‘I want to contribute to the development of society’: Five minutes with Public Service Data Live speaker Tuula Lybeck of Finland’s finance ministry

By on 17/09/2023 | Updated on 15/09/2023

In this sister series to our ‘Five minutes with’ interviews, we share insights from the civil and public service leaders who spoke at Public Service Data Live in London on 14 September.

In this interview, Tuula Lybeck, project director, development and digitisation project of discretionary governmental grants, Ministry of Finance, Finland – who joined the conference session on getting the right data to drive value from government spending – tells GGF about learning from Estonia and the Netherlands, and being a weightlifting champion.

What were you most interested in discussing at Public Service Data Live?

New ideas on how to use information for policymaking.

What drew you to a career in public service? 

I wanted to play my part in building a better functioning democratic rule of law, and the opportunity to contribute to the development of society.

What have you achieved in your career that you’re most proud of? 

The project I’m leading [on the development and digitisation of discretionary governmental grants] even though it’s not quite finished yet.

What do you like most about public service work? 

Using your own expertise for the common good.

And what do you dislike about it? 

The sometimes slowness of necessary changes.

Are there data innovations from other countries that have inspired you?

The digitalisation of the Estonian public administration – digital voting, for example.

Can you name one project from abroad that’s helped you and your colleagues?  

About 10 years ago, the Netherlands developed a ‘flagging system’ to prevent the exclusion of young people. The idea was that if several parties were concerned about a young person at risk of social exclusion, they could be contacted if the young person so wished, without breaching data protection.

If you weren’t working in the public sector, what would you be doing? 

In some other social role where I could feel useful.

Do you have any unusual hobbies?  

I started weightlifting five years ago. Now I am a master level Finnish champion in my age and weight category.

Is there something about you that people find surprising? 

Hunting is one of my hobbies. It is a traditional way to enjoy nature and contribute to the management of animal populations.

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