June 12, 2017

Journey of change continues – Boldly ahead together!

Kimmo Alkio

President & CEO , Tieto

This year Finland celebrates centenary year of Finnish independence. Centennial Finland and the Nordic society as a whole keep on regenerating. The underlying force behind the current change is digitalization: the new technology enables new kind of innovations, and the increasing amount of open data is a starting point for entirely new kind of growth.

Algorithms, robotics and virtual reality are already established in standard language, because these are the most common technologies behind new innovations. A wide national strategy for artificial intelligence is being consolidated in Finland to promote the utilization of artificial intelligence. Also the companies are increasingly transforming and investing in new growth areas – and frequently the investments focus on data. In addition to efficiency and optimization of operations, companies in the digital world must keep searching for new sources of growth.

The dual world is here to stay, and it entails not only continuous optimization of operations, but also an endless stream of new inspiring opportunities. A major concern will be how to drive productivity and ensure cost-efficiency and at the same time create new innovations? How to find the best focus between new growth and scalable opportunities? What type of actions would secure success in future?

Digitalization also involves changes in work life many may find shattering. That feeling is mainly caused by the speed of change as the new clock speed affects us all. As the world is transforming and digitalizing at an ever increasing pace, flexible service development is more important than ever because the challenges of digitalization require fast testing and reprocessing and that decidedly calls for innovative co-creation. In future, innovations will emerge at an accelerating rate across merging industries.

Hackathon events aiming at rapid development have become more common in recent years because they combine open data, innovative thinking and quick solution-oriented approach. Many companies in traditional industrial sectors have started to adopt hackathons as platforms for quick testing. Hackathons are used for finding distinguishable, outside-of-the-box solutions often in cooperation with students. Tieto's hackathons have for example produced a Snapchat public health nurse advisory service implemented in city of Oulu or a new kind of digital customer feedback system for people with developmental disability or special needs.

In future the pace of change is accelerating, and the new technology will provide future generations with possibilities we cannot even imagine today. Today's school-aged youth are at the heart of digitalization – studies show that 65% of current school children will work at jobs that do not even exist today*. The hot professions of tomorrow may be artificial intelligence trainer, data designer and 3D tailor. Work and employment will change significantly in the coming years. Moreover, the young digital natives will not experience digitalization the same way as the older generations. For them, the development resulting from digitalization will appear not as digitalization but as new services and solutions. The digitality is there by default already.

We have every reason to take a bold stand towards current digitalization and strive for new innovations and sources of growth in an agile manner. We have all the prerequisites for becoming a lasting leader in digital services if we provide the future generations a good basis for transforming innovations into social equality. This will require bold attitude, agile cooperation and thirst for knowledge and lifelong learning.

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The blog was first published in the Technology industries of Finland CEO blog series (in Finnish).

*World Economic Forum

Tieto participates in Finland 100 jubilee year by provoking discussion about the work of the future. Read more: https://www.tieto.fi/tiedosta/tietoa-tulevasta-tulevaisuuden-tekijoille

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