Hospitality & Leisure project

MyHelsinki: helping people find the best of Helsinki

Helsinki is the Baltic Sea’s best-kept secret. With a sizzling food scene and a thriving start-up ecosystem, the city has a lot to offer—and yet it’s still overshadowed by its neighbors Stockholm and Copenhagen as a destination for visitors. In response, the city has been evolving its marketing to highlight the unique experiences locals and visitors enjoy in Helsinki, including the opportunities and quality of life Helsinki can offer expats.

Idean partnered with the city of Helsinki to build a digital service that would support this mission and help people find the best of the city. It would also be the first opportunity to bring to life Helsinki’s new brand identity. We were thrilled to help our hometown shine!

While Helsinki is one of the most liveable cities in the world, finding the best things to do isn’t easy and the city’s attractions lack the international renown of its neighbors among visitors and expats.
Your local guide to Helsinki: a vibrant digital destination that connects people to share their best experiences of the city—useful for locals but accessible for everyone.

Gathering insights

To design a useful and inspiring service, we first needed to understand the needs and motivations of Helsinki’s visitors and residents. We interviewed visitors and city employees about their experiences exploring Helsinki, and the discussions helped us understand their diverse perspectives. One of the key insights was that many of the activities the city has to offer were discovered through different sources. There was a real need for a service that featured the most interesting events, restaurants and sights in one place.

Defining the experience

To work closer with city employees, we set up a co-working space in Helsinki Lab, a glass room within the lobby of the city hall, and filled it with our rough drafts, post-its, and Finnish chocolate.


Helsinki City Hall, or Helsingin kaupungintalo, provided a unique locale to work and conduct research.

We ran three two-week design sprints, including facilitating several co-design workshops with a variety of stakeholders, to craft the core flows and features. At the end of each sprint, we tested our latest prototypes with visitors and locals, live-streamed to Helsinki Lab, where our team could observe people’s reactions in real-time. This feedback was invaluable for steering us in the right direction.

Working alongside locals, visitors, expats, and city employees gave us a nuanced view of what they would find useful and delightful.

The vision

MyHelsinki can help people find the best of Helsinki in a personal, inspiring and mobile-friendly package.


A clear vision and strong brand is carried through all of the applications.


Local guides give a personal take on the city.


MyHelsinki makes it easy to discover the best things to do.

One of the key features is MyHelsinki Lists, a visual map of favorite places in Helsinki that anyone can create and share. Several celebrities and tastemakers shared their cherished spots on social media. Our team created one too. MyHelsinki Lists are a way for locals to let the world know about their city.

A trailer for #myhelsinki experiences. Video by N2.

Building a product

Development of site was done in agile sprints in close cooperation with developers, designers and the city’s marketing team. It was crucial to contribute to open source data of events, so that anyone can use the same data when building services.



Rich events data is made available to developers to create new applications from it.

The site was launched in July 2017. MyHelsinki won the 2017 City Nation Place Award for Best Citizen Engagement. Check it out and share your own favorite spots in the city at