31/03/2021 - Toini Harra

The first international webinar of TUTTUnet

The reception hall at Zuyderland Hospital is decorated with a Finnish work of art. Photo: Elina Ritola.

The first international webinar of TUTTUnet was held on Thursday 18th of March 2021. The webinar was organized by Metropolia and Tampere UAS and it gave us an inspiring morning session with innovative digital products and service solutions. The purpose of the webinar was to start an International network of innovation partnership concerning digital housing solutions and devices for elderly people. It was a great pleasure for us to host this high-level event with such qualified international and business partners.

There are many different networks in Europe that are developing digitalisation for elderly people. Netta Turunen.

User involvement is needed for transdisciplinary co-design and the better solutions

Main themes of the webinar were built-up based on the idea concerning user-involved co-creation of solutions for digital services and products. During the HIPPA -Wellbeing and better service housing through digitalization project we have gained a lot of experience on how user-involvement in co-designing processes helps both the designers in understanding the users’ needs and expectations, and on how the collaboration with designers helps the users to understand the benefits of the digital solutions.

For higher-education institutions the co-designing processes with companies and users are a part of regional development activity. Lot of students from different disciplines have been involved in many ways during the HIPPA-project. Information engineering students have tested solutions in digital laboratory. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nurse and gerontology students in Bachelor- and Masters-studies have conducted user trials both in authentic environments in assisted housing environments and at higher education venues as a part of their innovation project or thesis processes. Business students made several marketing reports based on the companies’ needs. Through the presentations, the webinar gave to our international partners some nice examples of the collaboration possibilities between a company, higher education institutions and an assisted housing unit. 

Great presentations about collaboration, user-involvement and innovations

Jouni Spets, Plant Steps Ltd, showed a pleasant and beautiful video about collaboration with the Myllypuro senior center and students of Metropolia. Video was produced by HIPPA. This case gave to audience an insight on what the plants and collaboration with seniors and staff give to the users and to the designer. Metropolia students gathered the feedback and reported and analyzed it.

Residents and staff of Myllypuro Senior Centre enjoyed gardening indoors.

Jaana Kokko from OuluHealth Labs gave us a nice example about user experiment conducted in Kiiminki. In this case user experimentl was launched in two cities, Oulu and Vantaa. The service brings joy and welcome variation to the residents of the Jaarankartano service house during the Covid-19 period. Residents of the service house, assisted by the staff, can communicate with other people, in other venues, by using the video connection established by the service. The service works with relatives or friends in the interface of a tablet computer, from which a resident of the service house can be contacted. Jaarankartano’s professionals act as lenders of equipment to relatives or friends and agree on contact times between the resident and the relative or friend. The hardware to be borrowed for the home, runs conveniently in the hardware portfolio and the instructions for using the service are included. Clear instructional videos that make it easy to set up are available to watch on your tablet. The experiment is carried out by Finwe Oy from Oulu. 

Kalle Punto from Medeka took us to virtual routes around the world. Medeka has developed an innovative solution for rehabilitation and indoor training where the user can use the virtual route software to run, walk or cycle along the virtual routes. In this software is more than 300 self filmed routes in Finland and around the world and it works for all existing rehabilitation devices, exercise bikes, handwheels treadmills etc. In the HIPPA project, Medeka has tested this software with the elderly in the real authentic environment with excellent results. HIPPA produced  an inspiring video with Medeka and TAMK in Sointu Senior Services´ Kuuselakeskus in which we got to see how these tests have gone.

Kuusela Centre was a fruitful test and user trial environment for Medeka.

We also got to see how tablet technology for shared use has been utilized in service housing for the elderly. Jukka Salonen from Hublet Ltd presented how great these tablets work in caretaking services as tools for memory activation and rehabilitation. In assisted living services, these easy-to-use tablets are suited to be used by the elderly themselves or in guided group activities organized by the staff. 

Helen Chambers from LivingSkills presented a resource-driven model and digital motivation tool for care relationship, service needs mapping and impact assessment. This solution improves dialogue between clients and professionals. It also fosters quality of services. LivingSkills improves seniors engagement and helps seniors reach their own goals. This digital motivation tool for care relationships motivates learning skills for a good life.

Strengthening of care and building a digital health system

This monitoring system is used in Zuyderland Care, The Netherlands. Maarten Coolen shows how. Photo: Elina Ritola.

International partners of Tampere UAS and Metropolia UAS also offered interesting presentations at the webinar. Maarten Coolen from Zuyderland Care presented us good examples of innovation in elderly care in the Province of Limburg (The Netherlands). We all got a peek at how technology and digital solutions are being used in care and helped the elderly people. In the Netherlands, the aim is to make it possible for the elderly people to live as normal life as possible and to live their daily life according to their own habits, interests and needs.

Neshad Asllani from Klinika Digjitale, Kosovo, presented a Digital Health Clinic, which aims to ensure that everybody has access to healthcare, anywhere and anytime. It is an advanced digital healthcare platform that offers faster, closer and less expensive services to patients regardless of the distance with their preferred physician or health care institution anywhere in the world. More than 45 doctors in 14 languages offer their services on this digital platform.

During the webinar it was discussed, how the COVID pandemic has accelerated the development of digital products and services in several countries.

International network of innovation partnership

In the final discussion, it was noticed that the participants wanted to strengthen the communality and co-creation possibilities with higher education and business partners at least in the Netherlands, Kosovo and Finland. Cross-border networking in the development of digital services and products is clearly important in the future. Crossing the borders and networking in a multi-discipline way clearly creates a new kind of intelligence that will contribute to the development of innovative digital products and service solutions of the future.

As far as webinar is concerned, we can see that experts and users must continue to be brought together and that the services of the future will be developed in interaction. The aim is to strengthen partnerships more and more in networks by enabling the multi-perspective co-development of different actors. Perhaps the key to the success of development activities and the development of the industry in the future is that we succeed in harnessing different skills, resources and expertise in regional, national and especially international networks to develop common issues concerning digital housing solutions and devices for elderly people.

TUTTUnet aims to provide solutions for the need of international networking and the sharing of good practices. We are pleased to a part of the build-up of an international network of innovation partnership!

Toini Harra, Doctor in Social Sciences,  Licentiate in Philosophy, OTR, project manager in HIPPA-project, Metropolia UAS
Anna Kaipainen, physiotherapist, Master of Healthcare, project planner in HIPPA-project, Metropolia UAS

Video production:

Plant Steps Ltd: Tuukka Lindholm, Suvikki Honkkila, Minna Kilpeläinen, Sirpa Puusti, Jenna Sinkman
Medeka Ltd: Minna Kilpeläinen, Tuukka Lindholm


28/10/2020 - Leila Lintula

From co-development to user experiment: case Hublet

Hublet tablets are being tested in the Myllypuro Senior Center.

The Hublet Solution offers customized digital content equally and easily for everyone in libraries, hospitals and service houses, for example. It is an all-in-one tool for learning, communication, and entertainment. The Hublet Tablet is a tablet for shared use that is always ready for use. Hublet lets you access the digital world safely and privately. The innovation behind Hublet comes from Finland and the user-friendly, cloud-based Hublet Manager management software is the heart of the service.

