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Blog 10.05.2023

From societal challenges to future growth opportunities: Learning to think big

How can we tackle grand societal challenges? What are missions and how do they build future success for Finland? Business Finland’s Strategic Support Trainee Milja Sorvari shares her views on how missions guide the way to the future and what her key learnings have been at the Strategic Insight unit.
Milja Sorvari

Strategic Support Trainee
Business Finland

The view of the world today is colored by challenges that are fundamentally affecting and changing our societies. Climate crisis, security of resources, and issues in health and wellbeing – just to name a few recent headlines. However, each challenge also gives a chance to make a difference. This requires forward-looking and bold thinking – together.

In order to truly make a difference, collaborative efforts are needed to speed up the necessary systemic change. This means holistic change across industries, sectors and society, towards the same goals.

Accelerating systemic change through Business Finland missions

How to tackle these global challenges and grasp the opportunities in them? Our way is through what we call Business Finland's missions. Business Finland missions accelerate systemic change to build a more sustainable future and ensure that Finnish companies are also able to grasp the future market opportunities that arise from global disruptions.

The missions can use the entire variety of Business Finland’s services and measures, including boosting research, renewal of business, innovation and international growth of Finnish companies. As a way of working, missions were first introduced to Business Finland in 2021. We currently have two ongoing missions, Digital Native Finland and Zero Carbon Future, and more are to come.

Missions aim high, plan for change and build on collaboration

The mission concept is still rather new at Business Finland. Here is a shortlist to remember of how Business Finland missions work towards tackling societal challenges and building future growth opportunities for Finnish companies:

  1. Missions set an ambitious goal. Value is created broadly on a societal level by working together towards a common goal.
  2. Missions create a plan for the needed change. This is how we can actively shape the future.
  3. Collaboration is the most important tool. Cross-sectoral collaboration and partnering is the key in driving the needed changes. Business Finland creates value especially by bringing actors together to join forces to work on selected topics.

Learning to think big

My main role as a Strategic Support Trainee has been in supporting the implementation of the newly defined thematic focus areas. These focus areas complement Business Finland’s strategy by providing more specific direction to our operations in terms of substance, and thus they also create the base for Business Finland missions.

Supporting and coordinating the preparation process for new missions has been a big part of my traineeship at Business Finland.

As I concluded earlier, making a difference requires collaboration. However, change still starts with the individual. So, how can we, regardless of the role or field we are in, aim to make a difference and strive for building sustainable future growth opportunities?

The main things that I have learned could be summarized into two quite simple points:

  • Think big, and then a bit bigger again, with a future oriented mindset.
  • The boldly envisioned views of the future will also guide the more concrete choices and actions in the here and now.

In practice, this is what Business Finland missions also strive for: bringing strategic foresight and current business needs together. Missions are not just a strategic tool, but they support and guide the mindset in which each and every one of us can think big into the future, in order to start making a difference already today.