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Cultural know-how the cornerstone of Finnish competitiveness

Finland has to invest in creativity and cultural know-how and to realise that these are national strengths.


Press release 5 May 2004 Finland’s competitiveness is built on an innovation system that functions well. Change in the global economy, however, makes major challenges on Finland. Singling out markets is becoming increasingly important. Technology alone is not enough. Instead, Finland has to invest in creativity and cultural know-how and to realise that these are national strengths. This is the main point in Sitra’s book published on 5.5.2004 Luovan talouteen – Kulttuuriosaaminen tulevaisuuden voimavarana (Towards a Creative Economy – Cultural Know-How as a Resource for the Future) (Edita). The book, illustrated by Osmo Rauhala, is a result of the Sitra research programme started in the year 2000, Cultural Know-How as a Component of National Competitiveness. The book is based on wide-ranging materials gathered from interviews and panel discussions that analyse the present situation of the interaction between the cultural sector and the economy and presents prospects for the future. The author of the book Markku Wilenius, who is Director of the Futures Research Centre of the Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, believes that now is the time for Finland to realise that the country’s competitiveness can only be ensured by broadening its know-how. Finland’s soaring development has hitherto been based primarily on the rapid advance of its technological skills. Now Finland must find a strong potential for know-how and development in creative fields and make this the cornerstone of Finnish success in the future. “We have a relatively good starting point. We have world-class professionals in the field of culture, cultural personalities with vision, and a high-class education. The state administration has also started to react; at the moment a growth programme in the culture industry is being drawn up, and a cultural export project and the first stages of a national creativity strategy have been set in motion,” says Wilenius. However, there is a long way to go before we understand the true value of cooperation between companies and the cultural sector and how it can benefit both parties. The economic sector still looks upon creativity from all too narrow a perspective. In general it is thought that creativity belongs to the world of technological product development whereas it ought to be an integral part of the whole organisation. Not even the cultural sector exploits to the full the know-how that exists in the entrepreneurial world. For example, commercialisation of cultural know-how is weak. Cooperation between the cultural sector and the business world is still largely unexploited. The problems are above all how we can predict what investment is necessary and how to put it into practice. What should the public sector and, on the other hand, the private sector do? The book puts forward a number of concrete proposals: 1. Tax regimes should be re-assessed so that companies can reduce their taxable gains more than at present when they make donations to culture or in a way that encourages culture. 2. Public-sector policies must be based on a longer-term view, for example when it comes to granting public money to the cultural sector. 3. Civil servants in the government’s cultural administration have to familiarise themselves more closely with the direction that sponsorship is taking today. 4. Cultural actors, and in particular the business know-how of cultural institutions, have to be given more systematic encouragement. 5. A centre to encourage culture (Kukes) ought to be set up; its prime task should be to invest in cultural innovations and cultural know-how. 6. Finland also needs growth and broker organisations that will act as catalysts in furthering cooperation between culture and business by promoting contacts between business and artistic and cultural organisations. 7. A creative and innovative corporate culture has to be seen as a factor of success. Senior management will in the future need even more training in handling and developing creativity. 8. Companies need to cast aside their prejudices when looking for new ways to cooperate and interact with the cultural sector. Further information: Markku Wilenius, Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, tel. +358-50-592 9121, Pia Mero, Sitra, tel. +358-50-322 7860, Publication details Luovan talouteen – Kulttuuriosaaminen tulevaisuuden voimavarana (Towards a Creative Economy – Cultural Know-How a Resource for the Future) Markku Wilenius. Sitra 266 ISBN 951-37-4029-3, ISSN 0785-8388. Edita Publishing Oy. Helsinki 2004. price €32. Sales: Edita customer services and bookshops. Welcome to the exhibition! In connection with the publication of the book Luovaan talouteen a public exhibition is being opened. The exhibition presents a collection of pictures by Finnish artists on the theme “What does my creativity spring from?”. The exhibition also has a number of posters introducing organisations that have succeeded in combining creativity, interaction and synergy. The exhibition is open from May 6 to May 18, 2004. Weekdays 9-17. Weekends 10-17 Kulttuuritehdas Korjaamo Töölönkatu 51b 00250 Helsinki