Hacking enterprise architecture and service design

— a new framework for government digital transformation

Anni Leppanen
4 min readJan 22, 2019

Digital transformation in the government is about a holistic change in the practices and culture of designing and building services and processes in the public sector. That was our core mission at D9. We were an inhouse team in the government, set up in early 2017. We supported ministries and public sector agencies in digital transformation.

During 2017-2018, D9 team’s Chief Enterprise Architect Janne Pulkkinen and Lead Experimentalist Anni Leppänen developed and tested a new framework called LED, ‘Lean enterprise/ecosystem design’. LED offers government agencies an agile and co-designed way to increase capacity and capabilities for digital transformation.

With the LED framework we are able to bridge a gap between technology and design, and enforce a feedback loop between strategy and development in digital transformation.

Team up: enterprise architecture and service design

It is not very common for IT architects and service designers to work together. We are usually at the different ends of digital projects. We speak a different language, and often even physically sit in different buildings. As a service designer and enterprise architect, we had the unique opportunity to work together in various projects at D9. We began to identify strengths and weaknesses of each approach and expertise. There are clear commonalities, and in many ways our expertise complements each other.

Drivers of change in digital transformation:
empathy, strategy and technology

Drivers for digital transformation

Government is transforming in the wider context of global and societal issues, complex systems and technological change. Our approach is that the traditional role and structures of government are challenged by new technology, human centred design and internal and external strategic drivers of change. To us, digital transformation is about human, strategy and technology. We work in transformation that requires multidisciplinary work in all the three elements.

Feedback loop between strategy and development

Throughout our work, we identified that a core challenge for digital transformation is a lack of active dialogue between strategy and development. We started looking at how we could enforce a feedback loop between strategy level and service development.

Feedbackloop between strategy and development

We began experimenting with enterprise architecture and service design, and adding elements of digital and data strategy, platform and ecosystem thinking and co-creation for disruptive technologies.

Government as a platform

At strategic level, we need to start thinking of value chains and value networks: what value is created for the society, for the users, customers and partners? The main idea is to start seeing a government agency as a part of a wider ecosystem that creates value in a customer life event.

LED is all about engaging three important perspectives:
inside (organisation), outside (ecosystem) and the user.

LED perspectives: inside (organisation), outside (ecosystem) and the user/customer

Government agencies need to start looking at their ultimate purpose and operation in a completely new way. Similarly as in the industries shift from cars to mobility, from housing to living, how are we bringing the government agencies to the 21st century? How might the Patent and Registration Office work as an innovation platform?

Should we hack enterprise architecture?

Traditionally enterprise architecture (EA) is divided into four areas: business, information, systems and technology architecture. The process and tools of EA can appear difficult to understand in multidisciplinary teams. EA is not really made to be an agile tool. It often struggles to enforce reactive capacity of organisations in transformation. Similarly EA lacks practical support and integration to the processes of agile development and service design. These are some of the reasons why we embarked on a journey to hack the traditional EA framework.

Experimenting with Finnish Patent and Registration Office

During our collaboration with the Finnish Patent and Registration Office in Spring 2018, we hacked the EA framework and experimented with some core participatory and design methods. We also added key elements of data strategy, as well as platform and ecosystem thinking. The aim was to create a shared tool and mindset for multidisciplinary teams across an organisation and even wider, at cross-governmental and cross-sectoral levels, to work with EA in a agile, user-centred and transformative way.

The point of LED framework is to help find tools for dialogue in digital transformation in both government, business and third sector. We hope to continue developing the model and share our materials openly. Join the movement and get in touch if you would like to collaborate and further develop the framework with us!

About authors

Anni Leppänen
Anni is a strategic designer. At D9 team she worked as Lead Experimentalist and service designer. She studied social sciences at University of London and design at Aalto University. Anni has over 10 years of experience working in the public sector. Before joining D9, Anni was designing digital services at the Finnish Tax Administration. Previosly, Anni has worked as a Science and Innovation Officer for the UK government.
Anni on Twitter
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Janne Pulkkinen
Janne currently works as Chief Innovation Officer at KELA. At D9 he worked as Chief Enterprise Architect. He leads the government’s blockchain network. Janne studied IT engineering, and has 10 years of experience working in technology and architecture projects. Before joining D9, Janne worked at Kela and Finavia, to mention a few.
Janne on Twitter
Janne on LinkedIn

We would like to thank our team at D9 for supporting this work. Thank you also the dozens of civil servants who have been discussing this framework with us over the years. Thank you PRH for piloting the process with us!



Anni Leppanen

Strategic designer, change agent and specialist in sustainability transitions, digital transformation, government and experiments.