Mikko Kosonen: Building the future together
Finland’s one hundred years as an independent country is a brilliant success story well worth celebrating: a small, agile and capable country whose prosperity is based on mutual trust and cooperation.
The centenary year offers an excellent opportunity to look back and celebrate the past. At the same time, it also gives us a chance to pause and think about the future: renew ourselves, explore future options, view things from new angles, test new ways of working and change things together. How should we proceed?
From confrontation to genuine dialogue
The future cannot be built in isolation; instead, we need to work together to chart a common course, create a shared vision and find new solutions. Now, more than ever, we must put ourselves in other people’s shoes and come up with new ways to engage in a constructive dialogue. The future is a result of the decisions taken today. Each choice is significant.
We are called upon to be responsible and show resolve. Faced with global megatrends like digitalisation, the sustainability crisis and the transformation of the labour market, the time has come to make choices and decisions. What should Finland do? Should we tweak the existing system or make bold changes?
Making full use of everybody’s capabilities
Finland’s centennial year is also a special year for Sitra, which was established exactly 50 years ago to celebrate the country’s 50th anniversary. We at Sitra will celebrate the centenary year by working in cooperation with others. We will focus on reform and seek to engage people.
A prime example of the new way of working is the Ratkaisu 100 Challenge Prize. As a contest, it is an excellent way to identify new problem-solvers and solutions to specific challenges, boost cooperation and foster a solution-centred and forward-looking culture.
We launched the contest at the beginning of 2016 by asking people what is the most important social challenge affecting Finland. The answer was clear: what should be done to fully harness the skills and capabilities of the Finnish population? The contest will produce social innovations that will help us identify and utilise expertise in a world in which people and information migrate from one country to another on an ever increasing scale.
During the centennial year, we will tour Finland and discuss the choices we should make in view of the future. One thing I am looking forward to with great interest is cooperation with young YouTube content creators: how do they perceive Finland? Do these communities of young people display the kind of confidence in the future that is so sorely needed?
Surely, we are ready and willing to seize the opportunities available in this centenary year.
Mikko Kosonen, Doctor of Science in Economics, was appointed President of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in 2008. He has published several books and articles on strategic management. As a member of the centenary board, he looks at 2017 from the point of view of the future and reform.