Citizen profiles for the Domain of Culture and Leisure

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City of Helsinki - Culture and leisure

Motivation based citizen profiles and service design tools to advance a new culture of service development and value creation

Service design, Transformation design, Concept design, Customer & visitor experience design

The domain of culture and leisure of City of Helsinki wanted to advance a citizen-centered approach in the organization. In collaboration with the client and Pentagon Insight we identified motivation based citizen profiles and service design tools as a key solution for increasing empathy towards the needs of citizens and for developing future activities and services. There was a need for developing a more indepth and vast understanding of citizens of Helsinki as the previous insights were mainly based on citizens who are active users of culture and leisure services.

The various needs of culture and leisure services as well as the organizational change to unite several bureaus under one domain of culture and ceisure created a demanding context for the project. A collaborative mindset and practices were not common and needed to be learned and rooted in the organization as well as a shared, citizen-centered vocabulary.


We approached this challenge by first setting up a core team including key stakeholders and changemakers from culture and leisure services and learned about the previous work done under the different bureaus. The project was built from the beginning to empower and enable as many employees as possible by creating several opportunities to participate and to be heard during the process. In the research phase and workshops we also actively built opportunities for employees across different services to get to know each other.

The initial version of the tool booklet, including the citizen profiles and service design tools was tested during the pilot phase in different development projects. The aim was to gather feedback of the functionality of the tools and understand how the profiles and service design methods helped and supported the development work.


Two booklets were created as a concrete outcome of the project: a booklet about the motivation based citizen profiles related to the domain of culture and leisure, and a service design method booklet to guide the use of the profiles and development work. We also produced a multitude of of digital material and work sheets that are freely downloadable at

To ensure the success and impact of the project we agreed with the client to commit to a long term project as well as measure the impact. To advance the implementing of new thinking and methods we organized training sessions that introduced the process of developing the profiles as well as ways to apply them to development work. After the implementation phase we evaluated the success with internal and external indicators; the domain of culture and leisure has put the methods and approach into practice and they have been included as part of the impact target for the whole organization.

The client organizations are usually looking for a comprehensive shift in mindsets and operational models. To achieve this goal and all the benefits, a long term collaboration and engagement is required.

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The aim was to focus on citizens who were usually not reached by or interested in culture and leisure services. As well as to increase understanding of citizens as individuals whose attitude and motivations towards culture and leisure services vary depending on the situation. Insights and understanding were mainly gathered with digital diaries by 35 citizens. Also the employees of culture and leisure services took actively part in the process and had discussions with citizens and conducted ethnographic observations. A special set of research tools and a guide booklet was created for employees to be able to learn and conduct research independently, and thus create first hand understanding and engagement in the project. Also existing research reports and citizen understanding were analysed comprehensively.

Through collaboration we were able to create a common language and advance citizen-oriented thinking in the domain of culture and leisure. Citizen profiles clarified and expanded the understanding about the motivations behind the choices and actions of citizens. The profiles also worked as a shared focal point and toolset that brought together the several bureaus that were united in the organizational change. The service design methods and tools provided an easy way to take into account the various needs and motivations of citizens in different situations.