Traditionally, Finland has been the promised land of innovations. Different innovation strategies have also applied to services provided for children and families and related interventions and practices.

We believe that the renewal and innovativeness of publicly funded service production is a national competitive edge.

The national innovation strategy has been based largely on a perspective of volume. The aim behind funding several development projects has been to create new ideas for services for children and families. However, the definition of innovativeness has been dependent on the perspective. What is innovative and functional in one place is seen as a waste of resources in another place.

Knowledge-intensive and challenge-based innovation activities of services for children and families aim at increasing effectiveness.

The goal of Itla’s innovations is to support the research-led renewal of services for children and families.

What do we do?

  • We execute an annual challenge-based innovation competition.
  • We support innovative projects with research funding.
  • We learn from international and Finnish innovations – what works and what doesn’t and why.
  • We will establish a foresight network for child and family policy.

There are still gaps in the service system for children and families. Innovations can be used to find solutions for these gaps. In addition, innovation activities can be used to locate service success factors that can be shared with others. Innovation activities also strengthen partnerships and learning together. The aim is to learn from already completed national innovations and pilot projects and make the lessons learnt visible. It is known if something has succeeded but the reasons behind it are unknown.

Itla’s innovation activities are challenge-based. It means that we look for solutions for issues that have been already verified. Our goal is to identify, refine and spread innovations of services for children and families and practices based on scientific evidence.

Innovation competition

We organise an annual innovation competition of services for families with children. The criteria of the competition is pre-determined.


Our perspective concerning innovations is international. We locate promising practices around the world and increase Finland’s visibility by promoting promising Finnish practices internationally.

Globally, we can learn from using digital services in supporting children and families with children, among other things.


Tiina Ristikari

Tutkimusprofessori, kehitysjohtaja, Research Professor, Director of Development
050 917 7396

Mari Hirvonen

Erityisasiantuntija, Senior Specialist
044 363 7276