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19 January 2024

Developing a vision and initial roadmap for the Nordic Superblocks through Strategic Foresight

Find out how Strategic Foresight was used by the members of the Nordic Superblocks as Decarbonization Catalysts (NSDC) initiative, sponsored by Business Finland, to create a common vision for the NSDC. This work will be also used as the baseline for any future adjustments to the project.


The foresight process, adopted at KONE, was used as a basis for the sprint workshops. It brought together NSDC partners to brainstorm innovation opportunities, consolidate over 200 ideas into 6 innovation opportunity areas, align on shared goals, and identify key success factors and roadblocks.

The vision for the Nordic Superblocks was co-created as follows:

Nordic Superblocks represents an internationally scalable and viable city block design concept, co-created with and for stakeholders and the community, ensuring sustainable and inclusive communal living throughout the full life cycle.

The vision and roadmap for the Nordic Superblocks are guided by principles such as sharing spaces, functions, services, and infrastructure with holistic accessibility and inclusivity, securing data sharing and cross-utilization, connection with the urban ecosystem, economic viability, stakeholder co-creation, and tackling climate change and biodiversity loss.

Four strategic pillars that support the vision include:

    • Zero-Emission Energy: The Nordic Superblocks aim to accelerate the transition towards zero-emission buildings by implementing smart hybrid energy systems, establishing connectivity to local energy systems based on smart grids, exceeding regulatory requirements, and integrating new energy technologies.
    • In Harmony with Nature: The Nordic Superblocks aim to be in harmony with nature to meet and achieve climate targets for citizen value and enable district-wide sustainable living by restoring nature and fostering biodiversity, reducing embodied carbon emissions, water management, and maximizing recycling.
    • Socially Inclusive: The Nordic Superblocks aim to be socially inclusive promote an inclusive community and meet its diverse needs with a design for inclusivity principle, holistic accessibility, as well as inclusive ideology, inclusive infrastructure, and digital platforms.
    • Co-creation of Block design and operation: Co-creation is a core element of the Nordic Superblocks concept. The concept is co-created with and for stakeholders and the community. The aim is to develop a collaboration strategy, create data-sharing principles for innovation, and share a learning mindset.


In short, strategic foresight is a structured and systematic way of using ideas about the future to anticipate and better prepare for change (according to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD). As it explores different plausible future scenarios that could arise with their own opportunities and challenges, the foresight process helps organizations understand the future and use those ideas to make better decisions and act now.

Representatives of all seven consortium companies held together the sprint during October-November 2023. The process started with developing an overview of the NSDC ecosystem and identifying innovation search fields. Scenarios created by KONE with foresight experts in previous foresight studies were utilized to feed in relevant background information for the work (for more information on the future of living and future of construction scenarios check). Over 200 opportunities were explored and consolidated across six prioritized search fields. The project team defined shared goals and the Nordic Superblocks’ vision supported by four strategic pillars and three underlying principles that help achieve this vision. Finally, short-, mid-, and long-term strategic initiatives and innovation opportunities were mapped on a roadmap for each pillar.

 “Since early 2022 we in the strategic foresight team believe that it supports us to better anticipate changes that could emerge in the future, reveal options for experimentation with innovative approaches, and stress-test existing or proposed strategies and solutions,” says Jaana Hyvärinen, senior manager, Strategic Foresight at KONE. “At KONE, we are not just observing the future; we are actively shaping it. But the future is not a puzzle to be solved by a single player, therefore we strongly believe in the power of collaborative foresight”, continues Jaana.

In this spirit of collaborative foresight, the KONE team has proposed to use the approach and methodology to look together into Nordic Superblock’s vision and future roadmap.

Ulla Tikkanen, Veturi project manager at KONE, sees this first experience of working together among NSDC partners as very positive: “This is the first time we have used the Foresight approach with multiple external partners, and also the first time we have met in person with a wider group of NSDC participants. It was a good kickstart for the NSDC project and a good opportunity to get to know all consortium parties, which are very different, and work together with them to create a common vision.” 

Ulla continues that though there is still a lot to be done and agree upon (like the ownership of the topics), this work has provided a very solid base: “We always can get back to the results of these workshops and see from where we have started and how we have identified things at the beginning, as the project continues until the end of 2025”.

More about the NSDC initiative

The Nordic Superblocks as Decarbonization Catalysts (NSDC) initiative, sponsored by Business Finland through NextGenerationEU funding, is launched by Skanska, KONE, Tietoevry, Granlund, Integrio, Synocus, and Tampere University. NSDC aims to accelerate the transition towards zero-emission buildings and carbon-neutral living. The consortium also supports sustainable urban planning and development as well as building life-cycle management through breakthrough research. NSDC is part of KONE’s Veturi program.

For more information contact:

Ulla Tikkanen, KONE,

Jussi Hulkkonen, Synocus,