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Kela: Building a socially secure and human-centric future

Finnish society and its public sector are undergoing rapid change. To respond, Kela looked to futures scenarios.

The challenge

To recognise and respond to the consequences of pandemics, digitalization, demographic change, the climate crisis, inequality and scattered decision-making processes, the sector needs agility and practical insight. Kela wanted to use futures scenarios to help develop their customer service, operating models and the entire organization.


  • Practical insight for a socially secured future: from reactivity to proactivity.

  • Collaborative work on the future: more agility, motivation and readiness for inevitable change.

  • Comprehensive outlook on society: understanding shared goals and the customer perspective.

  • A starting point for developing foresight capabilities: practical tools for transformation.

What we did

With a diverse team of 56 people from Kela, including directors, service designers, ICT developers, innovators and experts in different operational areas, we worked to uncover the six most important themes with the biggest future impact on society at large and Kela as an organization. The themes were work and livelihood, health and welfare, cities and living, public services, digital services, and economy and consumption.

The team then split into six themed groups, each led by a facilitator. Before the first workshop, each group produced a comprehensive background study based on phenomenon maps. Engaging with their executive teams, the groups used the maps to identify signals related to available data and on-going trends and megatrends.

In the first workshop, the groups voted on the most important topics – e.g. form of pensions – and then chose alternative outcomes for them. These alternative outcomes were the base on which the various scenarios would be created. The groups then wrote a narrative for each topic, describing in detail what has to happen for the scenario to play out, and what that could mean for Kela.

In the second workshop, the teams presented their work and we discussed the opportunities and threats each scenario presented, how desirable and probable they were, and how they would affect Kela as a public body.

Getting an outside view on things and co-working is the best way for an organization to prepare for the future. Changing people's perspectives from daily routines to new possibilities increases motivation and helps to make better decisions today. We really enjoyed the workshops, and the content was inspiring. The insight gained through this project strengthens Kela on our way towards better social services and future-proof operations
Maria Leinvuo
Lead Designer, Management Support Unit, Kela

Why it matters

Instead of a study on probable scenarios, our collaboration provides Kela with practical help in preparing for the future. They are able to create nimbler strategies and implement them efficiently. When people realize that change is inevitable and they are engaged in responding to it, motivation and preparedness become part of the organizational DNA. The project was a good starting point for developing Kela’s foresight capabilities and an important part of its on-going transformation into a future-proof, resilient and human-centric service provider.

About Kela

Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, provides social security coverage for Finnish residents and Finns living abroad at the different stages of their lives. Kela provides social security in the forms of family benefits, health insurance, rehabilitation, basic unemployment security, basic social assistance, housing benefits, student grants, disability benefits and basic pensions. Kela operates under the supervision of Parliament.

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