Citizen engagement

Citizen Innovator Pool

A citizen innovator pool is a community-based model to engage residents in working together with the public and private sector to co-create, develop and test urban solutions. It allows the citizens interested in the urban lab topics and activities to be informed, interact and participate in service design processes or other innovation activities of their choice.

A citizen innovator pool provides means to engage the residents in an ongoing way. It is a community model for resident volunteers offering information on innovation projects in the local environment and possibilities to actively participate on different levels of the innovation process, both as contributors and users. 

Participants of a citizen innovator pool engage for example by answering surveys or by acting as test users of new technologies and solutions. Once registered for the pool, the participants receive information about what is happening in their city, invitation to events and pilots taking place, and the chance to exchange ideas and knowledge with their neighbours, private companies and the innovation community. 

Participants of Forum Virium Helsinki’s citizen innovator pool called the “Trial Troops” (“Kokeilujoukot”) can, for example, attend co-creation workshops, test and provide feedback for companies about new solutions, give feedback on smart solutions and innovations, influence further development of city services and overall contribute to making Helsinki the world’s most functional city to live in.

Citizen participants also need their counterparts in projects. In Forum Virium, living lab projects typically include a community manager, whose role is to activate citizen innovators and build relevant opportunities for participation, and ensure that the results are used effectively in the innovation projects. 


Trial Troops testing new smart city solutions

Since 2019, Helsinki residents have been able to join the Trial Troops in different projects.

As many as 200 residents – the “Air Quality Troops” – have participated in crowdsourced citizen measurements carried out with portable air quality sensors in the Jätkäsaari, Vallila and Pakila districts. The participants also hosted sensors in their homes and received information about their own exposure to air pollution using a sensor developed by the University of Helsinki. The aim was to increase people’s awareness of their exposure and opportunities to influence the prevailing air quality.

The Troops have also been part of testing robot buses in Helsinki. Automated public transport is still in the early stages of development, but several thousand passengers have already been able to try out robot buses in the districts of Vuosaari, Kalasatama and Pasila, among other places. Based on the pilots conducted so far, passenger reactions have been curious and enthusiastic, and the feedback has been positive for the most part. The experiences of passengers are providing valuable information on how to apply new technologies to improve everyday mobility services for residents.

Photo credit: Vesa Laitinen / Forum Virium Helsinki