Tolerate, be human and do good
Yesterday evening gathered a rather interesting group of 20 people in beautiful Villa Svalvik by the sea in eastern Helsinki managed by Woima foundation where I act as a president. We had people from business, art, research, education and consulting, among others.The question for all of us : In our lovely country of Finland, what should be done in order to make a real "great leap forward": to take more of our potential into use. What should be done to bring new business that responds to the real needs of the world (making giant ships for american pensioners is perhaps not among them) and create sustainable jobs for people? what should be done to take our cultural life from the seventies where it has mentally got stuck. What should be done in order to overcome the compartmentalized governance system that mostly prevents (instead of supporting) the right kind of solutions to appear. Eventually the question is: can we -here in Finland - come up with solutions that could help other places, other countries to to open up their minds, eyes and ears to see how they should change? Can we be forerunners?
We had four hours of passionate discussion over the topics. I name only there of them, very briefly:
1) Tolerance: if you do not have tolerance in society, we kill creativity, because it thrives in the tolerance. How much in this country we put the emphasis on tolerance, at all levels? Why is it, that Finland ranks very low, when you measure amount of the foreign people who stay there after their studies or even come to study here?
2) Be human: we are the great engineering country. the products and services we built here tend to have little of human touch (but a lot of technical masterwork). Since we know that the way to really break in the market depends increasingly our ability to create human-touch interfaces, we truly need to focus on human aspect fo building technological (or other) infrastructures. The ICT-infra that was created to support our health-care system, probably did more damage than good, just because no one really thought how the personnel could best use it.
3) Do good: we are great in talking, we experts. We love to hear our own voice. A sure recipy: put a lot of intellectually tuned people together and you can be quite certain that nothing really happens. How can we have ideas that really leads to action. That can happen of course only if we are determined to act. Most parties are not and thus they get nowhere with action. The second part of the phrase is good. Everybody in that room seemed to reflect in their approach that they want to do something for Finland, something for their country or for their own immediate environment that has given so much to them. It has to be something positive: to help new start-ups to rise, to help organisations to become energized, to help citizens to have a say when issues that directly affect their lives are decided upon. Or to help our government to make more reasonable decisions. And so on.
I think it is time for the new vehicle to move further these sort of ideas and start making them real. We need a new absolutely independent, forward looking and and cross-sectoral institute to bring together ideas, elaborate them and support them to grow real-life action. As we may put it: if the time is not now, when is it?