Kuva: Susa Junnola

Published November 1, 2016

Why did IBM select Finland as the cradle for its artificial intelligence?

Ville Koiste assesses the reasons for IBM's decision to invest in Finland.
Writer
Specialist, Capacity for renewal, Sitra

IBM is investing in Finland in the fields of healthcare, digitisation, human capital and start-up networks. Nevertheless, the most important reasons for the investment might be trust and the ability to create new kinds of partnerships.

 

A fresh media release was music to our ears: IBM, a global mega-enterprise, will make several strategic investments in Finland to establish the Watson Health Centre of Excellence for developing artificial intelligence service for healthcare and well-being and the first Imaging Centre of Excellence in its category outside the United States. It is expected that the decision will provide employment for 150 people. But what are the other factors affecting IBM’s decision to invest in Finland, and what will this mean for the future of Finland’s healthcare?

According to IBM, Finland is among the leading countries for digitised healthcare, thanks to our extensive healthcare registers in electronic format. People in Finland also are well educated, thus ensuring competent human capital for the creation of new innovations. A cluster of technological expertise and a rich start-up network have also evolved in Finland. These can help healthcare digitisation around the world. Expertise can also be found in the healthcare sector, where top-level hospitals enable research activities for the development of new high-quality treatments.

The decision-makers in our society have added support to the attractiveness of Finland’s healthcare ecosystem with their progressive visions and national strategies. Among these one can find the Information Strategy for Social and Health Care 2020 (in Finnish), the National Genome Strategy (in Finnish) and the Health research strategy for growth and innovation (in Finnish). Helped by these strategies, IBM and many others have observed major progress in collaboration between public and private bodies.

Many of us may be surprised to learn that the investment decisions by large companies are also made easier by Finland’s social stability and high level of confidence between various collaborators and citizens. Finnish people are an invaluable asset as services and healthcare are developed and made more individual. Finland’s high intellectual trust capital provides a good base and excellent opportunities for the inclusion of service users. These are some of the things that were regarded with interest during the visit of the Finnish delegation to IBM’s New York headquarters.

This news was a reinvigorating stimulus for the coming autumn and strengthens our belief in healthcare as one of the future mainstays for Finland. The report also reminds us of some new essential factors in competition: these no longer consist for of, example, the size of the market or its geographical location but quite often of factors such as trust and competence.

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