Innovative Espoo

This is a city that knows how to create proteins from air. A city that maps crop growth from space. A city that turns old clothes into a new cotton-like fiber.

Our mindset

Our culture of innovation is based on radical, cross-disciplinary innovation that can create systemic change. A culture that thrives on society’s closeness and trust. A culture where innovation is driven by purpose and shared values. A culture that takes care of the well-being of people.

Challenges - and how we solve them

CLIMATE CHANGE / Cities are responsible for 75 percent of global CO2 emissions causing global warming and loss in biodiversity. We tackle climate change by enabling new and innovative mobility, construction and energy solutions, by supporting a sustainable lifestyle and by maintaining nature and green areas. The aim is to become carbon neutral by 2030.

DEMOGRAPHY & INEQUALITY / In Espoo, the population is estimated to grow by one third by 2045. It is also becoming more diversified in terms of backgrounds, opportunities and habits. We innovate new service solutions and platforms for dialogue to create inclusive and equal communities together with residents, companies, NGOs and partners. The aim is that no one is left behind.

DIGITALISATION / Technology is becoming part of everything. Espoo utilizes digitalization in service development and promotes inclusion of all citizens in the digital transformation. The city is offered as a test bed for development. Digital skills and the understanding of ethical and security risks are promoted. The aim is that no one is left behind.

ECONOMY / The public economy is under pressure due to increasing inequality, the climate crisis and geopolitical changes. We answer to these challenges by fueling our innovation ecosystem, by investing in the mismatch of skills and jobs, and by innovating cost-efficient services. The aim is to enable sustainable growth.

Initiatives

In Espoo, there is a sense of purpose shared by companies, schools, and its surroundings that forms the basis for all forms of collaboration: It becomes easier to create new ideas, when you share the same values. As a result, Espoo is one of the leading cities in combining technological innovations with ambitious sustainability goals with inclusive development of city services.

Community

We believe in those who believe in changing the world for the better. Be it new companies or established ones, for citizens of all age, Espoo has a proven track record in helping people and companies grow and prosper.

A city cannot create innovations, people do. But a city can help innovation grow by offering support for experimentation, bringing players together across organizational boundaries and ensuring regulation promotes rather than hinders piloting and collaboration. Through the development of the City as a Service concept, we create sustainable ways to produce and renew services together with residents, customers and partners, utilising innovations, information and digitalisation.

Bring together a top university for science, tech, business and arts with one of Europe’s leading research centres, and offer them the City as a service, and what do you get? An unparalleled ecosystem for innovation. The strategic partnerships between the City of Espoo, Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are the backbone for Espoo’s innovation ecosystem.

Why is Espoo such a great environment for businesses? One answer is Business Espoo, a practical example of what our City-as-a-Service (CaaS) model looks like in practice. Whereas before, the business services in Espoo were provided by seven different operators, in 2019 the city of Espoo invited all providers to create a joint business service platform together.

Platforms - what if anyone's idea could become a project?

The Make with Espoo innovation platform is a digital environment aimed at inspiring companies and city organisations to co-create products, services and solutions that facilitate learning and teaching in Espoo's learning environments.

Our Mayor's innovation competition seeks innovations and ideas on how we can improve the services we provide for Espoo residents and develop our practices in keeping with the Espoo Story. The competition is open to all City of Espoo employees and work teams together with their partners as well as Espoo-based companies.

The cross-administrative development programmes are cooperation platforms that allow the city, together with its partners, to develop innovative solutions through experiments and pilot projects in line with the Espoo Story. To ensure effectiveness, external funding will be applied for through national sources and EU programmes.

Methods and tools

We collect and produce large quantities of data which are utilised in the planning, production and decision-making processes. The Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI) makes this regional information quickly and easily accessible to all. The data may be used by citizens, businesses, universities, academies, research facilities or municipal administration.

Working with citizens – we believe in steering change and innovation through a co-created strategy, Espoo is bursting with examples of how citizens are involved in steering, driving, and benefiting from innovation and city development.

As part of the Make with Espoo platform, and as a concrete result from the City-as-a-Service development, Espoo offers an entire product family of co-creation methods and tools. The Make with Espoo toolkit includes 25 tools, such as frameworks, handbooks, application examples, and workbooks, also available in English.

The kind of innovation the world needs

We believe • in radical multidisciplinary collaboration. • we perform our best when we share a purpose. • in building on closeness and trust. • that the change we need starts with our people’s well-being.