Netti-Alvari: Failure-story of having new technology

Netti-Alvari e-participation tool was bought in year 2006 and launched in 2007. Netti-Alvari was designed to be internet based jury/panel made up of hopefully hundreds of local residents. From the beginning the service was open to all residents. The idea was to consult the Netti-Alvari jury on various city issues by using internet surveys. Members of the jury got e-mail messages of issues matching their interests. Also SMS messages were planned. Netti-Alvari was designed to support the advisory areal working groups of Tampere.



Main goal

To establish an active resident’s jury on the web that is open to all.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately Netti-Alvari was never actively used. Eventually several reasons lead to failure of the service. The city of Tampere quit using the Netti-Alvari platform in the end of the year 2009.

It’s useful to retrospectively examine what went wrong with Netti-Alvari. Firstly the new service was not promoted actively enough which caused lack of users. Secondly the officials never truly adopted the new service. In addition recurring technical problems as well as lack of time for general planning and preparing contributed to failure.

It’s not good idea to make plans in a hurry. Time is needed for thorough planning and procurement process. Time is also needed when planning how to introduce a new service. Co-operation between city officials is crucially important. Someone inside the organization needs to take the responsibility for running and promoting a new service.

Having too many technical problems can be fateful. Registration into the Netti-Alvari system was too difficult. Technical problems kept appearing and fixing them took too much time. The officials found the service too difficult to use and they considered its reporting features insufficient.

Recommendations

You should never start doing things technology-driven.

Accurate operational and technical specifications are necessary, because they affect the procurement process. If this is not done properly, mending the system afterwards can be expensive and time-consuming.

Prior to an acquisition of software one should always check if the city already has a needed application, or could a present system be tailored to fit the need.

Someone in the organization needs to take the responsibility for using new system.

Proper introduction and promotion of the new service is needed.

It’s important to quickly fix all technical problems that may appear. The officials won’t adopt new service if it’s not easy and reliable to use.

Location

Tampere, Finland

Author

Henrik Saari (firstname.lastname@tampere.fi)

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