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Published March 25, 2015

Strategic Government Programme calls for foresight information

The speed of change in the world means bodies like the national foresight network will help Finland stay with the pace...

Because of the rapidly changing world, decision-makers are in constant need of new kinds of information. They need tools that make it possible to anticipate changes in the complex and multi-faceted operating environment and develop novel solutions in support of decision-making. Decision-making must be based on long-term goal setting and extend beyond the government term.

“We should be able to build the desired future instead of solving the problems we are already confronted by. This requires making choices on the basis of alternative future scenarios and thinking strategies beyond the parliamentary terms. The parliamentary Committee for the Future and the Government Report on the Future have made Finland known as a foresight-promoting country, and it is now time to take the next steps forward,” says Olli-Pekka Heinonen, State Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The project to reform the government’s steering framework, the OHRA project, proposed that the government develop a new strategic decision-making model. The key idea of the model is that the government has one strategic process that is consistently supported by information. According to the model, the government utilises in its decision-making the perspectives adopted in foresight processes.

The national foresight network, the role of which was honed a year ago, co-ordinates foresight processes and produces up-to-date perspectives and solutions for policymakers. Ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the national foresight network has produced four future scenarios. They present key perspectives on Finland’s future as they emerged in the network’s work. The future scenarios envisage the period up to the year 2025 through four stories which focus on digitisation, the reform of work and labour and needs of the ageing population. The scenarios aim to stimulate debate and support strategy work. They are freely accessible on the internet.

Future scenarios formed in co-operation within the foresight network

The future scenario work process of the national foresight network was launched by Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund in December 2014. The process included three workshops, an open online circulation for comments and graphic design work. The work was based on the government’s foresight report and the report by the Committee for the Future, the ministries’ futures reviews and contributions by network members who participated in the workshops. A report on the state of Finland published by the Prime Minister’s Office in March also reflected the challenges identified in the ministries’ futures reviews.

The national foresight network is co-ordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office and Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund. Further information on its activities and the future scenarios process is available on the network’s website at www.foresight.fi.

The future scenarios can be freely used for foresight activities and strategy processes. They are available on the network’s website and SlideShare.

Future scenarios: www.slideshare.net/ennakointi

Foresight pages of the Prime Minister’s Office http://vnk.fi/foresight  

Inquiries: Ulla Rosenström, Chief Senior Specialist, Prime Minister’s Office, ulla.rosenstrom@vnk.fi, tel. +358 295 160 188 and Ernesto Hartikainen, Foresight Specialist, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, ernesto.hartikainen@sitra.fi, tel. +358 50 346 1035

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