The winners of the Innovation Competition were selected

27.10.2022 12.07Updated: 14.11.2022 14.00

This year, the first place in the Innovations series of the Mayor of Espoo’s Innovation Competition was shared between two innovations. The winners in the Innovations series were ”Keran alueen kehittämissitoumus” and ”Opinnollistava työkokeilu työvoimapula-aloille”. Each winning team received a prize of 5,000 euros. The winner of the Potential Innovations series was ”Kipu, osa elämääni -ryhmä”, which received a prize of 3,000 euros. The winners of the Innovation Competition were selected

Applications featured cooperation and a holistic approach

This year’s Mayor of Espoo’s Innovation Competition was the 11th time the competition was held. In addition to the City’s own staff, the competition was also open to companies. There was only one application from a company this year, but several applications included companies as partners.

The finalist applications featured network cooperation, multi-professionality and a holistic approach. The applications addressed themes such as the sustainable future of Espoo, the well-being of children and young people, solutions to labour shortages, and integration.

A total of 27 applications were received, 14 in the Potential Innovations series and 13 in the Innovations series. The quality of this year’s applications was very high and the evaluation process was not easy.

“The network cooperation and multi-professional approach highlighted in the applications set an important direction in addressing the challenges of the future. In the face of complex challenges, we need the power of community. It is great to see it highlighted in this competition as well,” says Mayor Jukka Mäkelä.

The Kera district development commitment guides operators towards sustainable solutions

One of the winners of the Innovations series is ”Keran alueen kehittämissitoumus” (Kera district development commitment), developed by the City’s Strategy Unit and Building Site Services. The development has involved a wide range of partners of the Smart and Clean Kera project: AINS Group, Espoon asunnot, Fortum, LocalTapiola, Neste, Nokia, Ramirent, SOK and Sitra.

The Kera district development commitment is a completely new kind of urban development tool that guides the operators in the area under construction to implement sustainable solutions in a long-term and collaborative way. No similar development commitment attached to a land use agreement exists elsewhere in Finland. The objectives of the commitment have been defined in broad cooperation with the operators of the Kera district.

This unique sustainability transformation tool and declaration of intent, the culmination of the collaboration, has been signed jointly by the City of Espoo and the landowners in the area. At the same time, the operators are committed to working closely together to achieve a carbon-neutral district in a number of areas, such as construction, energy solutions and mobility services. The development commitment does not define the means, but rather sets out a shared ambition, with flexible and varied means of implementation.

Work try-outs with accreditation are a holistic solution for sectors with a labour shortage

The other winner in the Innovations series is ”Opinnollistava työkokeilu työvoimapula-aloille” (Work try-outs with accreditation for sectors with a labour shortage), developed jointly by the City’s Business and Employment Unit and Omnia. It supports employment and the availability of labour in sectors with a labour shortage. Many unemployed jobseekers, especially immigrants, would like to find employment in sectors such as the care sector, but their lack of professional qualifications makes this impossible.

There is a need for new, flexible ways to gain work experience and training to support employment. At the same time, persistent labour shortages in different sectors pose challenges for the organisation of services and day-to-day work in the workplace.

This innovation is a new way of combining existing opportunities: work try-outs, workplace learning, studies and pay subsidy. Normally, work try-outs do not include accreditation of the work experience as part of a degree, and apprenticeships tied to pay subsidies are rarely used. The work trial includes practising tasks at the workplace, drawing up a certificate of competence and preparing for the demonstrations to be carried out during the apprenticeship.

A work try-out with accreditation is a lasting solution for an unemployed jobseeker’s transition to the labour market. At the same time, the jobseeker gains a professional qualification that they can use to find employment in the field of their choice. The employer can commit the trainee to the job already during the work try-out, and the trainee’s professional qualification starts early. Both jobseekers and employers benefit from the model.

Peer support and multi-professional support for long-term pain management

The winner in the Potential Innovations series was the “Kipu, osa elämääni” (Pain, part of my life) group, developed by Outpatient Rehabilitation and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The aim of the group is to increase knowledge and understanding of the factors associated with chronic pain, support personal coping skills and find individual solutions for non-pharmacological pain management.

These groups have been implemented as part of the Samaria Health Centre’s project for people with high service needs. The groups have met seven times, once a week. In the treatment and rehabilitation of chronic pain, a multi-professional approach has been found to be the most effective method of pain management. In addition to a multi-professional approach, the pain group includes the practice of non-pharmacological pain management methods and peer support, which is also an important part of pain management. Peer support provides emotional and social support and has an empowering effect.

Pain increases uncoordinated and inefficient use of services. In the past, there were no systematic multi-professional structures for pain management. For example, five out of eight patients in one of the pain groups cut their visits to the health centre by almost half in the six-month period after the group, compared to the time before the group. 

Honourable mentions for three innovations

In the Innovations series, honourable mentions of 500 euros were awarded to the following:

  • Anti-bullying tool and anti-bullying activities, developed by a lecturer and other staff of Espoonlahden koulu, and Bahr Consulting. The electronic tool with QR codes lowers the threshold for reporting incidents of bullying discreetly and improves the flow of information.
  • Our Espoo 20X0 – Let’s talk about the future of our city. A new series of events combining many forms of participation that invited the people of Espoo to discuss the future of the urban environment in spring 2022. Developed by the City’s City Planning Department, the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, Omnia and Espoo Adult Education Centre.
  • “Yhtä matkaa muistipolulla – Muistisairaan palvelupolun kehittämisen käsikirja” (Hand in hand on the path of memory – A handbook for developing a service pathway for people with a memory disorder), which can be used to support a safe and functional life for people with a memory disorder, develop the service pathway and care practices, and ensure that professionals have the necessary skills related to memory issues. Developed by the City’s Elderly Services. The development project came second in the Lean Association of Finland’s Lean Teko 2021 competition.

Espoo innovations have a chance to succeed in the national competition

The Mayor’s Innovation Competition has been organised in partnership with Excellence Finland since 2012. The competition, aimed at the City’s employees, work communities, networks and companies, seeks innovations that improve services and the efficiency of activities.

The applications are also entered into the Quality Innovation Award competition of Excellence Finland, in which competitors from Espoo have performed well many times, both nationally and internationally. This year, two of Espoo’s applications made it to the final of the national competition: “Keran alueen kehittämissitoumus” and “Yhtä matkaa muistipolulla - Muistisairaan palvelupolun kehittämisen käsikirja”. The results will be announced on 10 November 2022.


  • Innovation work
  • Sustainability