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A peak into the future with the help of scenarios and SWOTs – Helsinki-Uusimaa in 2050 and beyond


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Smart cities, artificial intelligence and robots, climate change and migration flows, new sources for energy supply. While all these phenomena are already now a part of our everyday reality, the impact they have on our living-environment in twenty, thirty or even fifty years is only possible to guess.

To better prepare for the challenges – but even more importantly, to seize new opportunities – the Helsinki-Uusimaa region has used scenario work and SWOT analysis to estimate which direction the region is heading in the future decades.

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can help organisations, regions or projects to specify their objectives for the future. The abbreviation stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Scenarios as a tool in regional strategic work

The Helsinki-Uusimaa region has recently used scenarios and SWOT analysis in its strategic preparations for the future. The regional programme Uusimaa programme 2.0, which is the strategic document guiding the work of the regional organization, was based on scenario analysis carried out by a large group of stakeholders in the region.

The aim of scenario work was to identify alternative futures. For instance, in one possible scenario climate change had created major migration flows. Another scenario described a future with nation-centric states with closed borders. Other scenarios described a world where the EU had gained strong centralized powers, or a world with sufficient free energy supply.

− We wanted to identify trends of the future and to create a forward-looking mindset, explains Senior Adviser Liisa Hyttinen from the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council. Based on this work, we constructed a solid strategy for our region together with our stakeholders.

RIS3 strategies updated through SWOTs

The positive experiences from the inclusion of scenario and SWOT analysis in strategic planning has also been taken on project-level. The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council is a partner in the Smart-up BSR project co-funded from the Interreg Baltic Sea programme.

Smart-up BSR workshop in Palanga

In the project, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council is in charge of a work package where the project partners carry out scenario work and SWOT analysis of their own regions. The goal of the process is to imagine the strengths and weaknesses of the region in particular scenarios. Based on this work, the partners can see how to make modifications in their RIS3 strategies so that the region would be better prepared for global trends – positive and negative – of the future.

− In our region, we noticed that stakeholders were very motivated to discuss what the world will look like in the future and how we can prepare ourselves for it, explains Innovation Adviser Kristiina Heiniemi-Pulkkinen. The process helped us to look beyond today and to foresee some major trends of the future and see how to respond to them in a positive way through RIS3 strategies.

SWOT-analyysi 15.5.

Smart-up BSR in a nutshell:

Partners from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Russia. Project’s lead partner is the Aalto University.

Total budget of 2.4 million euros, receiving co-funding from the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Programme. The project is carried out between 2017 and 2020.

Helsinki-Uusimaa Region is responsible for SWOT analyses and scenarios concerning smart specialisation. Uusimaa Region is also in charge of planning a pilot project between the regions on the theme of active healthy ageing.


> Uusimaa programme 2.0

> Smart-up BSR project website

For further information:

Innovation Adviser Kristiina Heiniemi-Pulkkinen, tel. +358 400 416 714

Senior Adviser Liisa Hyttinen, tel. +358 40 730 9551

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