In December 2019, a user experiment planning event was organized together with Hublet Oy in the City of Helsinki’s senior center in Myllypuro. During the event, a framework and a preliminary plan for the Hublet Tablet user experiment were co-created. The Hublet Tablet provides a platform for different types of content, such as magazines, books, and TV programs. It is also possible to create your own content on the platform.

The development plan created together with Hublet Ltd, the co-creation framework and the research permission obtained from the City of Helsinki guided the course of the user experiment planning event. The objective of the user experiment was to provide Hublet with user experience information about the usability of the service as well as to estimate the suitability of the service and its potential benefits in an assisted living facility environment.

User testing planning event

15 professionals from different fields took part in the two-hour user experiment planning event. Participation in the event was voluntary. Overall, the event was a success. The participants were persons from different lines of business who had insight about and experience of the questions related to planning a user experiment. However, the event would have benefitted from having more resident and rehabilitation staff member participants. The planning event was carried out by adhering to the following stages of co-development: 1) welcome and introductions, 2) orientation, 3) value creation, 4) reflection and feedback, 5) summary and further measures. There were four main questions related to implementing the user experiment that included further sub-questions (Table 1).

Table 1. Main questions for the value creation stage.

The participants felt that the facilitation of the co-development was successful due to the timing and pacing of the discussed matters. The atmosphere was full of ideas and the event produced plenty of feasible ideas for the implementation of the user experiment. The attendants felt that they had been well informed about the Hublet Tablet. Overall, the event managed to reach the set objectives and produced valuable information for the implementation of the user experiment.

Female doctor showing tablet to female senior patient. Customizable tablet screen.

From co-development to user experiment

During the co-developed user experiment planning event, the attendants discussed the length of the user experiment, the schedule of its implementation and the suitable units for carrying out the experiment. Training the staff to use the device and informing the residents/customers, staff and relatives about the experiment were regarded as important matters. Posters with information about the device and its use were also discussed. Introducing the device was also discussed during the event. The participants were hoping for two different user profiles for the device: one for residents and their relatives and one for staff members. Several options for collecting feedback and information about the user experience were presented. Firstly, a short survey could be included after first starting to use the device. The survey could be provided electronically on the device or in paper form. Secondly, interviews could be organized after the trial period for the persons that have taken part in the user experiment. The following content features, among others, were requested for the Hublet Tablet: 

  • Instructions related to exercise and remembering
  • Different games
  • Music and images
  • Audio books and magazines
  • TV channels and program archives
  • Websites related to health and medicines
  • Information about units, events, and menu of the week
Hublet Tablets are meant for shared use.

At the end of January 2020, a Skype meeting was held in order to discuss and specify matters related to the experiment. The discussed matters were recorded in the user experiment implementation form. The persons responsible for the implementation of the user experiment from the Myllypuro Senior Center, Hublet Oy and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences were present in the meeting.

Matters agreed about in the user experiment development plan and matters defined in the research permit were reviewed during the meeting. During the user experiment, the questions about the development plan that form the outline for the interviews and observations are being responded to. The material about the interviews and observations is collected in an anonymized form and without identification data about the situation of using the tablet. The materials of the user experiment are then analyzed by utilizing scientifically valid methods of analysis and the results are reported in such a way that it is not possible to identify the participants. The results provide the company with recommendations for matters that require further development and features that improve the usability of the device.

Each user experiment participant is provided with a written announcement and is orally informed about the purpose of the experiment. Written consent is required from the persons participating in the user experiment. The participants may discontinue their participation in the experiment at any time and without providing a reason. Discontinuing the experiment does not have an effect on the user’s services.

Information about the product/service forming during the user experiment must not be disclosed to external parties without the company’s consent. For this reason, the participants are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The participants use the product throughout the trial period. After the trial period, the product is returned to the company. The company is in charge of organizing product training, delivering the devices and the product’s user interface.

The implementation of the user experiment and the responsibilities of the persons in charge of the experiment were discussed during the Skype meeting. It was decided that the user experiment would be carried out in the spring of 2020 in two units, and the duration of the experiment was set to four months. The start and end dates of the experiment were also agreed upon.

Staff training was organized for the same day that the device was delivered to the unit. Technical requirements for using the device in the Myllypuro Senior Center were mapped out and established before the training. The user signed in to the device using a QR code that could be found on the device. The company ensured that the devices would not gather user information and would only collect information about the times the device is being used.

The unit staff instructed the residents about using the Hublet Tablet. The staff members also used the tablet together with the residents and looked at images of Helsinki, for example. After using the device, the nurse interviewed the resident and recorded the feedback through the tablet’s feedback icon if the resident was not able to do this themself.

The persons responsible for the user experiment had a Skype meeting halfway through the experiment in order to assess the successfulness of the experiment so far. At the end of the experiment, a user experiment feedback form was filled out. Details about reporting the feedback and information about the experiment to the company were discussed. 

Feedback from the company

According to Business Unit Director Jukka Salonen and Marketing Manager Milla Kalliokoski from Hublet Oy, the cooperation with Myllypuro’s Senior Center was pleasant and successful. It was important for the company to visit the Myllypuro Senior Center in order to meet the residents and experience the operating environment. Co-development with the staff, volunteers and students concretized the implementation of the experiment and made it easier. The fact that the staff and residents were motivated to actively test the Hublet Tablet and provide feedback about their experience, for example, in the form of research, was regarded as important for the successfulness of the experiment. The information posters located in the unit also helped the residents and the staff to carry out the experiment.  Especially the occupational therapists’ utilization of the Hublet Solution in group therapy demonstrated Hublet’s suitability as a digital extension tool for care work.

Implementing the co-development and user experiment in the Myllypuro Senior Center provided the company with information about the product’s suitability for the target group and for product development. The company may also utilize the survey results for go-to-market functions when entering international markets.

We are very proud of this cooperation and highly value Myllypuro’s approachable attitude towards digital functions and the Hublet Solution. – Milla Kalliokoski and Jukka Salonen, Hublet

Anna Alhonen, Head Nurse, Myllypuro Senior Center
Leila Lintula, Master of Health Care, occupational therapist, Metropolia UAS

Images: Hublet


16/09/2020 - Lauri Heikkinen


Photo: Binyamin Mellish, Pexels.

Metropolia, Oulu and Tampere universities of applied sciences and cities of Helsinki and Oulu as well as private companies are developing digital services for assisted living facilities together in the HIPPA – Wellbeing and better service housing through digitalisation -project. Many of the developed solutions can however be used also in other forms of housing. The developed solutions also enable older people to live and enjoy living at home longer. Many services include IT solutions of their own. In future, we should also think what kind of demands are required for buildings’ own service systems to enable them to have a role and potential for acting as a service platform.

User needs

When the solutions for building service systems are selected, the decisions have to be based on the needs of the users and potential of the technology. The needs and desires of different parties for assisted living facilities were clarified in the project Pilot environment for digital solutions in assisted living facilities. Accessibility, safety, coziness, flexibility, freedom of choice, individuality, community and compliance were recognized as the most important user needs. In order to recognize and model the meanings, the needs were cross tabulated with services, physical factors, technology, operational culture and ownership. The network of user-based meanings was created as a result of this tabulation (figure 1.). (Harra and Lintula 2018.)

