Innovation policy evaluation
The latest comprehensive assessment of Finland's innovation policy was the review of Finland's innovation policy published in June 2017 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD). It gives a number of recommendations for increased productivity, economic renewal, competence development and improved effectiveness of research.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture requested the review to get an internationally respected and independent review of the current state of the Finnish research and innovation system and related structural and content-related development needs.
Innovation policy is continuously reviewed as part of other policy processes. In June 2018, Professor Erkki Ormala was invited to review the sufficiency of the central government research and innovation funding. In 2018 the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned an external independent review of the status and role of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in the Finnish research and innovation system (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment publications 2019:6).
The role and activities of Business Finland, which started in 2018 as a RDI financier, and the internationalisation of exports and companies, foreign investments and the promoter of foreign tourism were evaluated in 2020 in an independent evaluation commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment publications 2021:46). The effectiveness of RDI subsidies is also assessed as part of the assessments commissioned by the Research Division on Business Subsidies.
Business Finland will systematically assess the impacts of its measures. It implements a significant part of Finland’s innovation policy measures under the guidance of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
It is important to review innovation policies to find out how successful and productive they have been and how they and their guidance should be improved. As is the case in all evaluations, it is difficult to prove causal relationships, and there are also other factors influencing innovation beyond the central government’s innovation policy. In addition, the impacts of innovation policy will emerge over a long period of time. Despite challenges, it is nevertheless possible to evaluate public policies by using different kinds of methods. Public policies are such an important factor in promoting innovation and addressing gaps in the system that innovation policy evaluations are always relevant.