District Heating Companies

Aino Heiska

June 8, 2020

Taking customer experience to next level

District heating companies are local players who thus do not directly compete with each other. That is why six of them joined forces to drive change and improve service in the whole industry together with Adato Energia Oy, a company dedicated to provide training, communication services and data based services to Finnish energy industry.

The following energy companies hosted an Industryhack Innovation Challenge together to take district heating’s customer experience and the industry as a whole to the next level:

In the Heat Is On Innovation Challenge, District heating companies wanted to explore the opportunities of data-driven services and more customer-centric ideas in order to improve district heating’s customer experience, brand and service offering altogether. Participants looked into questions like: “What more than heat as a service could we provide to improve people’s lives in a sustainable way?” and “How to better utilize customer data to improve service experience or enable new sources of value?”

It all began when Industryhack and Adato gathered together six district heating companies and convinced them that looking for and co-creating new solutions together with innovative companies would benefit them all. The first step was to find common ground and a mutual challenge to solve through co-creation.

Once a mutual challenge was found, Industryhack provided the framework for the co-creation in the form of a multi-host innovation challenge. This included not only recruiting the participating suppliers, but also training the mentors and judges, organizing and facilitating the co-creation sessions, steering and decision making, and providing a clear roadmap for starting the collaboration after the Innovation Challenge. The Innovation Challenge was executed in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic and it was one of the first fully remote co-creation projects for both the participants and the hosts. The project was a success not only because interesting new solutions and suppliers were found, but also because it proved that working together across borders can be done and be very fruitful when done right.

At the end, out of the six suggested solution concepts, the district heating companies chose a gamification-based solution for a following proof of concept phase. The winning team, Ludocraft, developed a game called HeatSeeker that ran first customer tests in Autumn of 2020. Test and play the game at www.heatseeker.fi

Screenshot of the HeatSeeker game where you can play and see what impact does weather and your choices have on energy consumption. Play the game by clicking the picture above.

Jan Wikström, CEO of Adato Energia Oy
From the very beginning I was thrilled to see that the interest and desire among the companies to participate in an innovation effort such as this was huge. It was apparent that there was a genuine need for this kind of collaboration. In fact, we even had to leave out a few companies and start another collaboration group to be able to include all the companies who wanted to sign up.

The innovation process and challenge were run by Industryhack’s people in a professional manner reflecting a true understanding of what co-creation is all about. Despite the sudden Covid-19 outbreak with its restrictions, Industryhack was able to switch the entire process online with no delays to the time schedule nor harm to the collaboration.


Jari Kuivanen, Vice President, Heat at Turku Energy ltd
I have to admit, that based on previous similar projects with other suppliers, I was feeling sceptical if this would be a successful one. In retrospect I have to give full recognition to Industryhack’s youthful and innovative experts for the planning and execution of this project.

We started with an open and innovative ideation phase together with other District Heating Companies, which set the common goals and direction of this project. It was followed with a skilfully scheduled challenge phase, which was concluded in the selection of the best proposal – all happening remotely and in good spirits and mutual understanding.

From my perspective the end result was remarkably good and I believe it will bring a lot of joy and value to us in the future. I want to highlight, that this Innovation Challenge was executed in the middle of global Covid 19 pandemic and despite it the end result was more than expected.



Aino Heiska was responsible for this project. If you are interested to hear more about it, don’t hesitate to contact her: +358 40 026 5641 or aino@industryhack.com


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