Case Description – ICT Cluster Revolution as an Accelerator for Job Creation

Finland is one of the internationally recognized leaders in ICT innovations. Today the largest transformation and revolution of the Finnish economy is occurring in the ICT sector. Recently the Nokia layoffs in Espoo, Oulu, Salo and Tampere made a highly educated and professionally experienced work force available for new opportunities. At the same time there is an increasing need for professionals from the ICT sector to services (health care, real estate, security, tourism), public sector and traditional industry.

Helsinki Metropolitan Area includes Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen and has a population of about one million. Helsinki Metropolitan area is the most important urban, economic, cultural and scientific region of Finland. High density of firms and work force of the ICT sector is located there.

Espoo is one of the most important high-tech cities in Northern Europe. It is Finland’s second largest city and is developing fast. In Espoo 20 % of population is under 15 years old and more than 50 % over 24 holds a university degree. Leading institutions in technology and science, global headquarters of renowned Finnish companies (e.g. Nokia, Kone, Fortum and Rovio) and more than 400 other international companies make it the power house of Finland’s economy.

Digital technology is a key driver of Finnish innovation in all sectors, including forest, metal, electronics and construction industries. Digitalization is changing industry structures, which influences all companies operating or willing to operate in the region.

The EU 2020 policy framework calls for smart regions and cities to translate grand global challenges into regional priorities. Local Digital Agendas in Europe create regional priorities and smart specialization strategies and actions, bridging the gap between research and market, towards an inclusive economic and societal growth model.

Challenges and opportunities

This case investigates opportunities that digitalization might offer on:
a) How to improve the national and regional competitiveness and create growth and jobs?
b) How to reform the industry by ICT and digitalization?
c) How to keep and employ IT professionals (ex-Nokians and graduates)?
d) How to link these possibilities to a larger European framework through Local Digital Agenda?
e) How to create adaptable new knowledge and competences?

Main Objectives

Key questions for case participants are:

a) What are the implications of this digitalization for strengthening an inclusive society?
b) How could the public sector utilize the full potential of digitalization?
c) How can we create optimal benefit through the on-going revolution of ICT and the Nokia cluster, turning this into societal innovations in Finland, and beyond?

How can this be linked to EU policy developments, especially the Digital Agenda for Europe?