Fortum Design Lab

For a cleaner world

The energy sector is changing fast, driven by climate change, urbanisation, more active customers, as well as new opportunities through digitalisation and fast development of energy-related technology – all global megatrends. The low energy prices, driven by depressed commodities and subsidised build-up of renewables as well as the low overall economic growth, have created a need for the energy industry transformation. At the same time, the energy sector must become the leader in climate change mitigation. 

Case Fortum Design Lab
Categories Best Performing Team
Year 2016

Fortum Design Lab was begun in summer of 2016 to act as a catalyst in spearheading Fortum´s continued transformation in being a forerunner in clean energy and find new business opportunities in renewable energy and digital technologies.


Fortum Design Lab was set up first in Finland, Sweden and Norway in the summer 2016. Later in the autumn there was also Design Lab set up in Poland. Setting up the design lab meant that there were several designers working alongside with Fortum employees. It’s an accelerator inside the company challenging the norm and bringing new thinking inside the organisation.

In a traditional, technology led organisation it was totally new to have designers inside the organisation. New ways of working and agile methods had to be adapted. Also designers and developers from different companies brought wide range of insights to the team.

Customer in the centre

The Fortum Design Lab is an excellent benchmark how to lead customer-centric transformation successfully in a large organisation with a multi-vendor team. The first part was to set the lab up: creating the foundation, culture and the principals for the way of working. In the second part Fortum begun to run various programs or streams, such as Fortum Solar or Oma Fortum, under it. All the streams are run with multiple vendors and Fortum’s Design Lab core team.

In the set-up phase Fjord’s role has been to create the Design Lab foundation with key performance and experience indicators. Fjord also helped to jump start the program by training around 100 people from Fortum in all locations about service design, as well as creating the digital brand guidelines together with Fortum. Fortum has then handpicked the right people from the right companies to tackle the specific challenges in each program or stream. Partnering companies in the streams include Nordkapp, Fjord, Ixonos, Futurice, Solita, SkenarioLabs and Qubilea.

One of the biggest changes in the design lab way of thinking is that it’s human-centric. In everything we do there must be customers’ point of view thought first. In addition to this collaboration within the team members as well as with customers is crucial. Our co-creation workshops with customers and user researches have given important insight from the customers.

"I was wery doubtful at first, but as I now see how you work I have changed my mind of Fortum as an old-fashioned energy company." — Customer at co-creation workshop

The results

During the first 9 months of operating Fortum Design Lab has released new OmaFortum application in Finland, created solar energy benefit calculator for solar panel customers and started home charging sales for B2B customers in Sweden.

And as we say, this is just the beginning. There are now over 30 designer in four countries working on energy transformation. And bubbling underneath there are several new services to create the change.

Design Labs internationally
Service streams on-going
Designers inside the lab

The Team:

Fortum, Fjord, Nordkapp, Ixonos, Futurice, Solita, SkenarioLabs, Qubilea, Wapice, Cognizant