“Perhaps the most important insight behind an experimental society is the organic connection between action and knowledge: deeds can change attitudes more than attitudes can change deeds. To feel, see, smell and taste is more convincing than a thousand words.”
Annukka Berg 23.11.2012

Results will be seen in people’s daily lives

When implementing the foresight work, we took a strongly demand-oriented approach. More than merely economic value must be achieved – a healthy, well-being society is also the aim. Other dimensions of value, and their benefits to society, must also be appreciated. Finland has highly educated and creative actors with the common objective of constructing a new kind of civic society and business activity. They desire to create a dynamic, international and caring Finnish society. However, the existing organisations do not necessarily recognise this strength. The creators of the new Finland need the support of organisations and cooperation networks. Resources enabling action must be allocated to them. A strong society works across organisational boundaries.

Future uncertainties and problems have already been recognised in Finland, perhaps even too well. Now is the time to accumulate competencies in order to solve these difficulties. In place of risk-oriented thinking and finger pointing, inspiring and constructive openings are called for.

Finland as a test laboratory for the future

The public sector should favour unbiased trials and experiments that allow the end results to be open. Experimental activity is a form of data acquisition that facilitates the questioning of older expertise and the development of applications and practices. This would considerably enhance our ability to build anew and respond to unexpected problems. Future experiments must be targeted at areas that could yield major benefits in the long term. Finland might be seen as a future test ground that is developing new ways of participating in our changing, open world. Rather than drifting with the tides of the global economy, Finland will play an active role in building value networks.

Trials should favour projects that enrich everyday lives and work. Societally sustainable entrepreneurship is worth promoting. The digitalisation of money and work is opening up new ways of setting the pace for everyday life. We should learn to harness these changes of pace. Experimental activity should be targeted at leveraging the skills of Estonians and Russians. Cooperation must also be forged through training programmes. A concept based on the Finnish school system and welfare state could be created through experiments in international cooperation. Former successes must be carefully documented for future reference.

The starting point: diversity and openness

Experiments become successful when they attract capable actors. Experiments must bring together diverse capabilities and aims, in order to facilitate learning from others and the resulting inspiration. The starting point for action must be sufficiently broad-based to facilitate an array of off-shoots. However, each experiment must have clear ownership. Results cannot be achieved if no one is steering and managing an activity. Particular attention must be paid to management with a vision and readiness to bear responsibility. Someone must understand what is being done.

Successful work requires recognition of diversity and radical questioning of familiar practices. The larger the societal challenges that are confronted, the more ideological and controversial such work becomes. It is therefore essential that the ideological basis for such experiments is not set in stone beforehand, but that new solutions are truly sought. We can only make real choices once we have learned our lessons.

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