Figure 1. The network of user based needs (Harra, T., Lintula, L.,2018).

The network of user-based needs enables the systematic analysis of the relations between different factors in housing. The user based value field of the smart technology was formed by the further analysis of the network. The analysis showed that four most important values are community, individuality, freedom of choice and regulation. The remaining factors are user-based needs in assisted living. These user based needs are safety, flexibility, coziness and accessibility (figure 2.). There are clear tensions between different factors of the user-based needs, which makes it difficult to achieve all desired features, when smart technology is developed.

Figure 2. The user based value field of smart technology (Harra, T., Lintula, L.,2018).

“Each resident should have the right to feel assisted living residences as the home of their own. The tension arises from the fact that the regulations are needed for the safety of some residents, but the regulation may at the same time restrict the accessibility for others. For example you may have to lock the doors because of the dementia of some inhabitants which restricts the accessibility of others.” (Harra ja Lintula 2018)

The challenge of smart technology in the future is to develop assisted living facilities, which meet the values of different residences. One possibility to meet this challenge is to assess how smart products and services fulfill the user-based values and needs.

The design of assisted living facilities and services in the future cannot be based on the current status because of the new generations and changes in environment. That is why the building service systems in future have to fulfill the user-based needs and values. This requires the understanding the user needs and the ability to choose solutions, which meet the growing needs of the future residents.

Potential and challenges of smart technology

One of the key challenges in modern technology is to decide, which functions should be done by separate systems and which should be integrated in building management systems. Nowadays it is easy to measure different quantities in buildings, because the prizes of sensors have decreased and they have become smaller. We can even talk about intelligent dust (figure 3.).

Figure 3. Size of sensors is decreasing (IEEE, Future Directions)

Separate measurements do not always create a working system, because without coordination, we can end up in the situation where systems work independently and we have to check in separately in each system. This is also a risk for safety, because one unsafe system may open entry to other systems and thus compromise the safety of the entire system.

It is also important to understand what measurements enable needed functions and services. Table 1 includes examples of connections between user based needs and required measurements. Using the table we can for example see that air conditioning and its control have an impact for users’ safety, coziness, flexibility, freedom of choices and individuality. In order to achieve desired functionality, air conditioning can be controlled according to presence, carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or temperature.

Table 1. Examples of technical solutions, which fulfill the user needs.

Artificial intelligence and data collection to cloud services (big data) enable us to synthesize and analyze information in new ways making it possible to use data for multiple purposes. For example, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels enable predictions for the presence and behavior of the occupant when current values are compared to history values of the normal day.

The growing requirements for energy efficiency and carbon footprint have to be also taken into account in the design process of assisted living facilities.

Goals for building service systems in collective housing

Collective housing is considered as one of the growing forms of living in future. Collective housing means in this context the facilities, which offer more common spaces and services than houses in general. The goal is to decrease loneliness and offer more contacts and stimulus for residents. Larger units of collective housing may include a housing coordinator, who coordinates the services and arranges common activities for residents. Important goal of collective housing is to increase interaction and social life between residents and offer a link between generations. (Jolanki, O. et.al, 2017, Lipporanta web pages, 2020)

In his BSc theses, Niilo Pirhonen examined special features of collective housing, which have an influence on the planning of building services engineering. He ended up to seven main features, which are often applicable also for assisted living facilities and in general for smart housing:

  1. The good cooperation of designers is needed to ensure that spaces will serve the needs of collective housing.
  2. Subscriber, users and housing coordinator has to take part already in early stages of design.
  3. Design of the building service systems has to cover the requirements of spaces that do not normally exist in residential buildings. These spaces may include common living rooms, clubrooms, big laundry spaces, pools, restaurants, common kitchens, green rooms, and spaces, which are hired for services.
  4. Collective housing units may include spaces where different services are provided in different times. The services may vary from day to day, which means that building service systems have to be flexible enough to meet these requirements.
  5. Common spaces and their service systems have to be flexible in order to enable variable use of the spaces.
  6. Spaces and service systems have to provide availability and user friendliness. The control systems have to be usable also for example the residents with wheelchairs. Building service systems should also adapt to future technology, which helps older people in their day-to-day life.
  7. Indoor climate and energy efficiency are important factors in collective housing facilities, because older people often spend lots of time at home and it’s important that a cozy environment is provided efficiently. (Pirhonen, N., 2019)

As an example, we can look at the requirements of building service systems in common space, which functions vary from day to day. If a hairdresser works in the space, there has to be a water tap. If a common gymnastic exercise is held in the same space, one has to be able to increase ventilation airflow when required. The control of the airflow may be based on carbon dioxide level (CO2). In this case the airflow is increased when CO2 level crosses the set up value. The number of people in the space can also control ventilation airflow. On the other hand ventilation airflow has to be smaller when the space is empty or only a few people are in the space because of the energy efficiency requirements.

People are used to different temperatures in their own spaces. Usually older people require higher temperatures than younger ones. This means that residents have to be able to control temperature in their homes. The safety system of the building has to adapt to spaces, which have different levels of privacy. For example a restaurant is open to anyone, a common living room is open to all residents and own spaces are open only to the ones that are living in them.

Already these few examples point out that the requirements for building service systems cannot be met only by measurements. Instead, the requirements affect the measuring and structure of the systems substantially.

Lauri Heikkinen, Licentiate of Technology, Principal Lecturer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, School of Facility and Construction

Harri Hahkala, MSc (Eng) , Project Engineer, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, School of Facility and Construction

Harra, T., Lintula, L., Käyttäjälähtöisyys älykkään palveluasumisen kehittämisessä, Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu 2018. (only in Finnish)
Jolanki, Outi, Leinonen, Emilia, Rajaniemi, Jere, Rappe, Erja, Räsänen, Tiina, Teittinen, Outi & Topo, Päivi. 2017. Asumisen yhteisöllisyys ja hyvä vanhuus. Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminnan julkaisusarja 47/2017. (only in Finnish)

Pirhonen, Niilo, Control of building service engineering for collective housing, BSc (Eng) thesis Metropolia 2019. (in Finnish, English abstract)

References in web:

HIPPA, Hyvinvointia ja parempaa palveluasumista digitalisaation avulla, https://hippa.metropolia.fi/, (read 2.3.2020)

IEEE, Future Directions, https://cmte.ieee.org/futuredirections/fd-opportunities/

Lipporannasta löytyy Kotikatu 365 – uusi asumisen malli. Kotikatu 365. Verkko-aineisto. (only in Finnish)

Lipporanta, Palveluasumisen digitalisaation pilottiympäristö, https://www.metropolia.fi/fi/tutkimus-kehitys-ja-innovaatiot/hankkeet/kiradigi-palveluasumisen-digitalisaation-pilottiymparisto (only in Finnish, read 20.3.2020)


16/06/2020 - Minna Kilpeläinen

HIPPA hears the user´s voice

In the presentation video of the HIPPA project, we gathered examples of what we have been doing in HIPPA. It is important for us to hear the voice of the user and provide needs-based product and service development. Our operations are guided by genuine enthusiasm and joy from new innovations.

