Posts Tagged ‘Central Finland’

By Hanna-Maija Kiviranta, JAMK

Hanna-Maija Kiviranta

We are doing excellent! Finland moved up one place in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report reaching the 3rd position in the list of the top 10 competitive economies in the world.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, Finnish economy has had small improvements in a number of areas. Finland occupies the top position both in the health and primary education as well as in the higher education and training thanks to strong focus on education over recent decades. This has provided the workforce with the skills needed to adapt rapidly to a changing environment and has laid the groundwork for high levels of technological adoption and innovation.

We are one of the most innovative countries in Europe, ranking 2nd, behind only Switzerland. Improving our capacity to adopt the latest technologies (ranked 25th) could lead to important synergies that in turn could corroborate Finland’s position as one of the world’s most innovative economies. (Source: The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013)



Traditionally, Finland has been regarded as one of the top users of Internet technology. Alarmingly enough, certain recent research results  do not seem to support this notion. In autumn 2011, the DIMAR research   project funded by the Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) explored the current state of digital marketing and social media in the Finnish industry. According to the survey, every 10th industrial enterprise in Finland makes no use of digital media. Still fewer enterprises make use of social media. As much as 50% of the enterprises participating in the survey said that they were not utilizing social media at all.

Accordingly, the views the enterprises have of the manifestations of social media vary depending on the medium in question. Quite surprisingly, the tools of social media were considered the least important: almost half the enterprises participating in the survey thought that they are unimportant. On the other hand, the enterprises react more positively to customer magazines, newsletters, email and SMS marketing and sales support material. Approximately every 10th enterprise utilizes the potential offered by e-commerce with only every second enterprise using online advertising (banners). Neither have the roles of search engine advertising and optimization been established in the marketing operations of industrial enterprises. A customer magazine, newsletter and sales support material are considered familiar and safe media, which can contribute to successful business.

The research results are alarming in that enterprises may not understand the importance of the media of digital marketing familiar to the ever growing number of customers, particularly young people. Enterprises have to know where to find their customers. “Even if some enterprises must have understood this, the results of statistical surveys do not confirm that assumption”, says Mr. Jorma Kananen, Principal Lecturer of Business Operations Research and Development at Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences.
Some of the worst barriers to the utilization of digital marketing in enterprises seem to be lack of resources, and a limited amount of time and know how available including difficulties with content production. Technical difficulties or shortage of money are only regarded as minor obstacles. Therefore, lack of resources may be interpreted to be equivalent to lack of experts of marketing. The staffs at enterprises keep working as before without recognizing the need for change. As Kananen goes on to say, “a skills gap in the utilization of the current marketing tools and media seems to be the greatest obstacle to successful business activities.

In order to make the use of digital marketing more effective, enterprises do not, necessarily, have to increase their marketing budgets but instead, re-organize them. This also calls for new kind of contemplation on the relationship between enterprise and customer and their mutual communication. Instead of gigantic investments, digital marketing will generate cost savings. Customers may participate in product design, and it will be possible to solve claims within the customer community. Furthermore, real time discourse with customers will make business activities more effective. The utilization of the nearly free tools of social media will save costs.” However, in order to achieve this, the enterprise has to take digital marketing and the new technology into account in its strategic planning. It is high time to question the traditional way of marketing, in which an enterprise approaches the target group chosen through a marketing communications campaign”, Kananen points out.

(Some background information of the survey: The participants were 150 industrial enterprises. Thus, the results are only suggestive.  There will be a further study in spring 2012 with SMEs in Central Finland as the target group.

Further information:
Mr. Jorma Kananen, Principal Lecturer of Business Operations Research and Development at Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, Business and Services Management, jorma.kananen(at), tel. +358 40 732 8742

by Murat Akpinar

Michael Porter

Professor Michael Porter

JAMK has been accepted into the Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) network developed by Professor Michael Porter at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. There are around 90 affiliate universities in the MOC network. JAMK is the second Finnish institute of higher education to join the network following Aalto University School of Economics.


MOC is a graduate-level course which explores the determinants of national and regional competitiveness through the lenses of strategies of firms, government policies, and the roles of actors such as industry associations and universities. The course analyzes clusters, organizational structures, institutional structures and change processes required for sustained improvements in competitiveness. Target students are graduate students in business, economics, development, government and related disciplines. Member universities in the network teach the course locally with the aid of resources developed at Harvard. The course is taught in the International Business Management master degree program at JAMK.

Selection Criteria

Harvard selects universities that are leading business schools in their regions. The ideal member university should have faculty with doctoral degrees and an ongoing research program in the field. Participation in the course is on an invitation-only basis. JAMK was recommended to the network via visiting professor Faheem ul-Islam who has been an affiliate of the network since 2006. Instructors from new affiliates should attend the new faculty workshop at Harvard in December prior to teaching the course. The workshop provides instructions on how to teach the course, how to use case studies in the course, and how to manage student teams in class. Matti Hirsilä and Murat Akpinar from JAMK will attend this workshop at Harvard during Dec 12-13, 2011.

Areas for Cooperation in the Network

MOC opens the doors for cooperation possibilities in teaching and research with highly prestigious schools in the network from all around the world. Instructors meet annually at Harvard to share their experiences in teaching of the course, learn about new developments, and exchange ideas for research and development. Cooperation continues throughout the year between instructors through joint projects and staff exchange. This is an excellent opportunity to contribute to JAMK’s internationalization.

Long-term Vision for Member Universities

The course addresses the ways in which the private, public and university sectors can work together to boost regional development and competitiveness. As such it does not only serve as a platform to educate young people but also to help universities to contribute to regional and national economic development. The course can be adapted to train public sector officials and private sector leaders. In that respect it stimulates projects in which students and faculty work together with business and regional government. As for JAMK, this course can provide the means to play an even more influential role in the development of the region of Central Finland.