How to save the world? We live in an era where only this question matters. We are the first generation to truly become face to face with this question, and most likely the last generation that has a genuine chance to find an answer. We have all the responsibility of a revolution but many times it feels like we have been given no tools.
I believe that the solutions for a better future are available. Technology, digitalization, artificial intelligence, human intelligence and communication deliver real, tangible results. Even though the applications might be complex the decision to use them is easy. Pragmatic and human-centered cities are at the forefront of this development.
Many other places around the world now look to us for answers. Finland is a testament to the notion that quality and value transcend passing trends – only recently clean air, silence, low temperatures and security became desirable.
What we once were became the globally desired model. Now our job has become to prove that good life is not a Nordic curiosity, but a sustainable, sensible, real way of building a society. We should concentrate on building a Nordic Model 2.0 that would be based on shared realities of the world and available to all, who are willing to invest to education, democracy and equality. Even though we are still very far from a perfect world sharing what we know about building good life is important.
My mission as the Mayor of Helsinki is to offer the best possible conditions for urban life for anyone to chooses to make this city a home. As a city our tool box does not include laws, regulations, or the use of force – the traditional mechanisms of hard power. Instead, our success is based on the law of attraction. We must convince that life here is better than somewhere else. How to make a quiet revolution of soft power?
Founded in 2005, the Helsinki Design Week has always been at the forefront of this question. In addition to exploring the more traditional manifestations of design it has always asked the topical questions about the state of our society and what is the role of design in the context of sustainability, urbanization, nationalism, segregation and democracy.
Design as the interface of a Nordic society is at the core of soft power. Something that impacts everything but insults no-one.
I believe that design makes the world survive. The quiet revolution of soft power is needed no more than ever.