Human-centric governance: behaviour-based design in Finland

Design for Government: Human-centric governance through experiments is a translation of an original report on the Design for Government project, commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office of Finland. The project was executed by the think tank Demos Helsinki in partnership with Avanto Helsinki and the Department of Design at Aalto University.

Prepared and written by Mikko Annala, Tuuli Kaskinen, Seungho Lee, Juha Leppänen, Kalle Mattila, Aleksi Neuvonen, Johannes Nuutinen, Eevi Saarikoski and Antti Tarvainen, in collaboration with Antti Hautamäki and Tuuli Mattelmäki, the project constructs a framework for operationalizing behavior and evidence-based policy approaches for the Finnish government. In its first phase, it created a comprehensive benchmark of best practices informed by international experts and regional stakeholders.  In its second phase, the project fed and drew from the Design for Government course at Aalto University, where it invited students and participants to engage with the Finnish government’s current challenges.  The outcome was an operating model for applying these methods to the planning of governmental steering.

The operating model proposed by the report is designed to improve steering mechanisms, enable successful collaborations with citizens and nurture best practices. It also aims to enrich public sector competence in the implementation and assessment of such methods. Additionally, it hopes to enhance innovative cooperation between the governmental stakeholders involved, and drive change in the existing planning and steering culture towards a more open, citizen-oriented approach.  human-centric governance

Chapter 3 recommended the embedding of a two-year behavior-based experimental system into the government’s incumbent plan, with the intention of creating a development process for governmental steering mechanisms shaped by behavior-based knowledge. In a foreword to the paper, Sirpa Kekkonen, Head of the Secretariat for Government Strategy Work, confirms that the project has inspired and informed the Finnish government’s efforts towards nurturing an experimentation culture for public policy.

Photo: Willowbloo/wikimedia commons/cc

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