast-paced experiments and agile development have sparked the Finnish cities. I raise my hat to all those cities daring to courageously develop and experiment to create future cities. There are many good examples of experiments carried out in cities, for example experimentations at City of Espoo’s Iso Palvelutori Service Centre and hackathons at Helsinki City Construction Services, Stara.

Having been employed by cities, working with them as a partner, supplier and customer, I dare to say having a strong understanding of how they work, familiar with this change trend and also the change that is needed. Cities have the prerequisites to show an example and create the preconditions for experimentation, as an enabler, developer, platform, participant and one that encourages others to participate.

Playing trendy words in ones strategy or at banquet speeches does not yet make them a reality in the municipal worker’s everyday life. If you are working for the city and you catch yourself saying phrases like “where this has been done before” or “before we start experimenting, we want to see how this works in practice,” you’re not considering experimenting. Experimenting is something that has not been done before.

Create the preconditions for your organisation to make quick experiments. Coach your organisation’s employees to develop activities in everyday life. Create a model where even bigger projects have the opportunity to utilise the experiments and also to find unexpected solutions and results.

Leave room for potential new quick openings in your yearly budget that can come from outside and if they do, grab on to them. In this day, forecasting far or sometimes close into the future is impossible, so you can not know about all the challenges and needs quickly needing solving and opportunities giving your city an edge when making annual budgeting.

Select also partners that are new and have no references. All wisdom does not grow in the offices of established practitioners.

Hold on to suggestions that have not been done before, even if it is possible that the experiment fails. Failure is an opportunity to learn something new. In the best case, you will find something new on the way, something better you could not even search for.

And when you experiment, communicate about it throughout the experiment. By participating others in your experiment also by communicating about it – sharing your activities, experiences, and learnings feed the opportunities for others to succeed too. Openly and proudly, regardless of the results of your experiment, as a City you can afford to.

Future cities are built and challenges faced boldly by experimenting.

Jannika Joutsenniemi
Captain, Business & Experience Designer

HAPPYMOOR Crew is a community of entrepreneurs that co-create user-oriented service formats, makes assignments and own productions, and markets, sells and produces them in a new way together. We have a passion for moving people, both emotionally as well as returning customers. HAPPYMOOR combines cities, businesses and communities to share experiences, resources, expertise and experiences to create better customer journeys, more personalised experiences and happier customers together.