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Sustainable growth – towards well-being and better quality of life. Interim report by the Growth Initiative working group

26/05/2010
Economy and Finance, Europe 2020
The working group to strengthen long-term economic growth is engaged in identifying measures to boost productivitygrowth in Finland. In the long term, growth in productivity will be the primary, and perhaps the only, driver of the nation's income growth.The background section of this interim report considers the meaning of GDP and labour productivity, sources of their growth and the importance of such growth. The analysis section is divided into six policy baskets: efficient and wellfunctioning markets, generation and utilisation of information, human and social capital and the labour market, productivity and efficiency in the public sector, business and private investments, and public investments.Finland’s success will depend on a high level of skills and innovative solutions in all sectors of society. The information society is an important instrument in creating opportunities to boost productivity and increase production, while taking account of ecological restrictions. Research and innovation policies and the education system must support the information society's development and place a greater focus on quality and internationality. In addition, the ability of Finns to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the more stringent international environmental policy must beenhanced. A modern broadband infrastructure is an imperative.In addition to the broad-based use of information and communication technologies (ICT), the ability to changepractices plays a key role in promoting public sector productivity. In the private sector, effective markets andcompetition form another important aspect, given that human and economic resources are most effectively targetedon market terms.The information society does not mean technology only. Unless our working methods are changed, the benefits ofnew technology may largely remain out of reach. In addition to information society skills, the adoption of newpractices can be supported by investments in citizens’ mental and physical well-being and in the prevention of social exclusion. Society's support network must provide support for individuals rather than organisations, within the context of change.The modernisation of the public sector's own working methods means, for example, directing the development ofelectronic services and systems on a centralised basis; more centralised and professional management of publicprocurement; and the reform of the structure of services and the administrative system. Innovative use of ICT willhelp achieve these targets.