Broad-Based Innovation Policy

Edquist CharlesLuukkonen TerttuSotarauta Markku

The Evaluation of the Finnish National Innovation System

We welcome the basic ambition of the broad-based innovation policy. It provides a balance between the supply and demand sides of innovative activity, includes nontechnical innovations, as well as – besides direct economic impact – emphasizes wider societal considerations.

Conceptually the new broad-based innovation policy is, however, fuzzy, and it is therefore important that the government soon provides clear contents to the concept so as not to let it dissipate.

The Finnish system does not have a strong systems-wide coordination. The lack of involvement of the Ministry of Finance and less active involvement of the Prime Minister’s Office in coordinating research and innovation policy formulations is a drawback. There are significant overlaps in the services offered by public organizations. Streamlining is urgently needed.

Broadly speaking the ongoing reforms provide a good basis for pursuance of a broad-based innovation policy. The university reform, offers great opportunities for Finland. We have some concerns as to the university inventions act, but its final impact cannot be conclusively assessed yet.

The SHOK initiative may be helpful in incrementally renewing traditional Finnish industries, but it is unlikely that it would breed new clusters or promote radical/disruptive innovations.

The reform of public research organizations (PROs) seems to be in a permanent gridlock, which is unacceptable and unaffordable. PROs could be a thrust in the Finnish system – an opportunity that is now being wasted.

Sitra is a uniquely Finnish construction and the ‘libero’ of the system. While its position has at times been challenged, it has served a purpose in the past and in our opinion will continue to do so. The Finnish system is highly consensus-driven and needs more diversity in ideas as well as parties willing to take a more futurist long-term view.

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