Transformation Nation

Finland’s transformative journey into a full-fledged hi-tech superpower has been a wonder to behold, writes entrepreneur and author Roman Kikta.

I remember when I first visited Finland in May 1994, almost 30 years ago. That was a very different Finland from today’s version, but the seeds of something truly great were already there – and growing. I found, already then in the mid-90’s, that the greatest asset of Finland were her people: they possessed a dynamic mindset and a vibrancy that is almost unmatched anywhere!


Roman Kikta.

I worked with Nokia at that time and got to participate in the mobile revolution in its fullest. In my view, Nokia’s tech prowess also served as a powerful catalyst for the entire country. Finland started to dream big and they had the brainpower to get there.

In my role as a behavioral anthropologist of technology use, I’ve visited over 80 countries, analyzing how people use technologies, the Internet and digital media in their everyday lives. The focus of my work in this arena is zeroing in on those technology solutions that have the ability to make our lives significantly better.

It turned out that Finland excelled in this, too: during the past three decades, Finns have embraced technology in an exemplary manner. Finnish companies have a knack for developing meaningful solutions that frequently improve the quality of life – and have wider societal reach, too.

This was another thing that continued to impress me about Finland. Local companies, supposedly in it just to make money, widely held the view that their solutions were meant to better society, to improve the human condition. I felt this approach to be extraordinary, and still do.

Over the years, as I’ve visited Finland more than 100 times, I’ve been able to learn a lot about Finland, her companies and people. I also served as a Board Member and the Interim President for Finnish company IndoorAtlas, the world’s first company to utilize magnetic anomalies inside buildings and smartphones to pinpoint positions indoors. The company’s technology was inspired by the migration patterns of animals – birds, fishes, foxes.

Along the way, I’ve marveled at the relationship Finns have with nature many, many times – it’s almost like they have green DNA. Perhaps nature and the demanding climate have taught Finns to be humble and unassuming – and I found this to be very much the case in the 90’s. In the new century, however, I see Finns that are more confident in their abilities, eager to succeed – and not afraid to say it, either.

Somehow, there is an authenticity here that is really refreshing – and I feel truly privileged to have been around to see this evolution firsthand.

Roman Kikta is an American entrepreneur, author, behavioral anthropologist and venture investor with over 25 years of success building breakthrough technology start-ups and multi-billion dollar corporate divisions. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, where he runs another company he founded, Phenometrix, a developer of advanced Human Decoding AI technology.

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