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KELA as a key partner: Multidisciplinary cooperation

The partnership between Laurea and Kela was launched by student projects.


Laurea and Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, agreed to cooperate in key partnerships and, in the autumn of 2020, the partnership was launched by a variety of means, including student projects. However, both Kela and Laurea also see new opportunities for cooperation.

- Many areas of Kela operations coincide well with what we’re doing at Laurea in terms of education and research activities. Examples include service design or topics related to data processing, explains Lead Service Designer Janne Mattila of Kela.

- From Laurea’s point of view, Kela is a very diverse actor, so cooperation can be planned with almost all of our education programmes, adds Ruusa Ligthart, the regional Service and Business Development Manager responsible for key partner cooperation at Laurea.

Kela and Laurea engaged in their first cooperative effort in the spring, when a group of Laurea students tested a speech bot serving Kela's customers. In user testing, students were a good test group, as the examination included in particular how a service bot that understands speech copes with issues related to studying and, for example, student income limits.

In the autumn, cooperation continued in two study units. The first of these was part of the Service Design study unit for UAS students, and the second was for Master’s degree students in Legal design and Expertise. The results of these projects were presented to the commissioners at Kela at the end of the year.

Kela gave deep consideration to ideas developed by students in projects. Janne Mattila, who works in Kela’s innovation unit, emphasises the role of development activities as part of the everyday routine of all Kela employees:

- In all our operations, we strive for a customer-oriented end result. Especially in online services and e-services, we are undergoing major reform, and customer-orientation and development of customer experience is strongly present in everything we do, explains Mattila.