The IT-based Services of the Future

Report by the Nordic Council of Ministers IT-policy Expert Group

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As part of the stimulation and development of co-operation in the IT field, MR-U set up a group of eminent external experts to advise the Nordic Council of Ministers on IT issues. The group devised four future scenarios based on forces for change in the world a large. The scenarios are presented in this report, along with analyses and recommendations. The scenario method is a tried and tested tool in both public policy and in strategic business contexts. It is well suited to making forward-looking strategic observations in a changing world. Globalisation, climate change, the financial crisis, servicification and other external factors influence the nature of Nordic co-operation and help our countries to continue to develop as prosperous, knowledgeable and innovative societies in the face of fierce competition and specific framework conditions. The report focuses on identifying priorities that will underpin the development of ICT-based services. The report can be used as an inventory of potential areas, to identify and develop candidates for Nordic co-operation and, above all else, to stimulate discussion on potential areas for Nordic IT co-operation.

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Nordic ICT is characterised by successful applied research and entrepreneurship, and it is a sector in which the Nordic countries are well regarded. In several spheres, Nordic countries - indeed, the whole of the Nordic Region - are European or world leaders in IT. For example, the OECD recently named the Nordic Region the world leader in e-government, and Eurostat's regional publication showed that the Nordic Region is the European leader in e-trading and daily Internet usage. Several major multinational companies have emerged from the Nordic Region, and the general skills level and degree of ICT usage are high. In addition, the prerequisites for bolstering existing Nordic positions of strength are extraordinarily good. In a era of increasingly fierce competition, ICT also has major potential to improve the efficiency of working processes and resource management. A combination of the prevalence of IT and the generally high level of education and knowledge means there are plenty of opportunities for IT solutions and development in the Region.

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