Joint statement on the fair data economy

The key organisations involved the development of the data economy have prepared a joint statement on their strategic intent – ‘will to act’ – on building the fair data economy. The statement addresses six priority areas where changes are needed to strengthen Finland’s competitiveness and find new sources of growth. The participating organisations commit to working on these areas to transform Finland and invite others to join in.

Finland urgently needs to find ways to accelerate the use of data and build a fair data economy in order to strengthen competitiveness, reform the economy and society and find new sources of growth.

The joint statement on building the fair data economy was prepared as part of the national Roadmap for a Fair Data Economy work coordinated by Sitra. The roadmap aims to help Finnish organisations to commit themselves to building a data-driven society and economy together.

The aim of the strategic commitment is to call for broad co-operation, and Sitra and the participating organisations are calling on all sectors that want to make Finland a trailblazer of the data economy to participate in the roadmap work.

The guiding principle is that Finland must create fair data economy structures and solutions so that data can be used to renew business, strengthen productivity and prosperity and at the same time create positive environmental impacts.

Each of the targeted areas of change requiring determined co-operation and practical action is described below.

HUman-centred services

We want companies and the public sector to offer fair data-based services that support people’s life situations and rights. 

Today’s services are almost invariably data driven. People’s lives would be easier if data was used more efficiently in and between different services. Data collected in services could also be used for other purposes, such as health research or business development.

Critical issues to be addressed

  • People and organisations have little control over the data collected about them. This erodes trust in digital services.
  • Data can be used to develop better services, but in practice there is still little benefit for users.
  • The data economy regulation as a new entity is incomplete and fragmented.
  • The interests of digital giants have overridden those of smaller businesses, individuals and society.

Ways to achieve change

  • We will use new ways to involve people in developing services. We will especially focusing on how to create solutions producing well-being and climate benefits with data.
  • We will make the benefits of the fair data economy visible through new and improved services.
  • We will  promote service development that meets the needs of people in different life situations and uses data across different sectors.
  • We will build tools to empower individuals to negotiate and act to exercise their data-related rights such (such as fair terms of use and management of MyData).
  • We will support the development of human-centred services by offering practical examples and information about successful solutions (e.g. playbook for developers).
advocacy in the eu

We want Finland, as a pioneer, to lead the way in creating a competitive EU data economy. Finland will recognise and actively communicate its strengths and opportunities to positively influence the development of the data economy internationally.

Finland is known as a pioneer in technology and digitalisation, and in these areas Finland’s voice is stronger than ever on EU decision-making. We also want Finland to achieve a strong position in the fair data economy. 

Critical issues to be addressed

  • In Finland, there is a lack of overall understanding by different operators of the EU’s evolving data legislation and of the opportunities it offers.
  • Finland does not engage with EU initiatives and funding programmes at a sufficiently early stage and it lacks a shared strategic vision between the public and private sectors.

Ways to bring about change

  • We will engage in closer exchange of information and plan joint actions between the public and private sector so that we will be able to form a clearer overall picture of EU policies and their progress.
  • We will create and use tools to facilitate the identification of opportunities in terms of processes (such as advance influencing) and content affecting Finnish operators and operating environment (such as reforming regulation, EU funding possibilities, venues for influencing).
  • We will formulate our positions in different groups as early as possible on issues such as future Commission policies, strategies and work programmes.
  • We will develop communications on EU initiatives and Finland’s positions on them as well as ways of implementing national co-operation, with particular attention to the digital office’s co-operation group, digital compass work and ministerial working group.
  • We will open up and use data from processes (cf. Sitra study) and create co-operation models for advocacy within the EU (cf. EU network playbook).
transforming business

We want companies and public sector operators to be better equipped to develop their own operations using data, establish new partnerships and create value from data.

Data can be used to dramatically improve business profitability. By strengthening their skills and abilities to use data, companies can also create entirely new businesses, such asdata-driven services or business models. 

Critical issues to be addressed

  • Businesses and public operators are not sufficiently aware of data-driven approaches and their potential for value creation.
  • Businesses and public authorities do not sufficiently understand the benefits and are unable to use the available data in their own operations and manage their intangible rights.
  • Organisations’ own cultures lack the capacity to share data and information.
  • Operators have difficulties in understanding the added value of available data and data sharing for the whole value chain and ecosystem development. 

Ways to bring about change

  • We will ensure that businesses can seize the opportunities created by EU data regulation (such as the playbook for companies concerning the impacts of regulation).
  • We will collect peer examples of businesses using data with different technological solutions in other businesses.
  • We will create a data economy training and skills network.
  • We will create guidelines and recommendations on data use for different operators so that they can strengthen their data-related capabilities (such as ““the data mentor” system, service vouchers).
  • We will help companies to connect to European data spaces.
  • We will create tools for establishing data ecosystems  and orchestrating networks. 
  • We will create peer learning groups for for SMEs (cf. Artificial Intelligence 4.0 programme’s actions).

We want people’s understanding of the data economy to develop and their ability to use data and opportunities created by intangible rights to increase.

The data economy is not an independent sector of the economy, but the increasing amount of data and opportunities to use it affect all industries. This why every sector should have data skills.

