The services will be easily accessible to all Espoo residents in the Iso Omena Service Centre.
One of a kind in the world: a service centre within a metro station
Something unique is about to become part of the Iso Omena shopping centre in Matinkylä, Espoo: a citizen service centre above a shopping centre and a metro station! It is quite unique. In this Centre, the customers can, among many other things, charge their travel cards, return library books and take their sick child to the health centre, all under the same roof.
"The aim of the Iso Omena Service Centre is to make everyday life easier. Professionals from different sectors serving their customers at the same location makes running errands easier. The person arriving will be warmly welcomed irrespective what service the person is demanding", says Anne Kanerva, Project Coordinator and Director of City Facts at the City of Espoo.
The Iso Omena Service Centre will house the Matinkylä area library, Kela (Social Insurance Institution of Finland), health centre, child health centre, youth services, city service unit as well as the laboratory and radiology services of HUS, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. The library, for example, stretches across the entire Service Centre: even the lobby of the health care centre is part of it!
"The Service Centre is a unique opportunity for the library to offer both traditional services as well as new kinds of services with partners in an important transportation hub", says Merja Pihlajamäki, Regional Manager of Library Services at the City of Espoo.
"Library is the force that brings everything together", says Jouni Leino, Head Designer and Interior Designer at Design Studio Jouni Leino.
Design Studio Jouni Leino is in charge of the interior design of the Service Centre. They used service design methods to plan the way the customer and the service provider come together. Service touchpoints and service strings were used to create ideal solutions for service placement.
Public services available in a new way
The Service Centre is an innovation in itself but it also generates them: when city employees from different branches come together it becomes a fruitful ground for new ideas.
"The Service Centre is a meeting place. Customer information and guidance to the services they need will become more streamlined as the service providers learn about each other's work and service concept. Because of this cooperation, we can provide a wider range of professional services for young people, for example", says Tiina Pasanen, Senior Youth Instructor at the City of Espoo Youth Services.
"The opening hours of the child health centre will be extended. We are approaching the new premises with a 'how can we help' attitude", Raija Vanhatalo, Manager of Health Care, points out.
Each employee's ability and willingness to help and guide matters. The citizen service centre is for all residents and customers and this is enhanced by the interior design.
When the planning of the Service Centre had already been ongoing for two years, the city design foundation Design Driven City (Toimiva kaupunki) joined the project. Design Driven City's role was to consider space use, architecture, activities and customer perspective.
"When we joined the project, most of the technical design was completed, so it became our role to emphasize the importance of customer perspective and to help the future personnel of the Service Centre to understand customers' needs and to support the professionals behind the services. It has been an extremely interesting and important project from the point of view of innovations", says Pablo Riquelme, City Designer at Design Driven City.
Design Driven City brought in students from the Laurea University of Applied Sciences and they had an important task in figuring out the service strings and conducting user surveys. The students made excellent work despite the tight schedule.
"Laurea has the know-how to produce research data but also the ability to create implementation concepts from a fresh perspective", says Riquelme.
The process has been long and demanding but the enthusiasm and faith in the project of the people involved has been admirable. Finding synergy benefits and creating new kinds of service concepts are a constant source of excitement.
The Iso Omena Service Centre is located on the 2nd floor of the Iso Omena shopping centre. It opened in August 2016.
The metro will make Matinkylä a significant public transportation hub. The new terminal with its bus connections will also improve access to Matinkylä from other parts of Espoo.