Finland is one of the most digitally competitive countries in the world, according to an inaugural ranking published by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
The IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking measures the ability of countries to adopt and explore digital technologies as a means to modernise administrative practices, business models and societal structures.
Arto Pussinen, the head of ICT and digitalisation at Finpro’s Invest in Finland, believes it is impossible to overstate the importance of digital capabilities for the overall competitiveness of countries.
“Digital competitiveness is extremely important as more and more industries are digitalising. Its importance will only grow further. Digital technologies will penetrate practically every service and industrial sector in the near future,” he says.
Finland broke comfortably into the top five of the inaugural ranking, finishing fourth after Singapore (1st), Sweden (2nd) and the United States (3rd) but ahead of countries such as Denmark (5th), the Netherlands (6th), Hong Kong (7th) and Switzerland (8th).
Its high ranking is attributable to a number of factors, views Pussinen. Finland, he points out, has a large and highly-advanced information and communications technology sector with no shortage of skilled workers.
“A skilled workforce is a core requirement for digitalisation,” he reminds. “Finland underwent a sectoral transformation when the mobile phone cluster contracted sharply and freed up skilled labour. The crisis created new opportunities and forced us to shed our skin.”
He adds that the country has emerged as a leading site for testing and launching new digital capabilities also due to the technology-orientation of its citizens, the ease of co-operation with universities and research institutes, and the lack of hierarchic and bureaucratic structures.
“Yet another factor are the public support programmes of Finpro, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) and other members of Team Finland,” adds Pussinen.