Helsinki’s game for city employees

Aiming to increase citizen participation in the process of becoming “the most functional city in the world”, service designers and civil servants in the City of Helsinki developed a new approach to engagement. They developed a game that city service teams, for example in libraries or hospitals, play in order to explore and plan client participation. The game helps employees to embed participatory methods into their day to day work, leading to greater uptake and support. The game is facilitated by a designer who ensures that the ideas produced in the game translate into practice. So far, plenty of new ideas have been put into action. Art lovers, for example, can now adopt statues in their local parks and participate in maintenance and upkeep. Increasing citizens’ participation is not the only purpose of the game: it also helps civil servants to better understand how citizens use their service and how important these are to their lives.