Seminar: "I have seen the future - but does it work?"

The seminar, held at the Finnish Institute in June, examined the Report of the Finnish Parliamentary Committee for the Future (1997) which came to the following conclusions among many others:

The present GDP-based way of measuring things is too narrow and even leads to false assessment.

In the view of the Committee, the measures used as a basis for decision-making must be developed so that they more sensitively take account of different variables. The list of matters measured should be supplemented with several reflecting the quality of people's lives, for example the level of the basic livelihood security, the standard of health, the level of skill, equality and the state of the environment.

In the view of the Committee, information and knowledge are fundamental factors in future success. Prerequisites for successful endeavours include mutual trust between skilled personnel and other actors in various sectors, cooperation and purposeful networking. By networking we can improve the new strengths developing in Finland and the clusters based on them.

In the view of the Committee, innovations in the services, industrial and administrative sectors are essential for the success of the individual and society. Culture as a source of creativity lays the groundwork for innovations. Innovative activity and networking are particularly important in education and working life. Innovation does not come from nowhere. The culture in which activities take place must support fresh-minded thinking and a search for new ways of doing things.

In the view of the Committee, good governance of life and affairs plays a key role in the present era of strong transformation. The changes that are taking place represent above all new challenges and opportunities for every individual, every company and every community as well as for the whole of society. They must be predicted and steered in the desired direction. To a greater degree than in the past, citizens' own activity will determine the immaterial and material quality of their lives. Lifelong learning must be adopted as the strategic foundation for Finland's national success.

The Finnish speakers in the seminar were
Tarja Filatov MP,
Markku Markkula MP,
Markku Laukkanen, the President of the Administrative Council of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE),
Arne Wessberg, the Managing Director of YLE

The British speakers were
Nick Pearce, Institute for Public Policy Research,
Perry Walker, New Economics Foundation

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