Project Overview

European citizens do not participate equally in the Information society: in fact, the digital gap is moving down from infrastructures to uses. Based on this observation, local authorities in Europe have developed Digital Public Spaces (DPS) promoting e-inclusion.

E-coop Wiki

E-COOP in the land of Snow and Santa
Event report from the Study Visit in Jyväskylä 11-12 December 2012: Citizens, e-challenges and e-solutions

Jyväskylä welcomed the E-COOP project group warmly with a varied, both professionally and personally very engaging agenda, and a perfect winter-conference weather. And a special appearance from Joulupukki himself - although that session, in strict accordance with the SantaClaus World Procedure Handbook naturally has to remain undocumented. What follows is therefore a faithful recounting of everything else that took place during this 2-day event. 

Should you have any questions regarding the event, please find your local E-COOP contact, we will be happy to help you in any way we can.

DAY 1 Morning,  Site visit to the Palokka Library and School

1. Welcome and introduction

On behalf of the City of Jyväskylä Ms Laura Ahonen presented a brief overview of the City of Jyväskylä and aspects related to the local e-service and e-participation development.

The City is working towards comprehensive architecture so that the ICT initiatives and e-services would not be developed in silos with no regard to other parts of the government. Jyväskylä is also constantly exploring new ways of improving the e-services and making them more user-friendly and interactive, in co-operation with the users.

Some of the practices adopted by the city have also been showcased, for example, in the E-COOP  project Jyväskylä wishes to reform a citizens participation website, which combines all the information relateted to participation and e-participation and related tools. The process started this fall by organising a citizens’ workshop, where the citizens suggestend and vizualised ideas to improve the website. Based on these suggestions the E-COOP team drafted the new model and functionalities for the website. The development work continues in 2013.

Please find this presentation below.

2. Library e-services

The presentation was followed by a Talk and Walk session in the Palokka Library Mr. Juha Hälinen (the Assistant director of Library Services in Jyväskylä), and Ms. Tiina Vehkoo (Manager of the Palokka Library) and the rest of the staff introduced the library space and services. The Palokka library organises for example computer coaching for the citizens, provides computer facilities for gaming and has youth workers in its premises for 9 h per week. It also has a good collection of e-newspapers available for anyone.
The Library of Jyväskylä is planning to start using the pocket library app for mobile phones in 2013. Further information on this app can be found behind this link.

Due to the nature of the session no presentation slides are available, however please feel free to browse the following links related to the libraries in Jyväskylä/Finland provided by the speakers:

Jyväskylä City Library
Latest news about Finnish libraries
Open data in libraries


Still before the midday break Mr Tero Pelkonen from the Finnish Institute of Education Research presented the use of IT in education through the example of the service. is a framework application providing a portal creation system, a web magazine tool and a notebook tool. The tools are widely used separately or in conjunction providing suitable environments for computer studies/media education and e-learning in general. The service is provided in SaaS format for an annual 2 EUR per student for a school, although subscriptions are available for single teachers as well. The service is provided as-is, the learning materials produced and the exact scope of utilisation is up to the teachers and students using it. This is one of the greatest challenges of the programme, as the availability of the relevant and ready-made e-learning materials depends on the strength of the network. 

The market of education framework systems in Finland is a competitive one. competes directly with other framework programmes, but there e-services apre provided for complementary functions too. For example WILMA  is a widely used e-registry and communication tool between the school, the teacher, the student and the parents.

Mr. Pelkonen listed some possibilities and challenges related to the electronic services and learning portals in schools:

  • Life-long-learning and non-formal learning should be supported.
  • Legislation challenges  (age limits for users , protection of privacy, copyright laws)
  • Pedagogical challenges – towards learner-centered learning  (Digital natives in the classroom).
  • IT management (centralized management vs. cloud services)

Please find this presentation below.

DAY 1 Afternoon,  Site visit to the Agora Center, University of Jyväskylä

During the afternoon, E-COOP was hosted by the University of Jyväskylä's Agora Center. Ms Päivi Fadjukoff introduced the organisation, which creatively combines research of high international standards, in a range of scientific disciplines, with the expertise derived from its diverse partner networks. The Center is grounded in a shared vision of developing the future knowledge society from a human-centric point of view. Agora engages in multiple co-operation with stakeholders and other faculties of the University.

The concept of Agora consists of: 1) human factors in technology,  2) interdisciplinary approach based on top level research, 3) combining research + teaching + business, 4) shortening the innovation chain and 5) creating human-centric service innovations. The corner stone in the development processes is strong, best possible research. The funding of the projects depends on the project stakeholders. In company-based processes the funding follows often the model Tekes + companies + university.

1. GraphoGame

After the general introduction two recent success stories have been showcased. Ms Ulla Richardson, the first speaker presented GraphoGame,  a science-based online digital learning environment for learning to read. The development of the game is based on 20 years of research on reading development and dyslexia.

The main idea of the GraphoGame is focused training of how to connect speech sounds to the written symbols.

GraphoGame trailer 2011 from Graphogame on Vimeo.

2. Innovative Learning Environments

Mss Tuula Nousiainen & Jenni Rikala provided an introduction to the research area "Innovative Learning Environments", which is aiming for example to promote and asses 21st century skills. In order to active 21st century student skills, innovative teaching practices are needed, so research focuseson the development of mobile service solutions for everyday challenges: learning and well-being.

The development principle for mobile service solutions has been user-driven design, the process of which can be described in 3 major steps:

  1. Determining general needs and focus areas with representatives of partner municipalities
  2. Developing more specific ideas and concepts with different subject-area experts and end users
  3. Field trials in real use contexts.

