Public servant in the polling booth: an opportunity to blow wind into the sales of the economy


The election campaign is gathering pace. Like me, many voters are still searching for the candidate they want to see deciding their future in the Finnish Parliament. I too am a swing voter, hovering between the options. I am looking for a visionary who will gaze boldly into the future.

For me, the actual election day has a glamour all of its own - I'm no advance polling type. When, on Sunday 19 April, I put a number on a little slip of paper in the Vantaankoski gym hall, I will have run my policy preferences through the voting aid applications and asked questions at candidates' stands, bearing three criteria in mind.

1. Let's elect a visionary ready to make policies that incentivise Finnish companies to succeed in a sustainable manner. The business success stories of the future will create economic wellbeing and save the world at the same time. Just as firms like Beibamboo are doing. Budding MPs need to lower the obstacles to success and give firms more freedom to succeed.

2. My parliamentary decision-maker will have realised that public procurements are one of the best business policy tools. Innovative public procurements provide a way of recreating public services from the inside out. At the same time, they can create demand for Finnish goods and services.

Through smart purchasing, the public sector can create criteria on quality and the expected result, but leave it to companies to decide how to get there. This will ensure that society's resources are put to beneficial use. And everyone wins: the public sector, the seller, the end user and the citizen. Oulu is a great example of how smart purchasing should be done. Our forthcoming national leaders need to make sure that smart purchasing becomes part of the Finnish way of doing things.

3. My candidate will understand that world-beating expertise does not grow on trees. What we're doing right now might be sowing the seeds of success that will bloom in ten years' time. World-class know-how is the long-term product of the networks formed by companies, universities and research institutes. It moves from one organisation to another alongside the people who study, change jobs and grow their expertise each time they move on.

As the basis of the best skills in the world, we need the world's best research as well as world-beating companies – both large and small – that enthusiastically take advantage of such research. To build world-beating expertise, we need experimentation, trial and error, new starts and risk sharing. It is now up to our decision-makers to create a wise innovation policy and ensure that the seeds of expertise are cultivated in the long-term.

We are all hoping for fresh winds in the sails of the economy. This will require bold decisions and, above all, choices based on which we can restore the vitality of our private sector. The result will be the creation of the jobs and wellbeing that we all hope for. Regardless of which party we support, that is what each and every voter ultimately wants.

Executive Director Ilona Lundström, Large companies and public organisations

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