Kela, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, and Solita have studied the opportunities of artificial intelligence (AI) in a unique partnership that raised both national and international interest. What kinds of new things can AI offer Kela? How can future services be produced more effectively? “Our goal is for AI to improve daily lives in Finland as much as possible. This is an incredibly strategic partnership, which will have a significant effect on peoples’ lives”, says Janne Pulkkinen, Innovation Director at Kela.
Kela and Solita’s project, which began in early 2023, attempts to understand AI as a social, technological and societal phenomenon. Its goal is to create functional and widely effective social service concepts based on verified opportunities.
What’s key about the partnership has been studying the operational needs in a strategy-first manner: making AI serve. Kela and Solita have built a strategic picture that combines innovation, foresight and strategy.
AI helps Kela serve people in need of support
Kela wants to apply AI to things that will benefit Kela and its customers the most, such as on identifying the need for support and support applications. The goal of the partnership is to make use of AI to build service concepts that improve the service experience of Kela’s customers and help to produce services more effectively.
The aim is that society can better respond to changing social needs in a more individual-focused manner with an eye on life situations without the costs of service production growing to an unsustainable level.
“It is impossible to respond to individual, changing needs without smart automation or AI. We want to grow concepts in Kela’s operations in a way that they better match the citizens’ expectations and change daily lives at Kela and Finland as a whole”, says Solita’s leading consultant Marko Taipale.
You can’t ignore AI
Solita has made use of Kela’s previous future scenario work and considered the possible roles AI could play in the various scenarios that Kela strategically considers. How can AI change our view of the future? What kind of changes could be possible with AI?
Additionally, the project is a continuation of a previous Solita-Kela project on mental health phenomena.
Of the different scenarios that Kela presented, the most positive was a kind of “digital wonderland”. All activities that aim to make use of AI were focused on strengthening this positive scenario.
“In light of the scenarios from Kela’s foresight work, we are reaching for the ‘digital wonderland’. AI does have a role in every scenario, and it cannot be ignored. You have to focus on AI – whichever way the wind blows”, says Solita’s Taipale.
Society’s expectations of various AI solutions are high. However, much of them are hype; wide-ranging effective solutions have not really been implemented in Finland.
The partnership is currently in the social innovation potential solution experiment phase. During this phase, AI solutions are being actively deployed within the real organisational context of Kela but in a small scale to gain fast evidence. The primary objective is to understand the tangible impact of these AI solutions and uncover any unforeseen effects that may arise from the integration of this new technology.
Unique project with international interest
All businesses and organisations are desperately thinking about how to use artificial intelligence.
What’s key about the Kela-Solita partnership is the transition from identifying phenomena to creating solutions.
Solita has helped Kela study its operational needs in a strategy-first, systematic manner: First, we create a strategy and a vision of what we want and where.
Only after those are done, can we consider the role of AI and how it can be used to achieve our chosen targets.
“For AI solutions to be effective, they must always be linked to business and the company or organisation’s strategy. What’s been most important has been our highly strategic approach to the opportunities of AI. Step by step, we can grow the influence of generative AI in Kela’s operations”, says Solita’s Taipale.