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Melissa Arni-Hardén

Let’s shoot for the twinkling stars together – let’s be happy innovators!

We have come a long way in terms of talent attraction and retention in Finland over the last ten years. Around the capital region an initiative called Otaniemi International Network was kicked off in 2005 in the form of a job hunting event for internationals who had come to Finland for work, study or family reasons. At that time, the concept of public sector support for immigrants – other than those who had come to Finland on a humanitarian basis – was a foreign one. Today, the preparation of the current government’s immigration program for aligning immigration policy with innovation policy is a work in progress.

We still have a lot of ground to cover in order to reach a truly inclusive innovation economy, not only from the public sector’s side but also from within the private sector. Within industries like gaming the lingua franca is already English and the global competition for talent has been on-going for quite some time now. However, there are still companies in other sectors of the economy that insist on requiring fluent Finnish. It is high time for recruiters to wake up to the fact that within 15 years 25% of the working age population in Finland will be immigrants. Those companies that are already now sowing the seeds to grow their teams with people of various nationalities will be reaping fruit in the form of increased productivity and market growth in the countries of origin of their employees.

One way the resource we have in Finland in the form of immigrants has been made visible, accessible and assessable, is through a concept called TalentMatch, which was launched in December 2011 by Otaniemi Marketing and Technopolis as founding members. With the support of numerous organisations, the activities have resulted in a total of nearly 550 interviews and 60 contracts being signed by June 2015. The lessons learned and results of activities around Otaniemi International Network and TalentMatch will continue to be developed as of January 2016 in the form of a new association called Onnivators ry.

The need for a vision at national level and the coordination of talent attraction has become very evident. The need for engaging with international professionals themselves has become equally evident. Therefore, I truly admire my colleagues for the work they have done in empowering the Twinkle community and above all a big kudos to the Twinklers themselves for putting together TWINKLE Tampere. I also extend my sincerest thanks for the invitation to join the event next week as a facilitator of one of the Brightshops. I am very much looking forward to hearing how the Twinkle movement will continue after the event and hope that the energy and can-do attitude will brush off on the formation of the Onnivators community as well.

Let’s shoot for the twinkling stars together – let’s be happy innovators!

Melissa Arni-Hardén

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