Mikko Huuskonen from the Finnish government talks about the importance of innovation and how small countries can use innovation to overcome economic adversity.
The collapse of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago precipitated an economic crisis in Finland but by sheer determination and a focus on innovation, the country prevailed and even saw home-grown companies like Nokia dominate the world stage for innovation and technological advancement.
But like the rest of Europe today, Finland too is coping with a tough economy and rising unemployment.
For Huuskonen, a counsellor and adviser to the director general in Finland’s Department of Enterprise and Innovation, innovation will be critical to weathering this latest storm.
“The Finnish State is very interested in creating innovation, especially in situations now where there are economic issues arising, unemployment and so forth. We believe in investing in innovation and it will create better opportunities for growth in the future.
Recalling the economic crisis of the 1990s that Finland faced and overcame, Huuskonen said: “Innovation was crucial, and especially with Nokia.
“While we don’t expect success like that to happen again, we believe that working and constantly investing in innovation will create new possibilities and maybe one day we will be seeing other global successes.”
Huuskonen said that in terms of open innovation, the opportunity exists to move innovation from an abstract concept to a practical reality in most economies.
“It’s about how people communicate with each other and share innovation. Coming from a small country, depending on global communications and connections is crucial for us.”