In the development process it has been confirmed, that arousing and sustaining motivation is a key issue in the use of mobile solutions. Users have to have a NEED to use the product.

Learning application prototypes were also presented by Jenni Rikala. Examples include ”Islands of the Mind” (a life management tool for young students), a mobile-enhanced Capture the Flag game, and attempts to incoroporate QR codes into educational activities. 

Please find the deatils of the projects in the presentation pdf below.

3. Open Cities - Open Organisation

The day ended with Mr Antti Poikola giving what can probably be considered a keynote to the whole event - a presentation on "Open Cities - Open Organisation". An open organisation and an “open city” can mean a wide rande of attitudes and activities both in general and in public (e.g. E-COOP partner) organisations. Antti focused in his presentation on three key themes, arranged in a pyramidal process fashion: transparency, participation and collaboration.

An example of transparency: the ways of making the public decision-making process more visible by videos, by using social media and open data related to the decisions.

An example of collaboration: the Open Ministry initiative in Finland, where people can propose ideas for laws, and then a group of people will construct actual law proposals of the most popular ideas. Part of the discussion on open cities and open organisation is also the open public data, and especially the considerations of what is possible to do with the open data. It is estimated that  the aggregate direct and indirect economic impacts  of the open data across the whole EU27 economy are in the range of EUR 140 billion annually (40 billion direct + 100 billion indirect).

The E-COOP network discussed whether companies should receive free data guaranteed. According to Antti, the economic benefits for companies are already significant when they can use free data in the development phase. When the products are in the market, it is only fair if the company pays for the data in order to guarantee a steady flow of it.

Data applications are one way of increasing the public services (for example applications related to public transportation).

Open data provides opportunities for discussion and enables decisions based on facts.

Antti created a toolbag of information for E-COOP participants. All information is available here. Should you only be interested in the presentation though, please find it below.

DAY 2 Morning, Site visit to the JAMK University of Applied Sciences

On the second day the E-COOP project visited JAMK University of Applied Sciences. Partners had a chance to visit a small service project fair created by the students and also to visit the Team Academy premises. During the session JAMK presented the following cases related to the digital world.

1. eFamily Coach

Ms Anna Rönkä introduced a eFamily Coach, a mobile support tool for family services/ social sector. This new family service model provides support for families’ daily life between their meetings with family counselors. Technically, eFamily Coach is a web-based program adapted for use with mobile devices. The web-platform contains targeted questions for different family situations and different family members (parents and children).  The set of questions available for the counselors consist of evaluative, reflective and istructive questions.

The E-Family Coach service was created in a project with two universities, technology operators and two municipalities (Jyväskylä and Muurame).

The proposed intervention tool enables family counselors to support and strengthen parenting, the spousal relationship and child wellbeing more effectively. This new way of working will activate clients and enhance their own responsibility over their family functioning. The eFamily Coach methods make people to think, and  remind customers to reflect issues that are a key to a behaviour change.

Mobile family services can be a cost-effective way to provide improved services: The new service model will also quicken and intensify the provision of assistance to families, as with the same resources more families can be helped than previously.

Please find the presentation slides below.

2. FreeNest

Mr. Jouni Huotari spoke of FreeNest, a portable product platform developed within JAMK. Freenest is an open source application lifecycle management environment, which helps groups to develop projects, services or ideas.The E-COOP partners learned from different tools, for example communication tools that could be used for e.g. co-creation. The development of FreeNest also created a student-run company called ”Nestronite”, which provides tool and process consulting for lean sotware development.

JAMK University of Applied Sciences is part the big program consortium called Finnish Clould Software Program financed by Tekes.

No presentation slides are available, please feel free to browse the source pages linked.

3. Mobile Services and export of education 

Mr. Markku Rissanen hightlighted some basic elements of the the education services the JAMK University is providing. Training education is concentrated on user experiences and follows three key rules to provide education services digitally:

- Ubiquitous: Services are availabe all over the world.
- Involving:  Involving the people who are learning with the learning material provided by JAMK and to provide collaborative methods to students to find the best available knowledge.
- Relevance: Education services need always to be relevant.

Please find the presentation slides below.

4.  Lutakko Living Lab and introduction to the Team Academy

Mr. Juha Ruuska presented briefly the Lutakko Living Lab, and the I-Lutakko portal which has been part of the Living Lab development processes. Lutakko Living Lab specialises in service & experience design, aiming at co-creation of new services with the end users. The Lutakko Living Lab integrates learning and study environments in real-life open RDI environments in the Lutakko city district.

One of the processes presented was the creation of the i-Lutakko platform (platfom for the residents of the Lutakko area) where the citizens can engage.  Mr Ruuska reminded of some key learnings from the process: no digital platform itself does anything, so facilitators are needed. The success of the engagement of the users depends very much on the circumstances, e.g. if there is an exisiting culture of participation or not.

Juha Ruusa also provided information on his new assignment as a coach in Team Academy. Team Academy is the Entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence of the JAMK University of Applied Sciences. In the Team Academy students run their own cooperative businesses. Students have to do real-life projects, which they have to find themselves, and also cover all the expenses of the company. Projects function both as learning environments (for studies and developing the individual’s competence) and as ways of doing business (for team companies). Learning is a comprehensive process that is not divided into modules or subjects, like marketing or leadership.

Please find the presentation slides below.

Workshop: Towards Open City – public eServices for citizens.

Rest of the day was dedicated to a workshop. The aim of the workshop was to stimulate discussion, learning and exchange of experience between the E-COOP partners by doing groupwork. In the workshop groups created mindmaps for e-service development. The results can be further developed in project discussions, plans and meetings to come. The results of the group work have been documented and reported to the E-COOP partnership.

For further information please contact your local e-coop project partner.