Critical issues to be addressed

  • There is a widespread lack of understanding in society of the value of data and the potential for its exploitation.
  • A shortage of skilled people is weakening the development of businesses of all sizes.
  • The gap between the development needs of society and available skills is too wide. 
  • There is a lack of civic skills in operating in the data economy.

Ways to bring about change

  • We will streamline the anticipation of skills needs through the use of data.
  • We will develop services and training for businesses and municipalities (such as training programmes, support for RDI activities).
  • We will develop data skills on many levels. We will create curricula in  the education system and other learning contexts, for example on-the-job training.
  • Together with education and training providers, we will define how training needs created by the data economy transition should be addressed in different training programmes (including secondary education, updating training, higher education, liberal adult education especially for civic skills in the data economy).
  • We will increase public understanding of data, fair data economy and intangible rights through social debate.

We want data to be available and for it to move between organisations and systems, creating prosperity and competitive edge especially in the social and health sector and industry, supporting the digital green transition.

Sharing data in ecosystems, or co-operation networks, is changing the way organisationswork. Value is no longer created alone, but in a network with others. 

Critical issues to be addressed

  • Incentives and funding models to develop the required infrastructure, such as interfaces and shared-use solutions.
  • Interoperability models and standards needed to ensure data mobility and shared use, such as standardisation of data and metadata.
  • Safeguarding data mobility by ensuring trust and clarifying access rights using contracts and guidelines.
  • Securing funding for the data infrastructure, for example through funding programmes and co-creation budgets.

Ways to bring about change

  • We will identify use cases and launch pilots (digital product passport, surveying the data needs of social welfare and healthcare, optimising the energy consumption of a building through data).
  • We will make Virtual Finland’s shared development environment and the tools for ecosystem and data management (e.g. Gaia-X, rulebook, co-operation platform) widely available.
  • We will learn from the data sharing experiments and share functional solutions with different industries and sectors.
  • We will increase general awareness of the benefits of data mobility and the importance of shared-use solutions. The target audience will in particular be decision-makers, businesses and the public sector.

We want joint public-private funding models to be developed and investments to be targeted at the development of data ecosystems and data spaces in industries crucial to Finland’s competitiveness.

For Finland to keep pace with the development of the data economy, we need new funding models shared by the private and public sector and needs-based funding.

Critical issues to be addressed

  • The operators do not see the overall picture of  data economy funding, and the funding is fragmented.
  • Lack of domestic matching funds makes it hard for businesses to join the EU consortia.

Ways to bring about change

  • We will address the data infrastructure “maintenance backlog” and secure funding to build critical infrastructure for the long term.
  • We will make extensive use of  innovation policy instruments to develop the data economy and promote private investments in line with the national RDI roadmap (including grants, tax incentives).
  • We will develop funding models and programmes to stimulate data economy solutions and growth (e.g. Business Finland’s actions).
  • We will create funding criteria to promote data sharing and ecosystem development.
  • We will encourage operators to make greater use of the EU funding instruments and project funding expertise support.

Shared direction

The transition to the data economy is a massive transformation and requires a dialogue and commitment to the change from different actors in society and the economy. The strategic commitment or ‘will to act’, prepared in autumn 2022, paves the way for building a vibrant data economy in Finland and broad commitment to advance the necessary reforms. 

The strategic commitment was prepared in workshops facilitated by Sitra and approved by the steering group of the national data economy roadmap in November 2022.  

Who is involved?

Sitra invited representatives of the public, private and third sector to participate.  

The steering group of the national data economy roadmap is chaired by board professional Kaisa Olkkonen and its actual members are Kristo Lehtonen (Vice Chairperson, Sitra), Laura Eiro (Ministry of Transport and Communications), Jarkko Levasma (Ministry of Finance), Jyri Häkämies (Confederation of Finnish Industries), Jaakko Hirvola (Technology Industries of Finland), Petri Salminen (Suomen Yrittäjät), Nina Kopola (Business Finland), Erja Turunen (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland), Riikka Pakarinen (Startup Foundation), Tommi Karttaavi (Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities) and Atte Jääskeläinen (Ministry of Education and Culture). The deputy members of the steering group are Satu Vasamo-Koskinen (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment), Maria Rautavirta (Ministry of Transport and Communications) and Kalle Kantola (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland). 

In addition, a large number of data economy experts and influencers who participated in the workshops in autumn 2022 contributed to the work.

What next? 

Work with the National Roadmap for a Fair Data Economy will continue. The roadmap will help create a common direction, outline what actions are needed, anticipate data economy developments and provide an up-to-dated snapshot of how key developments are proceeding as we move towards the fair data economy.  

In spring 2023, the roadmap work will identify actions to carry out the strategic commitment and the data economy progress indicators created in spring 2023. Sitra will facilitate the discussions between different parties and is committed to promoting the fair data economy on the basis of the resulting views together with other operators.

The full roadmap will be published in April 2023. 

How can I get involved?

More information about the opportunities to participate is available on our website.  

You can already start using the materials of the fair data economy strategic commitment. Download the Together towards a fair data economy presentation (PDF).

Join us in building a fair data economy!

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