Experimental Finland aims to promote experimental culture

Promoting piloting and experimenting was one of the key projects of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s Government. Experimental Finland aims to find innovative solutions for the development of society and services. It also seeks to promote individual initiative and entrepreneurship and to strengthen regional and local decision-making and cooperation.

Highlighting the experimental culture as part of the Government Programme has been unique on the world scene. The Finnish model combines measures to facilitate experimenting based on the Government agenda with grassroots innovations.

What are experiments and experimental culture all about?

In the modern world full of complex challenges, traditional solutions born on the designer’s table do not always work. In experimental culture major problems are broken down into smaller pieces, and solutions are developed quickly in a genuine operating environment. Adjustments are made continuously based on the lessons learned through experimenting.

Experimenting is a tool for learning and a way to obtain information on the effects of measures before they are implemented at a broader scale. Experiments are also:

  • New > The results are uncertain, but the most important results are always the lessons learned.
  • Concrete actions > Ideas are tested in a genuine environment.
  • Limited in scope > Experiments are carried out with a specific group in a specific place. They are also carried out during a specific timeframe, after which the results are evaluated.

What does Experimental Finland do?

Experimental Finland produces, compiles and distributes information to inspire cultural change and support people interested in experimenting:

  • The project has produced reports on various topics, including establishing a funding platform for small-scale experiments, evaluating experiments and the ethics of social experiments. Together with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Experimental Finland has also produced a guide for experiment mentors.
  • The Experimental Finland website showcases examples of experiments and provides other materials and reading tips.
  • The Experimental Finland team arranges training sessions, workshops and other events.

The Place to Experiment, developed in cooperation with the experimenting community, is a digital platform that helps people transform their ideas into concrete experiments. It facilitates the co-creation of ideas, flexible financing of experiments and sharing of results and lessons. This way, the best lessons can be replicated and spread to a wider audience.

Experimental Finland has organised a call for proposals for experiments around three themes in line with the Government’s mid-term policy review: circular economy, employment and artificial intelligence. An additional call for proposals was also launched for circular economy pilots later on.  

In connection with the mid-term policy review, the Government assigned a new task to the project, which was to promote the broader use of research-based experiments in the public sector. The goal is to initiate at least ten research-based experiments during the Government term.

In addition to the activities mentioned above, Experimental Finland works to establish and strengthen networks, remove barriers to experimenting and support the Government in implementing its strategic experiments.

Background and current state of the key project in brief