HIPPA offers possibilities for co-creation, testing and user trials, as well as commercialization support as required by each product and service. We work in authentic and standardized environments with genuine users or students in a multidisciplinary manner. The Developer Clubs and Game break -discussions bring together a diverse group of entrepreneurs, service housing customers and relatives, as well as professionals, experts and representatives of various organizations in the field.

The work will continue in the innovation centers and test labs in the social services, real estate and housing and ICT sector in Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu even after the end of the project from 2021.

HIPPA project
Metropolia UAS, Tampere UAS, Oulu UAS
6Aika, European Regional Development Fund

Script: Minna Kilpeläinen and Toini Harra
Filming, Sound and Editing: Tuukka Lindholm and Minna Kilpeläinen
Director: Minna Kilpeläinen

Project Managers:
Toini Harra, Metropolia UAS
Tarja Heinonen, Tampere UAS
Kirsi Jokinen, Oulu UAS
Anna Alhonen, Myllypuro Senior Center, City of Helsinki
Päivi Meriläinen, Haukipudas housing services, City of Oulu


05/02/2020 - Toini Harra

Happy moments belong to a good life

HIPPA project organized on 20 March 2019 Kansalais-Soteuttamo, a dialogical event concerning better service housing. A lot of citizens, higher education, policymakers and service producers participated in the equal discussion. The event was organized in collaboration with the Sitra’s Soteuttamo project. In the organizer group, there were beside of HIPPA also  Well-being businesses in new hands -project (Hyvinvointiyritykset kiertoon) and  In Safe Hands at Home -project (Hyvissä handuissa himassa).

The event took the form of a constructive public discourse (called Timeout) to better understand the key factors involved in developing. Timeout is a discursive method for offering an opportunity to pause and consider things in peace. The focus in small group discussions was in digital services and products. The discussions raised the voice of current and future service users. The event was finalized with a panel discussion in which the results of small group discussions were shared to all of the participants. This blog post focuses specifically on the needs and valuations of services raised by the panellists and insights generated during the small group discussions.

Everyone´s voice was heard in the Timeout -constructive public discussion.

Now is the time to make changes to the services of the elderly. “One cannot offer everything to everyone, but the services and products must be organized individually and in a versatile way,” one of the Erätauko-discussion´s contributors commented. Humanity and the quality of the services must be taken into account in decision-making, in politics, in the economy –  in all encounters. The needs and values ​​of professionals and residents must be taken into account when developing the services. (Harra and Lintula 2018a.)

Man is an expert in his own life. Therefore, one must make one’s own voice and resources available. But how does a client make their voice heard when developers planning a day-to-day or rehabilitation service? It succeeds by taking into consideration humanity, the meaningfulness of everyday life, respect, openness and trust. You need to create a respectful atmosphere and ask people what they need in their daily lives to support their agency. (Harra and LIntula 2018b.)

What about evaluators, helpers and people who take things forward? In the Timeout-discussion the participants highlighted the need for interprofessional dialogue included with citizen, appreciative leadership, positivity and time to be human. It is important to listen to the elderly, their histories, life experiences, knowledge and skills, and to be friends with the lonely. Collaboration between people of different ages enables the transfer of experience and know-how and the use of potential possibilities. Sometimes brilliant ideas can be found in new areas, new ideas and models.

Lifecycle living supports communal living

According to several European and American research, communal living improves the quality of life and well-being (Jolanki et al. 2017). Participants in the Timeout-discussion felt that meeting possibilities like-minded people and building activities for safety nets should be ensured. Communality was seen as an opportunity in this regard. It would increase the courage to ask for and offer help, help to hear and to be heard, to be interested, and to smile at each other.

On the other hand, communality should be a free choice so that everyone can be alone whenever they want. Especially for older people, communal living is not always self-selected due to health factors (Jolanki et al. 2017). Older people need communal living, which can mean people of different ages living in the same houses and neighbourhoods. Communal living would enable intergenerational activities and meeting people of different ages.

The so-called lifecycle living model is needed also in the future. One example is represented by the Life Cycle Quarter to be built in Tesoma, Tampere. At Tesoma Life Cycle Quarter, construction, housing, services and community are integrated as an ecosystem that connects the needs and functions of people in different stages of life. The aim is for residents to be able to live in the block for up to their entire lives, even though the size and housing needs of the housing community and family are changing.

The panellists highlighted the sense of community in older people’s services.

Neighbourhood activities bring joy to single living

The community of residents can be increased, for example, through neighbourhood activities developed in the metropolitan area (Ataçocuğu 2018). In the Herttoniemi area, operations have spread around Helsinki. The idea is that the activity is open to all residents and takes into account the lonely elderly people in the area. They are offered a living room-type meeting-point where they can chat and have a coffee. All the neighbourhoods are different. It only needs one volunteer launcher and free and unobstructed space to start it.

In the future, hopefully, you will also be able to sign up for housing-related services when renting an apartment. These services can be, for example, laundry services, cleaning, babysitting, technology management, taking care of things, or even helping to hang the curtains.

“The good life of every person looks like their own”

The discussion revealed that a good daily life is built with one’s own mind, with other people, and with the environment. It was hoped that everyone would be heard and seen as themselves at different stages of their lives. Humanity, respect and empathy should be present in the whole of society because human dignity comes only through contact with other people.

The Grandma Disco keeps people of all ages on the feet.

Regardless of age, universal things for all people are a sense of security, a good and balanced life, health, freedom and friends. Everyone should have the right to their own interests, such as nature, garden, family, children and grandchildren. Also, the activities of daily living and self-care are also important:: a positive attitude to life, sleep and rest, hobbies, keeping up with the passing time and being involved. Happy everyday life is happening right now!

Serenity is important in everyday life that goes beyond generations. On the other hand, there can be great differences in experiences and the points of view between generations and also many different visions of the future. During the small group discussions, great insights were made about communality and the future: “What we all have in common is that all of us wants to discuss and make visions about the world in a positive way.”

“The service that looks like me is humane and self-defined”

There should be more and more visibly available assistance, so as to dare to ask for it. Easy-to-reach, low-threshold encounters would be needed. On the other hand, detective work is needed to find those who need help. Services should be designed to take into account individuals and their needs. Good services are flexible, customized and self-defined.

There is a need for personal contact, equality, and a coaching and stimulating atmosphere. Regardless of age, people should have the right to hold on to things that are important to themselves. It is not a matter of putting things on a particular mould, but more acceptance of differences of the elderly.

“Get old in time”

Old age is a precious stage in life. In addition to proactive services, preparing one´s own ageing should be done in a timely manner. Planning your own ageing requires information about building a new everyday life. This means information about volunteering opportunities, forms of living, resident associations, neighbourhood circle activities and organizations, possibilities of mobility, exercise and hobbies, transportation, and the digital and other services available.

In an increasingly digital and web-based world of tomorrow, common everyday activities, such as banking and healthcare, are increasingly accessible only by smart devices that are not yet designed for the elderly. In order to survive in the digital world, older people need support in addition to their smart devices.

