A time to celebrate: We proudly present the Place to Experiment

8.2.2017 15.24
News item

Our hard and unrelenting work in the autumn has at last born its first fruit. The beta version of the Place to Experiment website was published in early December. Our coders are still busy tweaking the details, we continue to work together on Facebook, and the concept is getting clearer with every new solution.

The autumn flashed by while we were busy working and having meetings, both face-to-face and on Facebook. That’s the way we need to work nowadays, having countless meetings and discussions. Our team of five can safely say from experience: without all those meetings and discussions we wouldn’t be here. In fact, we would be nowhere.

But now the Place to Experiment is growing into an open innovation platform where anyone can introduce a challenge or respond with ideas and develop them into experiments together with others. As the winter breaks it will be possible to apply for crowdfunding. In early spring we will be launching the website for real. The next step is to start the first accelerators together with institutional financiers.

How did we get to this point? Here is our story, step by step, for all those who want to follow the same pathways.

August: We find a new way for procurement

In late August we met with Eriika Autio, the brains behind the Tekes hackathon. The Friday before Eriika and her colleague Pekka Sivonen had said the magic words: “You can combine public procurement with hackathon.” When your concept is still taking shape it's worthwhile to see how things are done in architecture where planning competitions are common.

September: A lot to learn about hackathons

In September we worked hard on the practical side of the event. We learned lessons from the Tekes hackathon and sought support from public procurement experts in Hansel and the National Audit Office (VTV). Our plans were approved by political leaders and senior public servants. Not to forget that the concept for the new service was crystallised in a number of workshops. The planning competition was published.

October: Procurement Unit becomes an event organiser

In early October we picked out hackathon teams and right away put together a discussion session to show our teams the ins and outs of the coming event. We had all but three weeks to the hackathon. While the teams were crystallising their ideas, we were organising the hackathon. We found a jury for both the planning competition and the hackathon as well as sparring partners for the teams. We booked the facilities and put up a timetable for sharing our vision with each team.

At the last moment we got an international booster: Kalle Nieminen, our Goodwill Ambassador for piloting experiments, had on his journeys met with Peter Back who is a crowdfunding expert at Nesta. We were more than happy to improve our programme with last-minute changes. On the United Nations Day everything worked like clockwork, our team performed unbelievable feats, and the experts put their best foot forward.

“Amazing experience!” was a shared feeling. “It was tight. We squeezed three days’ work into one, but it was all worth it,” testified one managing director. “The best working day ever,” declared one of the coders who did well in the hackathon. “I don’t even mind that we didn’t win the ten grand. How can that be? You valued our time and focused on the essential.” “Mind blowing!”

November: Coding picks up steam

In three weeks in November it became clear what our coders can do in our crazily tight schedule. The work really took wing in the Finnish crowdfunding platform Mesenaatti: as the concept became clearer it was challenged by means of service design on paper together with target groups.

December: Place to Experiment sees the light of day

We opened the beta version of the Place to Experiment on 15 December 2016, as promised. Adjusting cloud computing to customer-supplier relationships will need a few extra dance moves. But it's amazing how willing people are to help you. Thank you Valtori and Ville!

Next we will have Christmas and hopefully get a moment for ourselves. Although I’ll wager that many of us will spend the evenings on pondering how to make the Place to Experiment even better! Thank you!

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