International research project

The preparation of the Government Report on the Future was supported by a research project providing academic research information. An international research team analysed global economic changes and solutions to sustainable development based on related case studies. The team was co-headed by Professors Manuel Castells and Pekka Himanen.

The research team examined leading development models, and related development goals, in a number of different areas over a time period extending beyond the current economic crisis. In addition to the Finnish model, the cases examined included the Silicon Valley model, the state-led development model of China, the welfare model of Europe and the development models of Chile and South Africa.

Members of the international research team

The Sustainable Growth Model research project was carried out by a team consisting of seven members:

Professor Pekka Himanen (co-head)
Professor Manuel Castells (co-head)
Professor AnnaLee Saxenian
Professor You-tien Hsing
Professor Fernando Calderon
Professor Isidora Chacon Alvarez
Professor Nico Cloete


Preparations for the research project started in autumn 2011. In February 2012, the Prime Minister's Office, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and the Academy of Finland signed an agreement to commission a research project from an international research team. The duration of the seven-member research team's project was two years. The project was managed by Sofos Oy. The research team finalised its work by autumn 2013 and the final report was published at the second summit forum on 7 November.

Project outline

1. International research publication

The final report of the research project was published on 7 November 2013 and its English version will be made available in 2014. The main idea behind the project was to provide Finland with international viewpoints and enable to position itself in a wider global context.

2. Summit forums

The first summit forum on "Sustainable growth and well-being" was held in Helsinki on 1 November 2012. At the forum, the international research team presented its first views and discussed the project themes with Finnish specialists and decision-makers. A recording of the first summit forum is available on the government website. The final report of the research team "Sustainable Growth Model: a global perspective" was published at the second summit forum on 7 November 2013.

3. First conclusions: The Blue Book

The project team opened discussion by presenting its first conclusions at the halfway point of the project. The team published an own-initiative interim report at the summit forum on "Sustainable growth and well-being" in Helsinki on 1 November 2012: The Blue Book: Finland's Sustainable Growth Model – a draft for a national project on the future – written by Professor Pekka Himanen based on the research project findings. The Blue Book focuses on the most challenging question faced by Finland's welfare society: how to bridge the EUR 10 billion sustainability gap. The report also outlines steps for building today’s new 2.0. welfare society, changes that have affected the global economic environment and the utmost aim of the development.

4. Ten 'round table' sessions in Finland and abroad

As part of the project, the research team held ten 'round table' sessions in Finland and abroad. The aim was to establish and advance cooperation with Finnish universities and strengthen connections between Finnish researchers and leading universities abroad. The research team also organised events in cooperation with other areas of society, including for example innovation, economic and business sectors.

5. Links with the preparation of the Government Report on the Future

The research project made part of the process on the Government Report on the Future and its results have been drawn upon in the chapters on the digital change, community spirit and participation, and the public sector.

6. Final report

The final report published on 7 November 2013 is a Finnish translation of the original English version which was published in 2014.  The Finnish version has a separate preface and a section on conclusions relevant to Finland. The final report highlights new, international elements of a sustainable growth model. One of the development goals is a valued life.