“Get to know in time what is ahead of you and make bold choices. Ageing is not the end of life, but the beginning of the rest of your life. ”

Photos: Anu Ipatti


  • Toini Harra is an occupational therapist, Licentiate of Philosophy and Doctor of Social Sciences. She works as a principal lecturer in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Toini has been working as an expert of user-centred orientation and researcher in PaDigi project and project manager in project 6Aika: HIPPA – Wellbeing and Better Sheltered housing through Digitalisation.
  • Leila Lintula is an occupational therapist and Master of Health Science. She works as a senior lecturer in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, School of Wellbeing. Leila has been working as a researcher of user-centred orientation in PaDigi project and works as an expert of wellbeing and participation in project 6Aika: HIPPA – Wellbeing and Better Sheltered housing through Digitalisation. She is interested in the individual’s coping in everyday life and the solutions that support it.


Ataçocuğu, Soile 2018. Naapuruuspiiri yhdistää naapurit, yrittäjät ja vapaaehtoiset. Ympäristöministeriö. Alkuperäinen julkaisu 2016. Available in Finnish: https://www.ymparisto.fi/fi-FI/Asuminen/Ikaantyneiden_asuminen/Puheenvuoroja/20142016/Soile_Atacocugu_Naapuruuspiiri_yhdistaa_%2837671%29

Harra, Toini ja Lintula, Leila 2018a. Arvot ohjaavat käyttäjälähtöistä kehittämistä. Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu. Available in Finnish: https://blogit.metropolia.fi/geroblogi/2018/11/30/arvot-ohjaavat-kayttajalahtoista-kehittamista/

Harra, Toini ja Lintula, Leila 2018b. Käyttäjälähtöisyys älykkään palveluasumisen kehittämisessä. Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu. Available in Finnish: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-328-099-1

Hippa – Hippa Hyvinvointia ja parempaa palveluasumista digitalisaation avulla 2018. Available in Finnish: https://6aika.fi/uusi-hippa-hanke-kehittaa-alykasta-palveluasumista/

Jolanki, Outi, Leinonen, Emilia, Rajaniemi, Jere, Rappe, Erja, Räsänen, Tiina, Teittinen, Outi ja Topo, Päivi. 2017. Asumisen yhteisöllisyys ja hyvä vanhuus. Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminnan julkaisusarja 47/2017.

Onnellista lähiöasumista elinkaarikorttelissa. Available in Finnish: http://omatesoma.fi/elinkaarikortteli

Timeout. Available https://www.sitra.fi/en/timeout/#dialogue-tools


03/02/2020 - Minna Kilpeläinen

HIPPA´s collaboration companies presented their work in Assistive Technology -event in Tampere

HIPPA had its department at the Assistive Technology -event Apuvälinemessut from 7th to 9th November 2019. HIPPA´s collaboration companies were also featured in Hippa’s shelter. The experience was rewarding for everyone: networking, new contacts and some sales for companies, too. HIPPA also launched a new innovation competition, where the challenge was to find digital products and services that support functional living with possibilities to participate, improve safe living and enhance the meaning and quality of living. The competition was open until January 15, 2020.

Toini Harra launched the innovation competition.

The companies Solentium, Kwork Innovations, LivingSkills, Onerva Hoivaviestintä, Medeka, Memocate and Voimin were involved the Assistive Technology -event Apuvälinemessut with HIPPA. All of them also had a presentation for the event´s audience. According to the feedback from the companies, they mainly wanted to find new customer contacts and partners. Visibility together with HIPPA was important for companies.

Kaisa Nyberg from LivingSkills wanted to tell the audience that motivation and rehabilitation are about genuine participation. LivingSkills has developed a digital motivation tool that strengthens the motivation of a rehabilitee to work to enhance personal recovery. The tool involves the client into the centre of their own rehabilitation by reinforcing the dialogue between the client and the coach. Nyberg attracted partners, potential customers and even export opportunities in HIPPA´s stand.

Kaisa Nyberg and Helen Chambers, LivingSkills

Mari Kuuttila from Kwork Innovations introduced Chatbot at the fair and explained how it can be used in health care. “The change in people’s behaviour has created the opportunity to implement chatbot services. Among other things, the use of instant messaging has increased and information is sought independently, quickly and flexibly”, said Mari Kuuttila. According to her, Chatbot allows very flexible, safe and fast data handling.

Mari Kuuttila from Kwork Innovations telling about Chatbot to Päivi Meriläinen and Jaana Kokko both from HIPPA.

Janne Rouhiainen from Solentium emphasized that rehabilitation must feel good and bring some joy to everyday life. Solentium has developed a memory game and a rehabilitation game, which are suitably challenging but also relaxing to use. Rehabilitation takes place under the guise of play almost unnoticed.

Janne Rouhianen presenting Solentium´s memory game Memoera.

Medeka’s Kalle Punto presented the Reitti (Route) software solution, which increases the motivation for training and rehabilitation. Punto was very pleased with his collaboration with HIPPA: he felt that through HIPPA project he could prove Reitti to be an excellent demonstration of the improvement of motivation in a real environment in the gym of the Pirkanmaa Senior Services´ Kuuselakeskus. The testing process of HIPPA had provided Medeka with much-needed information and the production was also commercialized. Kalle Punto got more customer contacts from Apuvälinemessut.

Kalle Punto, Medeka

Memocate presented an interactive training programme to professionals involved in the treatment of memory disorders. In her speech, Sanna Kaski emphasized that the role of the nurse is to facilitate the interaction so that it is easy for the person with a memory disorder to express him-/herself.

Sanna Kaski talking about Memocate´s communication education.

Ville Niemijärvi of Onerva introduced a voice-guided virtual assistant to the elderly. Onerva has developed its product also with HIPPA processes and received support as an entrepreneur. “Developing artificial intelligence and robotics requires collaboration between customers, service providers and technology developers. Finland offers an excellent opportunity for this with various testbeds, living labs, etc. Collaboration with the public sector, for example, works well”, Niemijärvi said.

HIPPA´s Toini Harra and Onerva´s Ville Niemijärvi

Hanna Holma and Satu Niskanen from Voimin participated in the event to discuss the home rehabilitation. According to them, home rehabilitation costs the municipality more than home care at first, but in the long run, it saves significantly when it comes to resolving everyday challenges and tasks on his/her own. Voimin gained new partners at Apuvälinemessut and also networked with the other companies involved in HIPPA. They got ideas about how digitalisation could make home rehabilitation more fluent. For example, LivingSkills, which focuses on improving rehabilitation motivation, had inspirational potential from the perspective of Voimin.

Hanna Holma and Satu Niskanen, Voimin

HIPPA also asked the visitors of the event their preferences for the meaningful living environment. There were any dreams, needs and aspirations written to the flip papers and several people had the same thoughts. 22 respondents highlighted their own and unique homes. Accessibility was mentioned 14 times and safety issues 13 times. 15 respondents wanted to live close to nature and some wanted also to have pets in their home. 11 respondents wanted to have community and nice people around, and 11 needed activities and inspiration. In addition, it was desired to have peace, warmth, beauty and cleanliness in the home environment, and the services were needed close to home.

The visitors told their dreams about meaningful living by writing them on the flip papers.

