Last spring our Director General asked me to write a summary on our eServices: "It's for Helsinki WDC application". I have to admit, it took a while before I, a civil servant, was able to connect the dots.
But I loved the idea: Designing services! (F)
I was able to find the similar thinking as did Pete Kercher, the ambassador of Design for All Europe in last Sunday's HS Editorial (F)
I mean strategic design, using design to change the direction of the entire economy. What's happened in Finland past two decades is not a miracle. It is successful design.Strategic marketing (F) focuses on the customer and his experience, instead of the product or a service. Designing services means the same: excellent user experience is the result of a service that has been designed (successfully). If the user experience is not pleasant, the whole investment of marketing communications is a waste.
Kercher summarized the concept of "Design for All": It is design that acknowledges that people are different, it promotes social equality and connect people into the community.
Another pro, service designer Satu Miettinen wrote in HS editorial (F) about service design in the public sector:
Service design challenges designers to work with people, hence new methods are needed. -- In the public sector it means change both in service culture and administrative procedures.Taxation of individuals is a Design Service at its best!
We have designed the whole process of gathering data for taxation: money and information flowing from customers to businesses and Tax Administration. Have you ever given it a thought? Me neither, at least not before our Director General got the request to support the WDC applicant.
You take your Tax card to your employer for your taxes to be withheld from your salary and payed on your behalf. The data is also reported for your Tax return. This applies to all other monetary transactions, as well: the bank reports your interests for your housing deductions, while listed companies are liable to report your dividends and taxes withheld from them and so on.
There's a lot of collaboration behind the scene, and it all results as your pre-filled Tax return. All you need to do is to check it and fill in the blanks (if there are any) - do it in the web, if you like!
Good gets noticed!
Tax Return Online got us to the eGovernment Awards -finals. But that's not all: from the small country of Finland we had two posts: City of Helsinki was presenting her design beauty.
Helsinki Service Map is a great collection of services, search and maps, now including Espoo and Vantaa, as well. It is also communication: the user interface allows feedback. What a wonderful way to connect people with their community!
Next step is bound to cross the borderline between municipalities and the state. This was alredy planned in SADe (F).
This all is good news to the Brand committee appointed by the Foreign Minister. There's no reason to hold back the smile, even if the Financial Times does concentrate on the more traditional design..
BTW, Helsinki proudly presents Lahti, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen alongside her as the WDC2012.
You can follow Helsinki and her WDC preparations in
web: World Design Capital Helsinki 2012
Facebook: WDC-fan page