Espoo is the Finnish Capital of Innovation – among the top six in the European Capital of Innovation Awards

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2019-09-25 10:55

The City of Espoo is one of the six winning cities in the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) Awards of the European Commission. The title of the European Capital of Innovation 2019 was awarded to Nantes, France. The winner was announced on Wednesday morning in Brussels during the EU Research and Innovation Days.

Doing things together, using the Make with Espoo approach, is Espoo’s strength. The city has strong partners such as Nokia and Aalto University.

Espoo’s placing in the top six is the best achievement ever in this contest by a Finnish city. Previously, the most successful Finnish cities have only made it to the top ten. Espoo’s success has earned the city a prize of EUR 100,000 for the promotion of local innovation activities.

Espoo plans to invest the prize money in the development of services for residents with the help of data. Espoo has already gained promising results by harnessing artificial intelligence and data analytics to reduce the number of children taken into custody.

“We will keep conducting experiments. We also plan to apply data analytics to other major themes, such as the promotion of employment, the integration of immigrants and the prevention of poverty among families with children,” says Mayor Jukka Mäkelä.

Espoo is the first city in the world that aims to apply the City as a Service approach across all of its operations.

According to Mäkelä, Espoo’s success in the iCapital Awards is a continuation of its 2018 victory in the Intelligent Community Awards.

“To crown it all, the success of Finland and Espoo coincided with Finland’s EU Presidency,” says a delighted Mäkelä.

In addition to Espoo and the winner, Nantes, the top six cities included Antwerp (Belgium), Bristol (United Kingdom), Glasgow (United Kingdom) and Rotterdam (Netherlands).

City as a Service efforts bear fruit

Espoo’s asset in the iCapital competition was its long-running development work to become a City as a Service. Espoo has cooperated with local residents, companies and the academic community since 2012, drawing from the expertise and experience of this entire network.

The City as a Service model is an innovative response to the ever-growing need for increasingly diverse services. Espoo’s goal is to form a network with its partners to provide services in a way that benefits from digitalisation and existing resources such as premises, equipment and expertise. Citizen involvement in service design is the key. Furthermore, Espoo is opening up data to enable anyone and everyone to contribute to the development of service technology.

Concrete examples of our City as a Service development efforts include the Service Centre concept (the Iso Omena Service Centre and Business Espoo, a service centre for companies). Another example is the Make with Espoo co-creation model. Espoo conducts experiments to co-create digital services, for example services that support learning through cooperation between children, teachers and companies.

Further information

  • Mayor Jukka Mäkelä, tel. +358 46 877 3953,
  • Services Development Director Päivi Sutinen, tel. +358 46 8772 871,
  • EU Affairs Coordinator Jasmin Repo, tel. +358 43 826 6886,
  • City of Espoo press release, 11/09/2019