It gives me a great pleasure to be present at NASDAQ this afternoon to celebrate Helsinki, World Design Capital 2012.
Every other year, one global city is named the World Design Capital by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Helsinki was chosen based on using design as a tool for social, economic, and cultural development and to improve the lives of its citizens.
It is said that “the ultimate meaning of the beautiful is to be essential, functional, justified, truthful. Stick to that and you have good, functional objects and services. If you take these words seriously, design becomes also a tool for sustainability. A good design is an essential part in the entire value chain and responds to customers’ everyday needs.
“Design for all” is an important principle. It gives a truly universal access and promotes equality. What is functional to people with disabilities is functional to all of us.
Such are principles for good design – but couldn’t they apply also to business in general? It is easy to understand that speed and timeliness are essential for any stock market. But so are values like true and fair, transparent, truthful, innovative and sustainable. The trick is to combine short term behavior with sustainable targets. The demand is there and I think we can agree that it is growing. Sustainability opens new business opportunities which also small (and medium size) enterprises can seize and have seized. It is indeed more a question of innovation and responsibility than that of size and largeness.
Finnish design includes well-known global brands like Nokia, Kone, Iittala, and Marimekko, outstanding education and research institutions as well as world-famous architects and designers like Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto.
Today our vision for design refers not only to buildings and objects, but also to how we design services and systems, advance cultural development, and meet the needs of society.
World Design Capital Helsinki consists of a series of partnerships and events in Finland and around the globe throughout 2012. We welcome you all to join us in celebrating this very special year for Finland and Helsinki.