The Six City Strategy

The Six City Strategy – Open and Smart Services is a strategy for sustainable urban development carried out by the six largest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. The strategy will be carried out between 2014 and 2020 with the aim of creating new know-how, business and jobs in Finland. The strategy is a part of the implementation of Finland's structural fund programme for sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020.

New know-how, business and jobs

The primary objective of the Six City Strategy is to strengthen Finland's competitiveness by using the country's six largest cities as innovation development and experimentation environments. The strategy aims to not only produce service innovations, but also to promote competitive business and employment.

The strategy is based on open operating models that let the entire city community participate in development work. The idea is that a functional city community is an entity consisting of citizens, companies, research and development operators and the authorities. The open operating model is based on the creation and testing of innovations, while also increasing productivity.

The Six City Strategy is nationally significant: the six largest cities in Finland are home to some 30% of the population. Harnessing the potential of the six cities as development environments also strengthens Finland's competitiveness by creating an internationally significant marketplace.

Video Smart Cities Work Together

City coordinator in Oulu:

Soile Jokinen, specialist, +358 50 322 2974, soile.jokinen (at) 

Open innovation platforms

Functional ecosystems, where the city community creates new solutions and new business together. Place, productized processes and people come together in order to create value through action. Cities enable the creation of new products and services that can be tested in real environments and innovation platforms, utilizing e.g. innovative procurement processes.

Jari Jokisalo, Program Manager, 6Aika Open Innovation Platforms (national coordination), +358 46 923 1397, jari.jokisalo (at)

Heikki Huhmo, Project Manager, 6Aika Open Innovation Platforms Oulu, +358 50 360 5940, heikki.huhmo (at)


Open data and interfaces

Cities open their public data for public and private users and harmonize their data interfaces, hence enabling the creation of new business and innovation.

Katri Korpela, Project Manager, Open Data, +358 44 703 2553, katri.korpela (at)
Avoin data -web page (in Finnish)


Open participation and customership

The city community develops new solutions with a customer and end-user approach. The solutions enable service innovations for businesses while reforming the public service structure. One of the development targets is  multichannel customer service systems. In addition, the cities improve the employment and participation of those in a weak position in the labour market.

Krista Piippo, Project Manager, Open Participation and Customership, +358 44 703 1211, krista.piippo (at)


Pilot and trial projects

The Six City Strategy has three focus areas: open innovation platforms, open data and interfaces, and open participation and customership.

The innovation platforms are used to create and test new services and products in real-world conditions. Meanwhile, the data opened up by the cities serves as the raw material for developing new services and operations. Finally, the principle of open participation and customership is to invite the entire city community to design and communally develop service innovations and customer processes. In addition to this, the principle promotes employment and participation, especially among people with low employment prospects.

In the strategy, the six cities work together on three-year spearhead projects in each of the three focus areas. These projects provide the basis for innovation activities and create the framework for the cooperation of the city community. The spearhead projects are supported by additional pilot and trial projects, which test and further develop the contents of the spearhead projects.


Collaboration is key

All of the strategy's projects are collaborative, each involving at least two operators based in the areas of the six cities. In addition to city organisations, these operators may include other public and third sector operators. Open calls for project applications, during which operators can submit applications for pilot and trial project funding, are usually held twice a year.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the six cities and the State of Finland are funding the Six City projects to the tune of nearly 80 million euros. In addition to this, projects will be funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). ERDF funding is governed by Uusimaa Regional Council, while ESF funding is governed by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Häme.

Further information

Smart Cities Work Together (Youtube video)

Oulu - Your Innovation Hub -leaflet (PDF)