From digital layers to service blueprint: Aalto IDBM students served fresh ideas to Smart Otaniemi

A group of Aalto University IDBM students has been working relentlessly on a vision for Smart Otaniemi digital future. Seven months of hard work culminated in a final event and distinctive design outcomes at the end of May.


Smart Otaniemi had a privilege to be presented at the Aalto University’s International Design Business Management (IDBM) course in Spring semester 2022. The innovation platform and its conventions and structures are continuously evolving, and in need of an intense scrutiny. In the end of last year City of Espoo, Kone, Nokia, and VTT launched the search for smart digital structures to support the cooperation. A multitalented team of students – Jasmin, Milla, Antti-Mikael, Nikolas and Fanny – were up for a challenge, and after an eventful journey of many twists and turns, created a comprehensive visionary view on future of Smart Otaniemi.

The initial task to find solution for Digital Smart Otaniemi resulted to be somewhat narrow perspective to possibilities and challenges in hand, and the students ended up reframing it a little. During the process, the team conducted interviews with experts as well as different city actors, built and tested four different prototypes, and even travelled to Barcelona and Singapore to benchmark the best practices for smart city development. Eventually the determined work led to three reported solutions, instead of just one that was required:

  1. The concepts and prototypes for three layers of digital Smart Otaniemi
  2. Extensive benchmarking and learnings of similar hubs in Singapore and Barcelona
  3. Living Lab service blueprint

The work delivered was outstanding. As in many design projects, the process needed to be redirected and refocused several times. Finally, the team went to such lengths to deliver an extensive solution, that it totally amazed the Smart Otaniemi project team.

Vision for Smart Otaniemi 2032

As a part of the end report and solution package, the team presented a vision for Smart Otaniemi in 2032. What could Smart Otaniemi become in ten years’ time? Well, for example a beating heart of a vivid innovation ecosystem containing things such as Smart Otaniemi House, inclusive digital services, living labs and testbeds – and not to forget the social aspects: partnership building, citizen participation and student engagement.

And how do we to get there? The team provided not just handful, but altogether 47 activities for Smart Otaniemi to take with guidance of an impact matrix analysis. The service blueprint of a living lab uses the Zero Emission Mobility Hub, which currently is on top of Smart Otaniemi pipeline, as an example, but gives proposal on actions from different perspectives as well.

Heli Hidén, Smart Otaniemi representative and Service development, co-creation & innovation consultant at the City of Espoo, could not be happier with the work:

”Our IDBM team has done an amazing job, the two phased service blueprint on ZEM hub testbed will be used by both VTT and City of Espoo during the next steps and expansion of the project. It also serves as a model for other testbeds developed in the area.”

“Besides the making an extensive service path of testbed end-users and testbed companies, the IDBM team has supported international ecosystem matchmaking with the benchmarking learnings & connections. The model for three levels of innovation cluster digital platforms has already been an important base of the Digital Smart Otaniemi development.”

Overall, the project was a one step further on Smart Otaniemi’s way towards sustainable future.