Growth ecosystems as a tool in the new industrial and innovation policy
Economic globalisation, technological transitions and transformation of value creation logics pose a challenge to enterprises’ innovation activities and innovation policy tools. Global competition makes it a necessity for enterprises to invest in new kinds of skills, better digital capabilities and an improved understanding of the market and customer needs. Enterprises that do best in the global value chains are those able to control the functioning of value chains and repatriate for themselves a significant share of the value created for the end customer.
Platforms and ecosystems of various sectors are crucial for innovations activities and for harnessing the potential of digitalisation. Ecosystems are interdependent networks between enterprises, entrepreneurs, researchers, public administration and third-sector operators. Platforms are multi-directional interaction venues and marketplaces shared by a variety of operators and users. Digital platforms especially have the potential to produce extensive, rapidly scaling network effects. Ideally, platforms and ecosystems should have critical mass and they should be open, innovation-based, data-intensive and strategically managed.
The Research and Innovation Council’s vision is that Finland will be the most attractive and competent environment for experimentation and innovation by 2030. To make this vision a reality, the creation of strong, world-class growth ecosystems will be supported in sectors where Finland has solid expertise and capacity to do well in international competition. Ecosystems and policy measures promoting them are a means to solving broad-based and complex problems in society that need expertise from several sectors. Skills platforms and growth ecosystems facilitate cooperation and co-creation between different sized enterprises, education providers, research institutes, third-sector operators, public administration and end users.
While the public sector cannot take charge of managing ecosystems, it can contribute significantly to their creation and development. Common choices and priorities will need the backing up of a knowledge base that supports policy-making and a continuous dialogue between research, public administration and business and industry.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will reinforce its collaboration with other ministries and with Business Finland and the Academy of Finland in an effort to develop new operating practices and policy instruments (including funding instruments) and implement strategic growth programmes.
The Ministry’s policy measures to develop and promote ecosystems include:
- Identifying future growth potential and building a knowledge base in support of strategic choices;
- Cross-sectoral strategic growth programmes (health, transport, artificial intelligence);
- Tools for promoting innovation partnerships and ecosystems, including growth engines, flagship initiatives, UN Technology Innovation Lab UNTIL;
- Sustainable, innovative public procurement (KEINO Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement) and development of innovation-friendly regulations;
- Building of development and testing environments for innovations and new solutions;
- Innovation arenas as cooperation forums for public administration and business and industry: network of innovation policy-makers.