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Research project suggests the use of experimentation in designing societal steering

Government Communications Department
Publication date 17.6.2015 13.02
Press release 322/2015

The objective of the Design for Government project was to create a model for a culture of fostering experimentation in the state administration. The project investigated how the public sector could be reformed from a user-driven perspective. To achieve this objective, the project’s final report, published today, 17 June, suggests, among other things, a two-year experimental programme that would be linked with the Government Programme and would promote societal goals by applying behavioural approaches. The programme would ensure the benefit of the experiments and the accumulation of the learning obtained from the experiments in the state administration.

The model suggested in the Design for Government project would start with a broad-based survey of existing experiments and solutions from various societal actors, such as organisations, municipalities and enterprises. The proposed operational model would be linked with the Government Programme of the Sipilä Government. The implementation of the objectives of the Government Programme would be strengthened by assessing the behavioural effects of steering.

“The operational model we developed utilises experiments, behavioural methods and design thinking. The objective is that legislation and other governance would be better equipped to predict the real impacts of steering on people’s daily life,” says researcher Juha Leppänen of the think tank Demos Helsinki.

According to Leppänen, the systematic application of experiments would also contribute to making better and user-driven decisions.

The final report proposes that a system facilitating experimentation be situated in the Prime Minister’s Office. Among other things, this function could support the various actors, especially the ministries, in their experimentation and could also collect, document, and make available existing knowledge and the knowledge generated through experimentation.

The Design for Government project is one aspect of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research for 2014. The think tank Demos Helsinki, in partnership with the think tank Avanto Helsinki and Aalto University, was responsible for the project.

Final report of the Design for Government project (in Finnish with an English summary)

More information about the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities

Inquiries: Researcher Juha Leppänen, Demos Helsinki, tel. +358 40 700 6585, and Science Specialist Kaisa Lähteenmäki-Smith, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 295 160 166.

English translation of the press release published on 18 June 2015