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Service sector offers growth potential and new jobs

The role of the service sector in the global economy is growing rapidly. It is important that productivity in services can be increased, say experts of the Finnsight 2015 foresight process.

FinnSight 2015 is a joint foresight project of Tekes and the Academy of Finland. The core of the foresight project comprised ten expert panels, each of which was composed of ten experts. The Services and Service Innovations panel of the FinnSight 2015 project identified seven focus areas of competence:

- the promotion of a customer and consumer approach
- business competence in services
- the development of better housing, service and work environments
- the promotion of service exports
- data security and information and communications technology in services
- culture and adventure services
- the renewal of public services
Customer needs and consumer approach in innovation development
The service sector needs to have a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that lie behind consumers’ choices. More knowledge is also needed about the reorganisation of people’s everyday life, about how they spend their time and money, their consumption, leisure time and particularly about how these different domains are related to one another.

In the service sector the concept of innovation needs to be defined in broader terms so that it also takes in social innovations, such as new strategies of action, new practices and the development of practices into routines. Examples of the broad markets for service innovations are provided by household services, the impacts of immigration and regional development on the demand for services, and projects to renew public health and care services.

Service exports set to become a strength area

Finland is well placed to become a major exporter of technology services. Areas of particular strength for Finnish exports might include social services, international general purpose services as well as environmental services and technology. Services related to information security technology, information and communication systems might also provide new export opportunities for Finland. Culture and adventure services are a growing field where technology and business know-how are especially important.

Finland has every opportunity to become a model country for good housing and good living environments where all people have access to pleasant, well-tended everyday environments and related environmental services as well as solutions based on modern environmental technology. The development of better environments is a focus area that relies closely on architecture, urban and community planning and logistics.

FinnSight 2015

FinnSight 2015 is a joint foresight project of Tekes and the Academy of Finland. It examined the change factors that have impact on Finnish business and industry and on Finnish society, identified future challenges of innovation and research activity and analysed such areas of expertise which will foster the well-being in society and the competitiveness of business and industry by means of scientific research and innovation activities. The focus in foresight was on social and global issues.

Foresight will lay the foundation for new internationally competitive centres of excellence and expertise clusters. Simultaneously, foresight will reinforce strategy work at the Academy of Finland and Tekes.

The core of the foresight project comprised ten expert panels, each of which was composed of ten experts. The areas that emerged most prominently were the management of global risks, energy and environment issues, the renewal of the health care system as well as ICT and biosciences applications.

Eeva Ahola | alfa
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