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The FormIT Methodology

The methodology applied in Botnia Living Lab innovation processes is called FormIT and has been developed to fit into the Botnia Living Lab approach.


FormIT is a human-centred approach to develop IT-based smart
city solutions with an iterative and interactive process with strong
stakeholder engagement. It aims to facilitate development of innovative
smart city solutions that are based on a holistic understanding of
people's needs and values, paying due considerations to issues of equality, autonomy and control in relation to actual use situations. FormIT is grounded in the theoretical streams of soft systems thinking (Checkland, 1991; Checkland & Scholes, 1990), appreciative inquiry (Cooperrider & Avital 2004, Norum, 2001) and needfinding (Patnaik & Becker, 1999).

The process consists of three cycles; Concept Design, Prototype Design and Innovation Design. Each of these cycles has four phases, Explore, Create, Implement and Evaluate. In these phases the aim is to focus on identifying and working with the strengths in a particular situation and to build on that to ensure that future smart city
solutions will create value. Hence, the core of FormIT is to focus on the opportunities that a specific situation holds and to build on the strengths in a situation to ensure that the future smart city solution will create value and not only solve a problem.

FormIT is also centred on understanding people's needs and values and to use these as basis for the development of the innovation. Hence, a specific target is to gain deep insights into people's thoughts, dreams, values and wishes and to co-create solutions with the stakeholders. In addition, FormIT actions are implemented in real world contexts which mean that people's real experiences from interacting or being exposed to a smart city solution guide the creation of the smart city innovation. The Basic Shape of FormIT reflects the different phases carried out in all FormIT cycles independent of particular focus.