HIPPA made its work known also in three presentations. HIPPA’s project managers from all three universities of applied sciences Toini Harra, Kirsi Jokinen and Tarja Heinonen, gave examples of business collaboration.

“We wanted to highlight the importance of user-driven co-creation to make solutions truly necessary and functional, and to bring well-being and safety to the residents,” Kirsi Jokinen said.

On Saturday, Toini Harra focused attention on the current challenge of cybersecurity. When developing digital products for elderly care and service housing, it is particularly important that the data collected by the products and services remain secure and work only for the purpose for which they are designed. According to Harra, users of digital products and services must be well involved in the development processes and also aware of cybersecurity.

For the HIPPA team, spending three days with companies was a rewarding experience. In addition to getting new contacts between HIPPA team members from Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu but also with very many new people. It was a joy to everyone.

Suvi Hagström and Harri Hahkala built an event department using the elements of Simulavenue test house.

“I think HIPPA got great visibility, the department was buzzing, and the companies seemed happy to be involved. The event gave also the opportunity to visit companies whose product/service had aroused interest before the event. New collaboration possibilities were found. During the event, I was able to talk to other HIPPA team members better than usual”, Suvi Hagström said.

From the left: Kirsi Jokinen and Eliisa Niilekselä from Oulu UAS, Päivi Meriläinen from the City of Oulu, Harri Hahkala, Panu Karhinen and Minna Kilpeläinen from Metropolia UAS, Vanessa Morchio from Solentium, Toini Harra from Metropolia UAS, Suvi Hagström from Tampere UAS, Jaana Kokko from the City of Oulu and Ville Niemijärvi from Onerva.

Text and photos: Minna Kilpeläinen

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03/02/2020 - Tarja Heinonen

HIPPA-project´s benchmarking trip to Sittard, The Netherlands

How does a hospital without doctors’ and nurses´ offices sound to you? How about a hospital where the architecture is primarily designed to serve the customer? Or what do you think about a hospital where the patients use their own clothes?

HIPPA project team visited in Sittard, The Netherlands, to learn about a change of care culture at one of Europe’s most innovative hospitals. At the same time, customer-oriented and community-based service solutions for older people were introduced.

Zuyderland, the partner organisation of TAMK already in earlier Active Ageing in Europe project, hosted Hippa team during our visit in late November last year. Zuyderland is one of the biggest private elderly care and health service providers in the southern Netherlands. 

The visiting program started in the elderly service centre of Glana. We were told about the current service housing in Glana and their plans for the future. Within five years an area consisting of many small service houses will be constructed. Residents are free to move in the park surrounded by these buildings. The design of the entity resembles a village of memory disorder people like Hogewey. Safety technology will be in a key role to ensure residents to move freely in the area.  

In Glana we heard e.g. new plans for service housing and housing of memory disorder people.

Human and customer orientation are emphasized in care service in the Netherlands. It seems that also family members and close ones as well as volunteers participate more actively in elderly people’s lives and care as in Finland. In the courtyard of Glana service centre, live chickens were walking around. On our visiting day, the clown was entertaining residents as well as visitors of various ages.

The clown of Glana service house was just photographed during our visit.

Spaciousness and sense of community drew attention

From Glana we moved to Hoogstaete service house. We were very delighted with Hoogstaete’s spacious and bright entrance hall. The premises serve as a meeting place for the neighbourhood, “a common living room”. Tall windows in resident rooms enable the large view to the close nature. Thanks to wide doors it’s easy to move from place to place even with an aid device.  The pool table in common space is in active use by male residents.

Hoogstaete’s spacious and bright entrance hall was fascinating.
Cheerful group photo with a resident of Hoogstaete.

The nurse shortage is nowadays an actual challenge in the Netherlands as well.  Zuyderland is cooperating with a local educational institute where they are training e.g. immigrants to caring tasks. Increasing attractiveness of elderly care and finding solutions for lack of caretakers are current challenges which connect Finland and Netherlands. These were discussed during the visit.

Project coordinator Lieke Stevens introduced us an interesting project “In de Zorg – Uit de Zorgen”, which focused on training immigrants to practical nurses.

Hospital like a hotel

The impressive hospital Zuyderland was the third place we visited. The clarity and pleasantness of entrance hall resembled more a hotel than a hospital. While planning this hospital logistic solution of different buildings like airports and industrial plants were utilized. On the background, there was also an ambition of a place and environment that supports healing.

The Finnish artwork decorates the entrance hall of Zuyderland hospital.

The hospital had been created to be an aesthetically pleasing entity. Processes had been planned to be quite functional and transparent for the patient. Appointment rooms were located on the first two floors and patients go to the room from reception hall while staff operated from the back. Patient transfers are minimized. Doctors and nurses move between rooms instead of patient. This is quite nice from the customer and hygiene point of view. Professionals can easily switch and continue working at different workstations using an ID card.

The openness of the hospital premises was a refreshing experience.

All patient rooms are single rooms. The central corridor inward is functional and wide. There were sitting groups and coffee point in the corridor and the flooring material is parquet, which makes space more home-like.

The wide corridor increases functionality.

In the patient rooms communication and room management, such as lighting and curtain shading, work with a tablet attached to the bed. The family member has the opportunity to stay overnight in the patient room on the couch, which can be converted into a bed if needed. It is noteworthy that patients in the hospital wear their own clothes. All this is aiming to a home-like atmosphere and healing environment.

Solutions which emphasizes patients’ independency engage patients and their closed ones to be active actors in the healing process.
Quiet room in the hospital was impressive. It’s possible to listen to sound from quiet rooms’ events in the patient rooms.
The transport robot.

Operational processes of Hospital have been refined to the peak of efficiency. Robots take care of transporting goods from storage to the bedward. The staff can redeem clean work clothes from the machine with their ID card and return them to the same place.

The hosts of the visit also shed light on their plans for the new Smart Health Center 2030; more intelligence, but still customer ahead.

Keeping human at the forefront in the development

In the Netherlands, the challenges in health care are similar to those in Finland, for example, the nurse shortage. What stayed in mind from the visit was how much more courageous Sittard has begun to address the challenges, even breaking the general trend in healthcare development. Operations have been developed keeping human at the forefront by utilizing technology, digitalization and developing more economically efficient operating models.

In Finland, we need not only courage and boldness but also projects like HIPPA, which enable different service and product testing and development in real user environments. The strategic direction is chosen by the Smart Health Center hospital project, ‘The best care, as much as home as possible”, sounds a suitable slogan also to Finland.

Dinner together completed the productive day. It was decided that cooperation will continue on May in Tampere and in Helsinki.

Text and photos: Tarja Heinonen, Suvi Hagström, Elina Ritola and Tarja Tittonen.


20/08/2019 - Toini Harra

Developing digital products for service housing through co-creation

The future sheltered housing needs will not be solved solely by increasing the number and skills of the staff. In addition to that, digital products and services are needed. In previous projects we have found out, that co-creation enables user-driven development. This is what we want to improve in the 6Aika project: HIPPA – Wellbeing and better service housing through digitalisation. The first co-creation event was held on December 2018 with IOTAS. IOTAS develops a smart wristband.

Pekka Koistinen from IOTAS presented their product in co-creation session of HIPPA project.

