State Secretary Martti Hetemäki recently commented the situation in Finland with the words “Either we fix the employment situation or make some new adjustment actions or give up the idea of cutting debts.” I think we all agree that improving employment situation is the only sensible alternative that we should promote. One has to wonder why this has been so difficult in Finland. Did we forget employment as our target for several years because we had other concerns after the finance crisis? We can create new employment opportunities either by creating new competitive products and services or by being better in sales and marketing. It was easy to cut marketing and R&D costs when the economy was declining – but did we get stuck in this mode? I think we did.
The economic growth that is necessary for increased employment doesn’t just happen on its own and the new products don’t just pop up from nowhere. And they certainly don’t sell themselves without any marketing efforts. We have lot of know-how and knowledge in Finland, lot of positive examples and great success stories of brave entrepreneurship. The situation is by no means gloomy even if we have a national tendency to see negative sides of the situation. We need bold decisions both from the state and the companies to invest in R&D and we need it now. In marketing, we have to be able to gain visibility and create something fresh. In R&D we need new, even radical concepts that help us to find ambitious product and service innovations. These have to be concrete, we have to have the courage to be different and visionary even if this means that we are taking the risk of being challenged. Far too often we end up being too general and too cautious.
At VTT, we want to create opportunities, suggestions of new businesses, and develop them together with our business and university partners. Our company also has to change so that we get more speed and impact in our activities. We are now in the acceleration phase and on the right path in our change process.
President & CEO