Kuvassa tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistö puhumassa Sitran 50-vuotisjuhlassa Heurekassa 16.11.2017. Kuvaaja: Rob Örthen

Published November 21, 2017

Sitra's 50th anniversary gathered future-makers at the Finnish Science Centre Heureka

The President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö said: “In a rapidly changing world, the capacity for renewal is vital to both individuals and society as a whole.”

At the 50th anniversary celebrations for Finland’s future-oriented organisation Sitra, President Sauli Niinistö spoke about the challenges and solutions for the future and the need to renew. The president reminded guests that co-operation will be essential in the future, too: “We mustn’t simply cling to what we have; we have to create a future that involves everyone. To build a future for us Finns, we all need to work together.”

Renewal and co-operation were also central themes of the Ratkaisu 100 challenge competition. The one-million-euro prize was presented by the President of the Republic of Finland, an independent jury having decided to split the prize to reward two very different solutions. HeadAI’s solution uses artificial intelligence to predict what Finland can do, while Positive CV reveals the hidden skills of children and adolescents. Sitra will grant both teams 500,000 euros to realise their solution.

In 1967 Sitra was an innovation in its own right

The Ratkaisu 100 challenge competition is Sitra’s gift to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. In 1967, Sitra was a gift from the Bank of Finland and Parliament to mark the 50th anniversary of Finland’s independence. Klaus Waris, a force behind the future fund, governor of the Bank of Finland and heavyweight economic influencer, had found inspiration for his idea from Sweden: Sitra borrowed its administrative model from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, but the operational idea was unique. Waris’s Sitra had a clear target, a successful Finland, but the rules were purposefully loose and the methods were limited. Guided by the initial principles, Sitra has been in operation for 50 years; the mission has remained, but the means have varied depending on each prevailing societal situation.

To inspire success in future decades, Finland will need a new vision for the welfare society. This new vision, presented in the celebration entitled The Next Era of Well-being, introduces Sitra’s view – generating future well-being in a fair and sustainable way – to the general discussion about the future.

Social policy is about making choices – and with our choices, the next era of well-being can be built. The economy should be developed to become a fair and competitive circular economy where Finland can offer solutions for the global sustainability crisis. In addition, the right – or the duty – of lifelong learning should be embedded in the reform of the comprehensive school system. Administrations and governmental structures should be seen as ambitious catalysts for progress rather than as sources of great expense and models of bureaucracy. And finally, we need to harness technology to produce widespread well-being.

“At the time when Sitra was founded in 1967, the situation in Finland was difficult in many ways, but we managed to turn it around by thinking big and working together,” said Sitra President Mikko Kosonen at the 50th-anniversary celebrations. Now in 2017, the situation is different though still not easy. However, the cure is the same: we need to think big, experiment boldly and work together so that the next era of the welfare society will be fair, too.

Further information:

  • Media photos from Sitra’s 50th anniversary celebration (including President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö; Sitra President Mikko Kosonen; winners of the Ratkaisu 100 challenge competition to be added) Sitra’s media bank
  • Press release on the winners of the Ratkaisu 100 challenge competition
  • History site Stories of the Future – Sitra’s Journey from R&D Financier to Agent of Social Change
  • Sauli Niinistö’s greeting
  • Mikko Kosonen’s celebration speech
  • The Next Era of Well-being (Sitra’s vision for the Finland of the future)

Media inquiries:

Veera Heinonen, Head of Communications, veera.heinonen@sitra.fi, +358 (0)50 372 5244
Samuli Laita, Specialist, Communications, samuli.laita@sitra.fi, +358 (0)40 536 8650
Jenni Sarolahti, Specialist, Communications, jenni.sarolahti@sitra.fi, +358 (0)50 372 0828

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