Finland celebrates its 100 years of independence this year. Being attacked in 1939 by the Soviet Union was a particularly painful part of the journey. The progress after the war - from an agrarian country with some forest industry - has been good. There
are now a fair number of Finnish companies amongst the globally leading in several sectors.
Nokia is, of course, the best known - mostly because of its now divested handset business. For a small country (5 million) to give birth to a globally leading (for 14 years - often selling more than a daily average of 1 million handsets) consumer electronics
actor was eye-opening. Also that such a position could be lost. But Nokia continues as one of the top 2 in the network business and the numerous start-up activities demonstrated at the huge Slush-event is a promising sign for new growth.
The financial sector has for its part also brought some important gifts to the celebrating country and - I dare say - to the world. With home-e-banking launched in 1982 and later expanded into "connecting customers" ecosystem elements like e-id services,
e-invoicing, e-commerce payments and e-salary the banks have demonstrated that there is significant
new dimensions of customer value to be delivered. The success story - which now is about to be continued with e-receipts - has been possible by co-operation in standardization and thus strengthened competition. Nordea Bank - a Finnish initiative
- took these concepts to the other Nordic countries.
Looking forward into the data-driven economy and Single European market we know that
trust will be the currency of interaction. From this angle, it is particularly pleasing to note the banking sector's e-ID service in this jubilee year
will be used 100 million times. What gift could be more important?