Forum Virium Helsinki

At Design Public, this time around, we are aiming to define a Civic Innovation Lab for urban India. In our attempt to do so, we are looking for examples from around the world, of which Forum Virium, serves as an epitome.

Forum Virium Helsinki, a subsidiary of the city of Helsinki develops new digital services in cooperation with private and public sector organizations as well as Helsinki residents. Much of their operations happens through development projects, that create interfaces between services and consumers. Forum Virium works in active cooperation with companies like Nokia, Telia Sonera, IBM, Seimens, Finnvera to name a few. They especially encourage healthy interaction between these companies to be able to work well in areas of, innovation communities, wellbeing, media and smart cities.

Forum Virium adopts an approach where end users are a part of their projects not only as potential consumers but also as developers of new services and content producers. They understand user experiences of these services, through feedback and various other ways to continuously improve a product or service.

Of particular interest to us at CKS, is Forum Virium’s commitment to Open Data, where they have data by the public and private sectors available on a common cloud and not private IT systems. This joint initiative by four cities in the Helsinki metropolitan area, was operated by City Helsinki Urban Facts and Forum Virium Helsinki between 2010-2013. Since 2014, the Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI), project has been integrated into the City of Helsinki’s daily operations and functions. One can already find more than 1.000 open datasets, ranging from statistics and estimates, geospatial data, financial data, public transportation data and many more on HRI.

In addition to advancing the Open Data movement, the City of Helsinki has also been committed to increasing the transparency of the city’s decision-making data. Since 2013, “Open Ahjo” has made the City of Helsinki’s decision-making system’s public documents and all of their attachments are available from one source in a machine-readable format. The Ahjo system comprises all agendas and minutes of Helsinki’s City Council, City Board and other boards, and about 5,000 Helsinki City officers and persons of trust produce its content. Through the Open Ahjo interface, the decision-making data is accessible 24/7. A prize sum of Euro 100,000 of the European Commission’s Innovation has been awarded to this project to improve the compatibility of the city’s decision-making data with financial and statistical data.

What has and what will Forum Viriums attempts accomplish over time, and what can we learn from them? A quick word from Jarmo Eskelinen, CEO of Forum Virium Helsinki, who, unfortunately, will not be able to join us for Design Public on the 14th of March, 2014.



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