Innovation policy provides an incentive for continuous renewal

Innovation plays an important role as an engine for renewal, productivity and export. The Finnish innovation policy aims to create and ensure an environment that encourages enterprises, communities and research organisations to bold innovation, renewal and international growth.

Education and skills are the foundation for innovation. The aim of innovation policy is that new information and know-how generated by human inventiveness is used and deployed in all areas of society. Finland’s innovation policy draws it strength from a wide field of sectors. Development of traditional technologies and solutions and a broad range of non-technological skills are used as instruments for economic growth and wellbeing. Digitalisation and the growing importance of services in the economy highlight the role of intangible value creation and offer new ways of creating and increasing value.

Public sector enables and encourages innovation

Innovation always involves an economic risk. It can take years of research and development to produce an innovation. Sometimes development efforts yield no result or a product fails on the market. Innovation policy spurs enterprises to invest in innovation in ways that are in society’s best interests overall. The means include research and innovation funding, innovation-friendly legislation and environment, and the development of cooperation networks and platforms.

Innovations are created at interfaces of different types of expertise

Innovation is a broad concept with many definitions. Innovations are not mere ideas or inventions; they are new kinds of useful products, services, processes or methods. Enterprises are not only continuously improving their products and services; they are also increasingly using radical innovations as a competitive factor.

Solutions that make use of new approaches are created when experts from different fields cooperate and question old practices through networks and ecosystems. Collaboration of enterprises, communities, universities and research institutes refine science, knowledge and skills into innovations and wellbeing. In addition to maintaining domestic networks, enterprises must also actively seek new expertise and knowledge through international cooperation.

Renewal requires new thinking and new operating methods

As the competitive environment is becoming tougher, enterprises should seek new ways of creating innovation. Incorporating the views or test platforms of end-users and involving them in the innovation process are examples of new ways of creating innovation. Addressing major social challenges or harnessing universities’ and research institutes’ findings can also serve as triggers of innovation. Digitalisation and utilisation of open information, too, provide unprecedented opportunities for new kinds of business.

Innovation is the tool that allows the public sector to renew its operating approaches. The aim of the public sector is to produce high-quality up-to-date public services in a more cost-effective manner. One way of doing this is to purchase more innovative services through public procurement or by implementing innovative public procurement.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for preparing and implementing Finland’s innovation policy. The Research and Innovation Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, coordinates the development of Finland’s innovation system. The EU is a significant innovation policy player, especially through its research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, which is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Further information:

Harri Länsipuro