Finland has two important national strategies that are independent of any sector: the innovation and information society strategy. The information society strategy focuses on a ‘good life’ and the innovation strategy on the need for systemic change.
How do we combine these into a national effort?
In the information society of the future, the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) will create an especially significant productivity benefit. ICT skills will be the civics of the new society. Self-expression is the idea of human existence, and ICT technologies are meant for this. We have to learn from the digital TV and UMTS farces. Technology is but a tool, and there has to be a need as the reason for developing it.
When we consider developing services from the perspective of a good life, the market is global. It is interesting from Finland’s perspective that there are over 6.6 billion individual customers in the ‘good life’ sector and hundreds of millions of corporate and public organisation customers. In addition, Finnish industry has good distribution channels (e.g. Nokia, mechanical engineering industries) or then the distribution channel is the effortless Internet (digital products).
Finland is too small a unit in the global innovation field. We need an extensive, international innovation network. This requires intellectual cross-pollination whereby individuals find it easy to move from one part of the network to another and to return to Finland, bringing with them new kinds of expertise to support innovation.
Developing a high-class global knowledge and skills network will also require the active development of open innovation models and platforms. When it comes to innovation, Finland has the potential to become a global pioneer. For example, open learning environments could be international sales products of our excellent education system.
Human needs form the genuine starting point for anthropocentric innovation environments. Central to this thinking is the change in people’s role from a consumer-type role of the industrial age to an active participant, that is subject, in the information society. Services in both the public and private sector should be designed from the perspective of a ‘good life’, avoiding sector-specific solutions that only automate administration.
The objective is a new, more anthropocentric world that promotes sustainable development and an open market based on global technologies. This would facilitate the creation of an international export market for services for growth companies created for the Finnish environment. The creation of innovations in anthropocentric technology requires solid knowledge and understanding of various human needs, the ways of using technology, competence and understanding of people’s ability to learn to master and use technological applications. There is enough work for hundreds of new builders of the service infrastructure facilitating a good life.