The winner of the mayor's innovation competition, the School as a Service pilot experiment, introduced a new operational model in which the Haukilahti Upper Secondary School operates at the Aalto University campus. Shared spaces provide a simple way to encourage cooperation, interaction and collaborative learning between students from different educational levels. The operational model was jointly developed by various school community actors together with other shareholders.
The model provides young individuals with a new kind of learning environment aimed at helping them prepare for life in tomorrow's world. Participating upper secondary school students are given the opportunity to complete university studies, while university students are able to gain valuable experience by acting as their teachers and tutors. In addition, the pilot experiment alone is estimated to have brought the city's premises-related costs down significantly.
The competition's second prize went to the reorganising of the city's child welfare services' on call and initial assessment functions, which was implemented at the Espoo Centre's child welfare services unit. Thanks to the implementation of this new operational model, once a child welfare report is received, any corresponding customers are now interviewed without delay. Work time is also spent more effectively and, overall, the child welfare process is clearly functioning better than before.
Two teams now work alternate weeks, and steps have been taken to ensure that all reports are processed within a week of their filing and parents/guardians and their children are always interviewed within a week following the filing of the corresponding initial report. If a decision is made to begin a full service needs assessment, this assessment is now always conducted by the same employee who has worked with the family previously. This model can easily be implemented at other social work units of various sizes.
In addition to the above, the following innovations were deemed worthy of an honourable mention in the innovations category:
- Implementation of work-based learning environment reveals hidden jobs, provides work and creates cost savings
- Espoo family care services' Keinu model
- Leasing through municipality provides additional apartments for young.
Home care services' Ropsu robot takes top prize in Innovations with Potential category
The Ropsu robot is a software solution designed to help home care service units schedule and arrange their work tasks. As part of their work, home care units must employ multiple computerised systems to search, compare, combine and update data.
Up to now, those responsible for these tasks have been forced to do everything manually. The Ropsu robot provides much needed assistance by implementing these tasks, i.e. the automatic recruitment of temporary workers. It automatically combines data gathered from four different sources and identifies unassigned work shifts. Based on the latter data, it places orders to recruit workers for such unassigned shifts and also provides customer routes for each work shift. Ropsu has been in test use since October.
According to the panel's assessment, this innovation takes full advantage of the possibilities offered by software robotics and puts technology to use in a novel way. Home care services' customers will also ultimately benefit from this solution, as it will enable reliable services; in other words, it will ensure that promises and agreements are kept.
Second place in the Innovations with Potential category went to a project titled the Market-driven energy efficiency development process. It is currently being tested as part of a regional development project currently underway at Finnoo. The project involves the collecting of data at different phases of a building project and its publication together with the builder and building specific details. The collected data is used for assessing the energy-efficiency of various solutions.
Construction stakeholders, such as project developers, solution providers and designers can obtain market advantages through the publication of such data and its publication can also be used as a tool to increase the energy-awareness of residents. The ultimate aim of this project is to assist in the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices.
In the Innovations with Potential category, honourable mentions were awarded to projects titled the Mobile cultural centre and Planning economics as a service concept.
All applications were also entered into the Finnish Quality Association's annual Quality Innovation Award competition
This was the fifth consecutive year in which the mayor's innovation competition has been held. A total of 26 applications were received during the application period. This year, all the finalists were also invited to a meeting where they could pitch their project to members of the competition's panel.
All presentations proved excellent. According to mayor Jukka Mäkelä, all applications were, once again, of very high quality.
The School as a Service innovation will collect a first prize award of EUR 3,000, and the new and updated child welfare process, which came second, will be given EUR 500. The winner of the Innovations with Potential category will get EUR 2,000, while the category's second best will receive EUR 500.
The competition was held in cooperation with the Finnish Quality Association and all the applications received by the City of Espoo were also automatically entered into the Association's annual Quality Innovation Award competition. The national winners of the Quality Innovation Award will be announced on 1 December 2016.