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Dear Friends of the Baltic Sea

While writing these words, it is snowing outside. As we say in Finland “spring cometh swinging”, I think we all around the Baltic Sea are used to capricious spring before the summer comes. However, we have our eyes already in a next autumn and BSSSC Annual Conference. This year Annual Conference will be organized in Visby, Gotland, 23-25 of September and the main theme of the conference will be “Digital Agenda”.

Digitalization is coming, if we wanted it or not. We have to be prepared for it, even if we don’t know yet, what it brings to our lives. Digital Agenda is also one of the seven flagship initiatives of Europe 2020 Strategy. Europe 2020 Strategy identifies five headline targets, which the European Union should take to boost growth and employment and these in turn are broken down into the seven flagship initiatives. A Digital Agenda for Europe includes to speed up the roll-out of high-speed internet and reap the benefits of a digital single market for households and firms.

But what does digitalization mean? Shortly it means dismantling information for bits, which enables storage, organize and manipulate the information. This can be combined with different fields, mobile technology, household machines or basically anything. But of course, digitalization is much more, than that.

We can’t avoid digitalization, but it also has impacts. One of the biggest fear might be, that we can’t know yet, what it brings to our everyday lives. And if we don’t know that, can we be well prepared for it? Digitalization also formats our work life. It makes the processes different, which require new kind of skills and new kind of leadership. One general fear is also, that we will lose our workplaces – but from the other hand, digitalization also creates new kind of jobs. Digitalization enables that all information is available all the time, but how about the security? What if our computers starts to think themselves?

This newsletter is dedicated to Digital Agenda, concentrating for the concrete examples in Helsinki-Uusimaa Region. Mr. Markku Markkula, the new President of the EU Committee of Regions tries to find an answer to the question, if we should create a network of innovation hubs throughout the Baltic Sea Marco-Region. He also cordially invites you to events in Latvia and Finland, where you can meet with the digitalization theme, while getting ready to the BSSSC Annual Conference. Ms. Mira Kettunen and Ms. Stella Kallionpää from TeliaSonera writes about multinational company’s point of view about digitalization. The third article is about Smart specialization. Smart Specialisation strategy is also called 'RIS3', which is an abbreviation of 'Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation'. It will be used in EU cooperation for creating international partnerships and directing EU finances to the region. Devising a strategy was the pre-condition for permission to use the resources of the EU structural funds during this new period.

I hope you find these articles interesting and useful. Now, after Easter, when the weather is already better, I wish you sunny spring!

Ossi Savolainen
BSSSC Chairman

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