“Four lenses of innovation” guiding thinking in KEKO

Developing smart building solutions that bring value to all ecosystem stakeholders happens through co-creation in multidisciplinary teams and together with building users. Developing new innovations and ecosystem requires the right mindset and a balance between design, business and technology.


KEKO’s mission is to enable every old and new building to become smart. That is an ambitious goal, but we believe that by step by step and by having the right mindset, we can get closer to that achievement.

In KEKO co-creation, design thinking anddesignerly ways of knowingare in the core of our actions. To guide our thinking, we use the famous framework “Three lenses of innovation” with an extra twist in it. Originally, created by IDEO, three lenses of innovation is a holistic approach for human centered design where desirability, feasibility and viability comes together. However, we think that there is a one lens that should tight all these approaches together. Therefore, we have added sustainability as an over crossing lens to highlight all dimensions of sustainability.   We at KEKO, see the framework as a mindset. Mindset of creating best experiences both for building users, operating companies and the whole society including surrounding environment. To open up the topic, here are some questions that we aim to ask ourselves along the way.



Sustainability and sustainable development can be defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Often, sustainability is seen from an environmental perspective but when it comes to user experience, we need to remember social and economic sustainability as well. All three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social, economic), are connected to the other three lenses of innovation. Social sustainability refers to people: What does desirability mean to various building users? Have we considered social inclusion and diversity while developing building experiences? When raising questions from environmental point of view, we focus on natural resources: do we protect ecological value and biodiversity in the best possible way? Are we making our best effort to reduce carbon emissions?  Whereas economic sustainability aims to support long-term economic development: can our business be sustainable in a long run and are our business models flexible for economic changes in these uncertain times?



In order to create solutions that people really value and use, we need to first understand people’s needs, wishes, fears and challenges, namely desirability. In KEKO, we started the research with a large user study by researching different building users and their expectations. The research covered users involved in all building life cycle phases: plan, construct, use & operate, renovate & upgrade . Through in-depth interviews, workshops and self-documentation tools where users themselves documented their everyday life, we collected insights that set the base for our project. By understanding the building users during the whole building life cycle, whether they are construction workers, office employees and visitors, residents, building developers or service providers, we think that we can develop better experiences that improve the users’ life in smart buildings. After all desirable solutions should generate value to both users  as well as to a companies providing the solutions.



Needless to say, that smart building solutions often utilize the newest technologies and technical drivers like 5G, edge computing, and internet of things (IoT) are closely connected also to KEKO. Often, feasibility is seen as a technical feasibility, and aims to answer a question whether a certain technological solution is ready to be implemented. All the same, feasibility can be considered as intangible and tangible resources in general: How can we actually produce a solution and do we have all the resources that we need? What can be done now and in the future?



From the beginning of the project, we have also started to ideate possible business models for the ecosystem in order to achieve long term economic viability. Through business model innovation we aim to define, test, and validate innovative and new business models that are flexible and scalable for global markets and bring value for all ecosystem stakeholders involved. Along the way, we want to learn what are the right revenue models for the ecosystem, who are the key partners in smart building ecosystem, and what is the real business need in making every building smart.

With all these questions in mind, we continue our journey in developing more predictive and responsive buildings that offer desirable experiences for people.

Reetta Turtiainen

KONE / Business design specialist