User-centered and multidisciplinary co-creation

Enabling residents to have a safe and meaningful life through digital products and services requires understanding about residents and employees and their everyday lives in a sheltered housing environment (Harra and Lintula 2018). Service (or sheltered) housing is a wicked problem right now, and new solutions are needed to address it. The best solutions can be found through co-creation (Rittel and Webber 1973).

Harra, Mäkinen and Sipari (2012) have found that the most acute wicked problems to be solved by co-creation are the development of work community activities, co-operation between organizations, and the development of working methods for working life and education. In addition to these, co-creation suits also well for the development of sheltered housing products and services.

At the heart of multidisciplinary co-creation are the needs of the users. New ideas, development proposals and best solutions are the results of active and diverse dialogue (Laudan 1996). It requires the product or service, university experts and students, and innovative companies. Co-creation can enhance user and customer-centred development alongside producer-centred operations.

Co-creation improves the quality of development and strengths the participant’s skills to analyze and conceptualize his/her experiences. Also, the results are put into practice already during the development process. Participants’ well-being is improved when they can feel that they are co-operating meaningfully. (Harra, Mäkinen and Sipari, 2012.)

Co-creation is born and lives in multidisciplinary dialogue

Each co-creation event is unique and the success depends on many factors. According to Kokkonen (2012), the first needed thing is to find motivated participants who know the topic from different points of view. It is also necessary to find the appropriate time to go through the subject. Space must be desirable and easily accessible. The motivators to participate can be the process itself and new contacts. Co-creation events create an ecosystem that overrides competition between participants. The level of appeal, comprehensibility, and difficulty involved in the topic will encourage participants to take up the issue.

During the co-creation event, all participants also met individually. In the photo: Mona Roman from Metropolia, Pekka Koistinen from IOTAS and Tuomas Rantala from the Service Center Helsinki.

Planning the co-creation event well beforehand helps the facilitator to effectively use the time and focus on the essentials of the event. However, the facilitators have to be prepared to make changes for the plan during the event. Participants’ expectations and goals may be different from what is planned, a section of the plan can be dealt with more quickly, or some topics need to be viewed more thoroughly. In spite of these changes, one more task is to ensure, that the thread of the event is maintained, the focus is not lost, and co-creation flows.

Instead of compromise or consensus, co-creation seeks polyphony and understanding that is built together. Because the problems in sheltered housing are complex, there is no right or wrong solution. In co-creation process participants study the needs and suitable solutions for the development of sheltered housing.

By using co-creation, you can

  • create an inspiring atmosphere
  • increase possibilities to participate
  • strengthen the sense of being a meaningful part of the group or issue
  • balance communication between quiet and loud participants
  • encourage participants by bringing up their expertise
  • share the experiences, knowledge and skills of the participants for the common use
  • enhance equal working and decision-making in the direction of a goal that is set together.

Case: Co-creation with IOTAS

The two-hour co-creation event with IOTAS took place in December 2018 at the sheltered house in Myllypuro. A company representative and staff from the sheltered house and Metropolia were present.

Co-creation process consisted of five phases, (Figure 1).

Picture 1, The five steps of co-creation.

Introductions and tuning in

Introducing the participants and tuning in by giving up roles and leaving the day´s work outside the room was a way to create an open atmosphere. This supported and encouraged participants to have an equal and interactive discussion.

The staff from Myllypuro had lots of tips to tell. Facilitators Panu Karhinen and Leila Lintula from Metropolia (standing) and other participants (from the left: Anna Alhonen, Pekka Koistinen, Tuomas Rantala, Maija Hyttinen and Toini Harra) listened with interest.

In order to allow participants to participate and bring their expertise, the goals of the HIPPA project and the purpose of co-creation were described as background. They created a common understanding of the goal of co-creation. When the expectations of the participants were heard, they were more committed to the work and helped the facilitators to guide the work in the right direction. This supported participants to focus more on important issues and keep the discussion within limits.

The participants’ expectations towards the co-creation were to get more opportunities to come up with ideas and to develop them together as well as to generate new ideas to drive the product forward. In order to make this happen, they saw that the needs for the product-related development should be identified together and the development work should focus on concrete actions.

Anna Alhonen and Laura Jyrä from Myllypuro were eager to bring out the views of users.

Creating added value for the company´s product

In order to create added value for the product, we customized tables with value canvases (see, for example, Liikkanen 2018) to structure and to orientate the focus of discussion towards goals.

Describing the features of the product helped participants to understand the designation and the technology of the product.

Through a discussion of the benefits of the product, the participants learned about the potential of the product to improve the quality of life and care of the residents of the sheltered housing units and the work of the staff.

The usability of the product and the extension of its purpose were achieved by directing the discussion to the future users, their needs and the operations of the service centre. For example, for usability issues, a product designed for the wrist could be unsuitable for a person with memory impairment who don’t like to have anything around the wrist. Also, they discussed technical issues related to the security of supply and charging time of the product. Finally, the discussion directed to issues, such as product-related data protection, product compatibility and interfacing with different systems used in social and health care emerged.

Increasing listening and understanding is essential in co-creation. Panu Karhinen and Leila Lintula wrote down the participants’ comments. Sitting: Tuomas Rajala, Maija Hyttinen and Toini Harra.

Importance of the co-creation for participants

In the reflecting phase, we were interested in participants’ experiences of co-creation as a model of product development and its relevance to themselves.

We used open questions to bring the experiences up. Each participant answered two questions of their choice:

  1. Today, I found interesting …
  2. New for me was, …
  3. Useful for me was …
  4. I hoped to have more …

The company representative had a positive experience with co-creation. He considered the views of the professionals and the enthusiasm of the participants for the product importance for further development.

Other participants saw co-creation as an interesting way of working. It created a good, interesting and varied discussion about the product. There were confluences between the product and the user’s needs. During the co-creation were discussed concrete practical issues and wishes for the development. The participants found it important also to test the product.

Did we meet the expectations and what next?

The co-creation event was finished by examining the participants’ expectations and their fulfilment. In addition, the company agreed on the next steps to continue co-operation. The event was concluded by thanking the participants for their active participation in the co-creation. Co-creation brought the users and developers of the product together in an enriching way.


  • Toini Harra is an occupational therapist, Licentiate of Philosophy and Doctor of Social Sciences by education. She works as a principal lecturer in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Toini has been working as an expert of user-centred orientation and researcher in PaDigi project and project manager in project 6Aika: HIPPA – Wellbeing and Better Sheltered housing through Digitalisation.
  • Leila Lintula is an occupational therapist and Master of Health Science by education. She works as a senior lecturer in Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, School of Wellbeing. Leila has been working as a researcher od user-centred orientation in PaDigi project and works as an expert of wellbeing and participation in project 6Aika: HIPPA – Wellbeing and Better Sheltered housing through Digitalisation. She is interested in the individual’s coping in everyday life and the solutions that support it.

Photos: Minna Kilpeläinen


Harra T. & Lintula L. (2018). Käyttäjälähtöisyys älykkään palveluasumisen kehittämisessä. Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-328-099-1

Harra T., Mäkinen E. & Sipari S. (2012). Yhteiskehittelyllä hyvinvointia. Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu.

