Helsinki Early
Education and Care

Service design thinking applied to public early childhood education

#service design #coaching

Can you adopt a service design mentality in early education and day care?

An agile approach to increase dialogue with parents

The Helsinki Department of Early Education and Care had a relatively new team with an open attitude. They wanted to explore agile approaches and develop ways of working in municipal early education.

One of their main objectives was target group participation. The aim was to get families and children involved and reflect their needs in the development of processes, resources and personnel.

How to get parents involved


The process in a nutshell


• 200 day care managers involved in training days
• 200 interviews with parents



• Understanding families’ pains and gains
• Customer profiles


Early-Education-Kuudes-5• 18 service ideas to meet the pain points
• 9 ideas selected to test with parents


Early-Education-Kuudes-65 project plans to promote the most successful ideas

Nurturing a service design mentality

Kuudes worked with the staff at Helsinki Early Education and Care on a bold program to gain insight from different groups, to empower day care managers with new agile methods, and to create new tools for continuing dialogue and co-working with parents.

In the project, we trained over 200 day care managers and supervisors on how service design could benefit them in their everyday work. We found that introducing a service design mentality had a transformative, positive effect on target group understanding and development.

“The customer was thrilled that we listened to him. It’s so rare to get face to face dialogue.”

– Early childhood education worker

“I came to understand how many surprising things affect the customer experience.”

– Early childhood education worker

© Jussi Hellsten. 25.5.2014. City’s fruit tree garden is located at Malminkartano. There’s over 400 fruit trees and during this weekend they had open door days. &

© Jussi Hellsten. 25.5.2014.

How can you get service design mentality?
Do it like Helsinki Early Education and Care:

  1. 1.     Get wide staff engagement from the outset
  2. 2.    Arrange open encounters with customers and listen
  3. 3.    Focus on understanding customer behaviour and needs
  4. 4.    Encourage multi-disciplinary ideas and get people working together
  5. 5.    Think in terms of long-term development instead of pilot projects

For more information:

Jari Danielsson
Managing Director
+358 40 730 9612