Speach – Opening of center of internett and society

I have three expectations for the center:

Firstly, help us prepare all organisations for the digital future

A new report from MIT shows us that 87 percent of company managers world wide think their own organization will be challenged by disrupting digital technologies – so it seems that people are sufficiently aware.

But, among the same people, 57 percent don`t think their organization is adequatly prepared for this challenge.

We need to be better prepared. There is a huge task for researchers to work with entrepeneurs, technologists and policymakers to develop new business models, improve processes, develop digital skills and engage talent.

What we need from scientists – is practical solutions to real-world problems, like:

-How can we improve the trade-off between security and simplicity: Give us shifts in the curve that can give us improvment in both!

-How can we reduce risks for serious mistakes that can be made by confusing correlation with causality?
-And since we are in a business school: Personal data is a new asset class, alongside traditional assets traded in financial markets. How can we – with trust and technology – increase the value added from it?

I hope the center will make a clear contribution to this.

Secondly, – help us to understand that we need a Norwegian digital industry

To be able to handle the digital challenge, we cannot only be digital consumers, many of us also need to be digital producers –  of all kinds.

We cannot be in the digital front if we import all digital solutions from abroad. We need to create some ourselves, and we have to be so good that we export some ourselves. And we already do!

The Norwegian ICT industry employs 4 percent of the workforce but contributes to 5 percent of the GDP. The long term growth is strong in the Norwegian ICT-industry: Since 1980 the annual value added growth per employee has been more than five times stronger in the ICT-industry than in the Mainland-Economy in Norway: 6,1 percent in the ICT-industry and 1,1 percent in the Mainland-Economy, according to a report from Menon, a research center close to BI.

The Norwegian ICT industry is heading up the growth and productivity of the entire economy.

Yet Norwegian business policy is very much about supporting the industries with the lowest profitability and gloomiest prospects.

There is a need for change in the mindset of a lot of the decisionmakers.

I hope the center will make a clear contribution to this.

And finally – help us to adjust the Norwegian economy:

The economic development in Norway after the second world war is a story about transformation and change. It was innovation – together with a little bit of luck –  that helped us go from a middle-income country in Europe to the top of the list of the most-wealthy-countries in the world, upon which our welfare system rests today.

Today – when we experience declining oil prices and slower growth in the global economy – with increasing unemployment as a result – the Norwegian economy again has to adapt.

In the short term, the goverment stimulates activity with an expansionary economic policy. But, short-term measures alone will not be sufficient. We need to facilitate long-term readjustment and improved competitivness.

But, that`s not enough. We need the growth to be green – a sustainable development – and we need the growth to be more productive. We must be able to adopt the technology that enables us to produce more with a shrinking workforce in Norway. Especially critical will be to achieve this in the care for the elderly.

Digitalization is the solution. Digitalizitation can help us to work smarter, produce smarter, transport smarter and consume energy smarter. But this is a huge readjustment for us all – we are only in the beginning of the digital revolution.

Not all revolutions succeed. I hope the center will make a clear contribution that the digital will.

I wish you luck – thanks for listening to me!