6Aika: Hippa – Hyvinvointia ja parempaa palveluasumista digitalisaation avulla (2018). https://6aika.fi/uusi-hippa-hanke-kehittaa-alykasta-palveluasumista/

Kokkonen J. (2012). Fasilitoinnin ulkoiset puitteet. An article in Yhteistoiminnan rakentajat. Kokemuksia fasilitoinnista. (Toim.) Linkola J. & Kokkonen J.. Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu. Kulttuuri ja luova ala. https://www.metropolia.fi/fileadmin/user_upload/TK/Julkaisut/pdf/2012_linkola_yhteistoiminnan_rakentajat_MIKRO.pdf

Laudan L. (1996). Beyond Positivism and Relativism. Boulder: Westview Press.

Liikkanen L. (2018). Value Proposition Canvas suomeksi. https://medium.com/value-stream-design/value-proposition-canvas-suomeksi-f102e6c61873

Rittel H. W. & Webber M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences(4), 155–169.


19/08/2019 - Tarja Heinonen

“This is much nicer than staring at the white wall” – The first user testing of Hippa project started in Tampere

Testing in progress with a good feeling. Students are following as Helinä Rokkanen is warming up in the woods.

The gym at Kuusela Senior Center in Härmälä, Tampere, was filled with cheerful and pleased comments when the users tested a new exercise program. Residents of Pirkanmaa Senior Services Kuuselakeskus and Lähitori customers had an opportunity to try out Medeka Ltd´s training software with the NuStep pedal device during January-February. The testers could ride the roads of Paris and paths in nature. This was the first product testing of HIPPA project with a co-operation company.

”This is a great way to see the world – more than just Härmälä!”

Senior houses of Pirkanmaa Senior Services act as an authentic testing environment of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) in HIPPA project. Kuusela Senior Center situated in Härmälä, Tampere, is one of them. Residents of Kuusela Senior Center and Lähitori customers exercise in the gym independently or guided.  This testing is based on the company’s need to get feedback from just elderly people. The exercise program of Medeka is already quite familiar among athletes but now the company has an interest to widen their market also for elderly people.

Testing was carefully planned together with TAMK, Pirkanmaa Senior Services and Medeka Oy. The objective of the testing is to provide user feedback and experience how the product is suited for this user group: does the exercise program motivate users to exercise more and how these users feel the usability of the product.

The successful testing process was ensured through careful planning and implementation of the product. Kimmo Ahokanto and Kalle Punto from Medeka, student Maija Hurskainen, project manager Tarja Heinonen from TAMK, student Martti Rajala and physiotherapist Marianne Lepisto from Kuusela Senior Center were taking exercise program into operation.

The practical implementation of testing in Kuusela Senior Center

Project manager Tarja Heinonen and project coordinator Suvi Hagström from  TAMK coordinated the co-creation and testing process. Physiotherapy students Maija Hurskainen and Martti Rajala from TAMK brought a fresh view to the implementation of testing. They took their five weeks’ practical training of study course “Physiotherapy for elderly” in Kuusela Senior Center. As a part of this training, they participated in HIPPA project as testers.

Student Maija Hurskainen learned to use the exercise program before the actual testing process.

In Medeka’s exercise program it’s possible to choose routes between nature or cities according to user’s choice while running on the treadmill or exercise biking (“video walk”/”video run”). The user is as walking, running or biking along the route. In the gym in Kuusela Senior Center NuStep-device was assembled in front of the TV. NuStep is a sitting-position cross-trainer (HUR), so it is suitable for a wide range of user groups.

Opinions of the elderly are the key point

Students Maija and Martti together with physiotherapist Marianne recruited 20 elderly persons to test the new device. The age range of users was 64-90 years. Most of them were customers of Lähitori. The test group represented very well the heterogenic group of elderly people altogether. Although many of them were very active physically.

The students guided each one of the users thoroughly to use the exercise program. This enabled the successful testing process. It’s important to ensure that users feel their opinions and experiences are the most valuable issues for testers.

Helinä Rokkanen is testing Medeka’s exercise program.

At first, users tested exercise program only guided, but after a couple of weeks, they were also able to test the program and NuStep by themselves. Students made user instructions in the wall of the gym. Immediately after that, they find a couple of enthusiastic seniors biking and warming up independently.

Travelling or exploring nature while exercising

Thanks to the testing process a lot of valuable experiences were gathered. The users seemed to be more pleased with nature routes than city routes. Nice sceneries evoke memories of own journeys and thoughts of animals and plants in woods. It was nice to choose the route of the familiar city for “video walk”. For example in the route of Paris users were memorising their own trip to this nice city and the art exhibition in the Arc de Triomphe. One of the testers chose the city route because a close friend was living there. Also, the history of a certain city was a selection criterion.

“Hey, there are stairs in the Arc de Triomphe and there was also an art exhibition!”

According to the users, the routes and beautiful sceneries attracted interest and curiosity. This increases the motivation to exercise. They also tended to forget they were exercising – time was like flying! Everyone of users would recommend this exercise program to the other elderly persons: in their opinion, this was a great way to experience new things, to focus thoughts elsewhere, to activate mood, to encourage to pedal more and to get content for exercise. Also, they mentioned that even though someone couldn’t get moving it’s still possible to watch nice sceneries.

There are over 30 different city or nature routes to choose in Medeka’s exercise program.

What was achieved by co-creation?

At the end of the testing process, the feedback meeting was organised in Kuusela Senior Center. There were representatives from Pirkanmaa Senior Services, Kuusela Senior Center, Medeka Ltd and TAMK including students.

The company was very satisfied with the implementation as a whole. They got very valuable feedback from genuine end-users of their product. 

“Marvellous”, Kalle Punto and Kimmo Ahokanto from Medeka said. “ We gave project developers free hands to work and it paid off – all our expectations were met. Co-operation with TAMK worked brilliantly and we got our voice very well heard. We are more than satisfied to be part of this!”

Also, the quick and organised testing process was praised. The feedback from the testing process reinforced the company’s expectation that the exercise program is well suitable for elderly people. Improvements for the product were also asked from the main characters of the testing process, elderly people. So they were almost like innovators in product development.

Directors and superiors of Pirkanmaa Senior Services and Kuusela Senior Center were also listening experiences of the testing with enthusiasm. Pirkanmaan Senior Services was interested to continue using this exercise program even after the testing period. A good feature of the product is the easy movability from one senior house to another.

Students were also satisfied with participation in HIPPA project. They got a good knowledge of project activity and work with elderly people. 

Students who will be future professionals of rehabilitation were also satisfied with participation in HIPPA project. They got a good knowledge of project activity and work with elderly people. “It was nice to participate in this kind of implementation, where the goal is to find ways to motivate elderly people to exercise. We find this very important”, Maija Hurskainen and Martti Rajala said.

Meeting elderly people also gave positive experiences. “It was fulfilling to communicate with elderly people more intimately. People were perhaps more willing to open up during testing than in other situations. The testing process went even better than we anticipated. People were so glad to take part in it.”

Writers: Tarja Heinonen ja Suvi Hagström / TAMK
Photos: Suvi Hagström