Invaluable feedback and information through testing in real environments with real people


The testbed phase of the Smart Retro programme puts ideas to the test in real environments with real people. The phase is all about experimentation: the startups and entrepreneurs conduct a temporary experiment where, together with users and partners, they try out their new service or product concept in a real-life environment.

The goal is to learn about the ideas together. The experiments give feedback and knowledge on the concept. How do people use it? Who uses it? What’s important? What works and what does not? Are people or partners willing to pay for it?

At the same time, it is not only the companies that learn from the tests, but also the users. Through the experiments, they gain information about new products and services and how they can help them in their everyday lives. This may lead them to become regular users of the services in the future.

For the companies, the results of the experiment can be used to evaluate and improve (or even radically change) the concept or the business model. The tests even offer a possibility to make iterations during the experiment. Further, feedback and and results gained in the experiment can also be used to convince new customers, users, partners or investors to buy the service, to collaborate with the company or invest in it.

The testbed phase is invaluable in that it helps to imagine together what is possible and what the future of an environment and the life in it could be like. Through inspiration and convincing of possibilities of future life, experiments can help to generate more action.



Tests from the first Smart Retro programme


The Smart Retro community has been a forerunner in experimental culture and in service development through rapid testing. As a part of the first Smart Retro Acceleration Program, startups, entrepreneurs, big companies and cities tested new services in real life with real people. Altogether 15 experiments have been run online and in two testbed areas: Lahti City Centre and the suburb of Bagarmossen in Stockholm. Read about the tests, understand the purpose of testbeds and get to know ‘Bagis’ and Lahti City Centre on this page.


Citymarket, Kesko & PiggyBaggy: crowdsourced delivery of online groceries

Citymarket, PiggyBaggy & SIIRI of City of Lahti: grocery shopping by phone and crowdsourced delivery targeted to elderly people

City of Lahti, PiggyBaggy & local entrepreneurs: Smart Container 24/7

City of Lahti & CityCarClub: interest and needs in Lahti for carsharing service

City of Lahti & Yhteismaa: Nappi Naapuri (‘Nifty Neighbour’) as a new tool for contact citizens of city districts of Lahti (‘aluekummit’ in Finnish)

CityCarClub & PiggyBaggy: relocation of shared cars by crowdsourcing

Generation Ungdom & Stockholmshem: Generation Ungdom in Bagarmossen

Granlund: Three experiments on energy behavior interventions (concepts developed in Smart Retro Energy Behaviour Hackathon)

Nurmi Clothing: Nurmi Clothing Library

Remarket: Recruiting sellers to the online marketplace & pop-up store in Citycon shopping centre

Represent: First Represent survey

Stockholmshem, Bonne Mécanique & Gamla Enskeda Lådcycklar: Cycling service point

Yhteismaa: Bringing Hoffice to Helsinki