Seniori365.fi is a website and service innovation, where there has been gathered a lot of useful information that senior citizens might need
The service innovation Seniori365.fi makes the everyday life of senior citizens easier and keeps them connected with the digital age
The digital world is not only for digital natives. This is an idea shared by the City of Espoo that wants to bring senior citizens within the scope of digital services. The Espoo region's interests and the skills of Laurea University of Applied Sciences created the Seniori356.fi service, a digital service innovation developed and implemented by the students of Laurea for Espoo senior citizens and their family members. The development of Seniori365.fi began in the InnoEspoo project which brought together the City of Espoo, Omnia, Aalto Small Business Centre and Laurea. Seniori365.fi offers information regarding well-being and home safety as well as services and products, all in one place. The website features articles on physical exercise, well-being and healthcare. People wanting to engage in gymnastics, relaxation or other activities can watch videos. There are also inspiring stories of senior citizens.
The strengths of this innovation have been noticed elsewhere in the world as well: in March 2015, the service was awarded the Best Practice 2014 award for an excellent service innovation by Design for All Foundation; in October 2015 in London, it won the EU-WIIN Women Inventors and Innovators Network award in the category of the best social innovation; and in October 2015 in Japan, the co-design category in the IAUD Design competition.
"The service was developed together with senior citizens using service design methods. There were more than 200 students involved from many different fields," says Pia Kiviharju, Regional Manager at Laurea University of Applied Sciences.
Smile, expertise and helpful attitude are enough to create a successful customer service experience in face-to-face customer service but in an online service you need a different viewpoint to customer service and producing experiences. Student Laura Virkki who managed the project is pleased with what the project offered in terms of digital customer service.
"I have learned a lot about project management, managing your own work and motivating people, but most of all about how to engage in digital customer service. You really have to consider the correct font size, punctuation, language and memorable content. I have had to put my senior citizen goggles on to be able to create interesting digital content for the elderly."
Students Juhopekka Myllynen and Veikko Laiho who were involved in the project emphasize the fact that you have to start from scratch.
"How do you explain everything as simply as possible to someone who has not used the internet at all when it's all very clear to yourself? We have learned a lot about marketing in the course of this project, not just the IT side of things."
The Seniori365.fi service increases the supply and demand of private services. It supports the Espoo region business life and the start-up of new companies in the well-being sector. The association for carers in the Espoo and Kauniainen region (Espoon ja Kauniaisten Omaishoitajat ja Läheiset ry) has also been able to share information and help carers in their busy everyday lives.
"The Seniori365.fi service is being actively used and people have found it well. The idea is that you can find everything in the same place: the entire range of services that a carer might need is within one mouse click. That is what is best about the service. It is great that Laurea has the tenacity to develop the service," says Kristiina Mustakallio, Executive Director of the association for carers in the Espoo and Kauniainen region.
Elderly users are being guided in using the service but also their carers and grandchildren, for example, use it and help them. What do you think of the service, being a part of the actual target group, senior citizen and supervisor Aiju Väisänen?
"What you need first and foremost is trust and courage," says Aiju and means that senior citizens may find it taunting to use the internet or computer generally. However, computers don't bite or break easily and that is what Aiju likes to point out to each and every elderly user.
"I have introduced the service contents in the Intoa elämään courses for senior citizens. The website is easy to use and it reaches out to the user. It's very comprehensive, too. I receive feedback and development ideas on the courses: are the companies reliable, would it be possible to add information on wills on the website? All in all the service is a great thing."
"Constructive criticism and development suggestions are important to us. That's how we develop the service," says Katja Tikkanen, Project Coordinator at Laurea.
The website offers information mainly about local service providers but the hints and tips, instructions and videos can help senior citizens and their carers anywhere in Finland. And, who knows, perhaps the service will branch out outside Espoo in the future.