The World Economic Forum believed that the Nordics societal model would stand it in good stead to recover quickly from COVID-19. They highlighted their generous social safety nets, relatively low dependence on tourism and mature and widespread digitalization. They have been proved correct. Several indicators have shown that the Nordics have recovered from the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 faster than the rest of Europe, this despite regional differences in managing the health crisis.
So why have the Nordics fared so well in the crisis and what lessons could we learn from them moving forwards?
Preparing for the rebound after the COVID-19 crisis
In our thought leadership report preparing for the rebound after the COVID-19 crisis which is written by members of our Atos Scientific Community we discussed four imperatives for society and business to keep in mind as they rebuild. These were:
Ensuring that the technology choices you make for your organization offer you flexibility and speed to achieve your goals, even if these goals change. To ensure that you don’t get trapped or limited by the technology choices you make.
Embrace frictionless working:
When the pandemic first hit and we had to move to remote working swiftly, short-term solutions were often put in place to support this shift. Now, we can really think about what frictionless working means and can bring to your organization. Taking a pragmatic approach to making work frictionless from anywhere.
Move toward data equity:
Getting smarter with the way we use and share data will be transformative for the economy and for society. We have seen how data-sharing has supported the global goal of managing the pandemic – there are many opportunities for good with proper data equity in place.
Be sustainable by purpose:
The pandemic created a new reckoning for societies, governments, enterprises and for individuals. Nothing is guaranteed, which has made purpose-led organizations so much more secure than those who drive only profit. A wider purpose is vital for future success.
The Nordics were well-placed in at least three of the imperatives above, making a rebound far easier than within regions who lagged in these areas.
Firstly, the Nordics are extremely strong in technology mastery. The region benefits from world-leading network connectivity, enabling digital transformation of industries. They also benefit from high levels of digital engagement and skills. Due to this, shifting services and solutions to the cloud was far simpler than within regions who are less technically developed. This also enabled remote, frictionless working to flourish with network reaching most citizens homes and services able to move seamlessly online.
Alongside this is their world-renowned focus on society and purpose-driven approach to social policies. Focusing on sustainability and equality have long been part of the Nordics way of life. Both Governments and citizens actively push a sustainable agenda through society, giving their economies a stable platform from which to weather unforeseen events.
We believe that data equity is an area of growth the Nordic region should consider as a next step in their socio-economic journey. Creating an economy with shared data and more equitable distribution of the wealth this brings could propel the region ahead of global competitors, creating new business models that could thrive and survive in less stable times ahead. Nor would this shift be too hard for the Nordics, they’re a region blessed with stable politics and society who embrace change.
Now is the moment to take actions towards building back better. Carefully considering a new model for business would be a good place to start.