Innovation by Experimenting in Public Services

  • Johanna LeväsluotoEmail author
  • Kirsi Hyytinen
  • Marja Toivonen
Part of the Translational Systems Sciences book series (TSS, volume 19)


Experimental development has been suggested to answer the problems of slowness and ineffectiveness in current innovation activities. It is also applied in the public sector, where it raises specific issues due to traditional bureaucracy and strong professionalism. In our study, carried out via interviews, we examined experimental development and its challenges in a middle-sized Finnish city. The experiment focused on a new integrated model of wellbeing that aimed to promote multi-professional collaboration and citizen empowerment in child and family services. A common service plan and a digital platform were core elements in the model. However, the purpose of the experiment remained too vague to the practitioners, and the experiment was stopped before the deadline. Central challenges were the one-sided focus on top-down management, growing workload and problems of the digital platform. Despite the ‘failure’, the experiment offered valuable learnings that can be applied in the future. Clarifying the concept of experimenting and improving the collaboration between local activities and governmental policies are among the most important lessons learned.


Experimental development Public sector innovation Wellbeing services Social services Digitalization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Leväsluoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kirsi Hyytinen
    • 1
  • Marja Toivonen
    • 2
  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandEspooFinland
  2. 2.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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