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Mayor Jukka Mäkelä with the 2021 winners, Source: City of Espoo

Espoo announces 2021 Mayor’s Innovation Competition winners

Espoo announces 2021 Mayor’s Innovation Competition winners

The winning ideas explore wellbeing, health care and mental health

In April, Espoo’s Mayor Jukka Mäkelä invited companies and employees of the City to apply for the 10th edition of the Mayor’s Innovation Competition. With this competition, the Finnish city sought to find innovative ideas and reforms that would improve life in Espoo.

The 2021 competition was split into two series: Innovation and Potential Innovation. The first series was created for ideas that have already been implemented while the Potential Innovation series targeted ideas that were in development.

On 12 October 2021, Mayor Mäkelä announced and awarded the winners of the two series.

Winners of the Innovation series

Both series had two winners, with “Dialogue Tree” and “Assessment of the need for rehabilitation as part of periodic inspections of long-term sick people at health centres” winning the Innovation Series. Each team reportedly received EUR 5,000 for their work and ideas.

Employees of the City developed the “Dialogue Tree”: a tool that inspires people to reflect on the way they communicate. The tool creatively illustrates how we converse as interaction is depicted in the form of a branching tree.

“Dialogue Tree” proves that each speaker always chooses from one of three styles when communicating: cooperation, confrontation, or avoidance. According to the municipality, this tool has been extensively tested and allows people to develop key dialogue skills.

The second winner of the Innovation series examines the importance of periodic rehabilitation in patients with long-term illnesses. The new treatment approach seeks to combine nursing and rehabilitation to diminish the challenges faced by individuals with chronic illnesses.

Potential Innovation series focuses on mental health

The City of Espoo has also awarded two teams in the Potential Innovation Series. These are the “Mental Health House Counselling Centre” and the “Early support for child psychiatrists in clinics and daycares”. As their names suggest, both ideas focus on improving mental health services in Espoo. Both winners have received EUR 3,000.

With the “Mental Health House Counselling Centre”, employees of the City seek to bring together the public and private sector as well as experts and volunteers to help improve the mental health and substance abuse services in Espoo. This centre will be developed in response to the growing demand for mental health services in the Finnish city.

The second awarded idea aims to enhance child psychiatric services in clinics and kindergartens. Developed by the City of Espoo Child Psychiatric Unit, this model sets out to increase the competence of employees and focus on preventative work. Essentially, the model must provide children with high-quality support and guidance.

Aside from the aforementioned winners, three teams have won honourable mention prizes worth EUR 500. These teams developed ideas to support wellbeing, address challenges in education, and accelerate the city’s digital transformation.  

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