The steps towards an innovation economy

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Finland is a small and open economy; open for the full invasion of low-cost manufacturing from east and west, south and north. Suomi - Finland is a modern country, the homeland of the mobile phones giant Nokia. Population five million, two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Globalization means manufacturing is outsourced. The Nokia ecosystem is moving out of the Finnish forests to China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South East Asia. This is no big news. But the question is about what to do next?

Finland is a small and open economy. The borders are open for the full invasion of low-cost manufacturing from east and west, south and north, not much can come from the northern direction, due to the geographical location.

Suomi - Finland is a modern country located in Northern Europe, better known as the homeland for the mobile phones giant Nokia. The population is a little over five million and two languages are spoken officially: Finnish and Swedish. The forest industry has traditionally been strong in all Scandinavian countries, but these northern regions are heading towards a new era. New investments in traditional pulp and paper industries are rare. The future is in bioreactors and innovative processes.

Globalization means that more and more manufacturing is outsourced. The Nokia Ecosystem is moving out of the woods and forests of Finland to China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South East Asia, and Eastern European Countries. This is no big news. But the question is about what to do next? We have started to talk about Innovation Economy a future based on selling knowledge and high-value services, but what about the future of blue collar men and women?

Manufacturing jobs are moving to low labor cost countries. Certain areas with low population densities are loosing jobs. The reorganization of the manufacturing infrastructure means that people are moving away from the most sparsely populated areas towards the capital of Helsinki. The land of woods and thousand lakes is also fighting with cost pressures in the forestry industries that have been the source of green gold for the population for hundred years. It seems this root is also doomed to end at a brick wall. Future investments are moving e.g. to Russian, Eastern Europe and to China.

A population of five millions means a small home market. Small and Medium Size companies have to look for clients outside the national borders at a very early stage of corporate development. Globalization is pushing Finnish companies into a narrow and single minded mould that produces high-tech innovators with the world as a market place. The niche is the model; Nokia is still considered an exception. It's healthier to have thousands of small companies flanking a global giant. It's a miracle that something like Nokia could evolve from a relatively small high-tech nation.

The new source of economical development and prosperity has to be found in areas were high labor costs and the pressure of low-cost mass production can be avoided. The Finns are looking into the creative economy as a source of new ideas, opportunities and solutions. Traditional manufacturing is soon a history only; belongs to a honorable past. The world market is flooded by products and services. The search for the needle in the haystack has begun. More stories about the bumpy road from various start-up garages and innovation work shops will be presented. We never know what future brings with it. Twenty years ago, Nokia was better know for its toilet papers, rubber boots and car tires tested in difficult winter conditions.

New ideas, innovations, lucrative niches', high-value and knowledge based services are the key words for the future economy for a small and vulnerable economy. This is true for many other western "industrial nations". The search for the new next thing is not so easy. The world and its opportunities are open to everyone. Visual Radio will search, navigate and report about the new and emerging trends.

The key to success is going to be the ability to do something unique, maybe inspired by the nature, lakes and forests. La Différance! Energy has a vital importance in a country where, regardless of the global warming, temperatures can still drop down to - 50 degrees Celsius in certain areas during the winter and - 20 C is a good average for several weeks.

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