Finland – The trusted catalyst and orchestrator of the emerging Northern European ecosystem?
Our European values and democratic foundations have been stress-tested: First with the COVID-19 pandemic and, most recently, the most horrible war on European soil in Ukraine. In addition, wicked problems like climate change, aging population, and increasing immigration affect Europe. Simultaneously fast developments in unleashing the full potential of digitalization, organizations´ triple-bottom-line (people, profit, planet) focused responsible ways of operating, and solidarity even at the EU level to solve complex problems together gives me hope for the return of Europe on the driver´s seat. There is no time to waste if we want to leave a better Europe for our grandchildren. How could we move ahead? The momentum is for a new socio-economic & environmental ecosystem pilot, starting first in Northern Europe and later evolving across Europe. People with a can-do attitude act and make a difference. I am confident that Finland and Finns – humble gardeners of Europe – are such actors with the willingness and competencies to catalyze and orchestrate the Arctic dimension for years to come.
We are facing the most critical point in the modern times of European history in terms of people, planet, and profit. Our future depends on the actions of each of us. At individual, organizational and societal levels, we need to solve tough socio-economic and environmental challenges with the scarcity of options, resources, time, and accepting high uncertainties.
The challenges and opportunities will question our conventional European way of thinking, acting, and behaving. The complex and wicked problems cannot be solved alone. Developments are not linear. They are complex, systemic, and fast. Therefore, we need to connect, collaborate and work closely together. The first signs of such systematic positive steps with impact have been joint EU actions taken by our leaders during this spring’s Ukraine crisis. In addition, an unprecedented flow of collective responsibility and caring between individuals, groups, organizations, and societies has been evidenced in actions and social media.
Some positive developments of EU leaders and individuals and both private and public organizations are a good start but not enough in scope, scale, and speed to create a more humane and sustainable Europe by 2035. For any ecosystem to emerge, a systematic and long-lasting approach is required. Not to become a distinct species, we Europeans need to reimagine our ways of co-operating with a collective curiosity and innovation. To succeed in a mindset and a behavioral change required, we need to be at the same time evolutionary as well as revolutionary in reimagining our daily lives and work.
In my previous blog, Reimagining your business ecosystems, I defined a business ecosystem as a dynamic organizational set-up created for complex and wicked problems that anyone could not solve alone. Such a designed entity can adapt faster to external pressures and unexpected changes. In my opinion, these straits also apply to societies — the recent research by the ecosystem-guru Ph.D. Sari Kola reveals that the most sustainable ecosystems get energy from the greater desire for change and shared purpose, the latter to be the utmost key to success.
Good intent is not enough if not turned into actions and concrete results. To turn talks into action, a neutral ecosystem orchestrator catalyzing, thriving, and nurturing the ecosystem is needed. Who could take the stance to guide Europe thru uncharted rough waters with mutual respect, shared activities, and concrete results? The ecosystem journey needs clear signage. The North Star is famous for holding still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. Therefore, sailors used it as a navigational tool to get home safely during old times.
In these volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous times, Europe needs to come safely home. I believe Finland is the North Star of this moment in history. The emerging Northern European Socio-Economical & Environmental Ecosystem requires an example of success, a trusted lighthouse to rely on. Guidance to show how both public and private entities can reunite and act upon triple-bottom-line (people, profit, planet) joint efforts. This has happened in many fields and levels of development in Finnish society already. In my opinion, Finland has an exceptional global track record of innovating workable solutions combining digital and humane aspects for the world’s common good. Finns have evidence of outstanding success in rational and emotional outcomes. Some latest facts about Finland are:
- Both Finland’s primary (OECD PISA) and higher (Universitas 21) education systems are continuously ranked the best globally and skills development at work.
- The happiest country in 2022 for the fifth straight year (World Happiness Report)
- The first in political freedom and civil freedom, judicial independence, and gender equality.
Finland is the second, only to Denmark, as the most sustainable country of 146 countries studied (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2021)
- When entering NATO in late 2022, Finland will have the longest border of 1320 km with Russia. According to the survey conducted by the National Defence Information Planning in May 2022, 75% of Finns are willing to defend their country, which is the highest in Europe.
- Finland has committed to being a carbon-neutral society by 2035.
The time has come to step toward the new Northern European Socio-Economical & Environmental Innovation Ecosystem. I see that Finland has all the strengths, willingness, and potential to guide this profound and required change in minds and bodies, together with other Northern European contributors sharing the same purpose, values, and intent.
As Finns, our responsibility is to move now from backstage forward and support our fellow societies and their people in this demanding but rewarding ecosystem journey. Let’s make a better, prosperous, and more humane world a reality, one decision and one step at a time. What is your contribution to the ecosystem journey today? Mine is to help organizations to unleash their people´s full potential by making invisible visible and building bridges from humane strategies to daily actions. Let´s join our forces on this vital ecosystem journey for generations to come.
We at Humap Consultation support change in working life by building human strategies, new era leadership, and shaping collaborative culture by unleashing the full power of ecosystems. We are strengthening the union of humanity and technology in the transformation of working life.
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