The Ecosystem Forum

The Finnish Government has piloted a new innovative operating model based on co-creation and networking widely within the society. This so-called ‘The Ecosystem Forum’ aims at boosting human-centric digitalisation policy and data economy. It is a new way to formulate policies, prepare decisions and improve implementation. The forum is led by the State Secretary at Prime Minister's Office. In addition, the Prime Minister's Office has an active role in the facilitation of the network.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The digitalisation policy needs to be run in a more coherent and co-ordinated manner. Therefore, the Finnish Prime Minister's Office together with the Ministry of Finance has created a novel way to formulate policies, the Ecosystem Forum. It brings together all relevant stakeholders from different sectors to discuss openly key challenges and possible policy options. The discussions are held on specific issues, ecosystems or new policy areas, eg. ethical standards of A.I, MaaS (Mobility as a Service) and information policy. The Ecosystem Forum is a two-year governance experiment, which started in June 2017.

The novelty in The Ecosystem Forum is that the participants of the Forum are not formally representatives of their ministries. The forum operates directly under the leadership of the State Secretary at Prime Minister's Office and the mandate is derived directly from the Government. Through the State Secretary, the stakeholders have a direct channel to communicate their views to the high-level decision-making bodies, as far as the Government as a whole.

The forum emphasizes ethical and human-centric approach on digitalisation and digital economy issues. Human-centric approach steers the focus towards the needs of individuals and companies instead of administrative agendas and silos. Thus far, we have had eight forums with very promising results. The participants have been very motivated, and we have found innovative solutions to common challenges. The challenges usually concern regulation, resources or out-dated operating models. We have been able to remove sectoral and administrative barriers and reach conclusions and proposals faster than previously.

It is not just about the workshops. Regular meetings and keeping in contact with the network actors are a key part of the operation. The role of Prime Minister’s Office includes active facilitation of the network of ecosystems and curating suitable strategic themes for the workshops. Monitoring by the Prime Minister’s Office is kept to the minimum: it is more about helping the line ministries to achieve their goals in relation to the Strategic Government Program. Compared to traditional administrative working groups and reporting procedures the forum is a faster way to reach solutions to complex challenges.

In addition, the Ecosystem Forum offers the line ministries a platform to align their actions towards common collective goals. It also reduces the risk of doing the same things all over again. As a policy tool, it adds more insight by giving the private and third sector actors active opportunities to have their say in the matters. This happens before new projects are started so it is not just an ordinary hearings which are usually held after the course of action has been already decided by the government. All events are streamed live online, and key findings of the workshops are available for anyone to utilize. This enhances the openness of the whole operation.

Innovation Description

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Year: 2017
Level of government: National/Federal government

Status:

  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

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