Who are we?

Åbo Akademi University is the Swedish university in Finland, based in Turku (Åbo) but with a campus in Vaasa, the capital of the region of Ostrobothnia. Experience Lab is a R&D function at the Vaasa campus, with human-centred design, user experiences and the digital transition as our main areas of expertise. In OSIRIS, we are responsible for drawing the communication strategy and carrying it out.

We believe in designing processes and services according to the needs of the users (stakeholders and others) – and doing it trough a collaborative process involving them. We have employed these principles in creating communication strategies building on modern storytelling principles and the idea of choosing the tools after the target group.

We have worked with regional and business development in the field of digital content for a long time, as well as communication tools and services. Often in collaboration with the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia – which is why we ended up in the OSIRIS consortium as well.

What is our take on OSIRIS?

OSIRIS is a winning concept. We have a worthy cause – opening up regional policy instruments through open social innovation processes involving stakeholders in the regions – and a good network of partners around Europe, each with their own goals and challenges, but also with a lot of similarities. The topic is fairly abstract, but there are real and tangible challenges in the process – from creating job and education possibilities to putting open data resources to use for businesses and societies.

We believe that communication is the key to shared understanding, and that innovation and development processes spread out over time and distance benefit from design that takes both the differences and the similarities into account.

What have we learned during the first year?

We have found out that the communication strategy we devised and put into action works – videos reach further than leaflets, and understanding is best shared through conversation. Also, there are no shortcuts to a good result. A good project is built on good communication, and good communication requires resources, both from the organizing party and the participants. We have sought to bring forward the people and the stories behind the project.

Photo: Yvonne Backholm, communication officer, Kimmo Rautanen, project manager