For Finland to thrive, we need continuous growth in knowhow and Finland-based companies that have the ability to create new and globally competitive businesses. Networks and ecosystems play an increasingly important role in the competitiveness of technology companies and are on the agenda for sustainable growth in Finland and Europe. There are already a number of research and innovation ecosystems seeking for the minimum of billion-euro business. Spinverse recently completed an extensive study, commissioned by Technology Industries of Finland. In the study, some of these growth-seeking ecosystems in Finland were analysed and recommendations to spur their growth were given.
According to the study, further investments and measures are needed to reach the growth targets, in particular to commercialise the output of R&D projects and scale-up new business, to strengthen international cooperation and to lead ecosystems.There is still room for improvement in the cooperation between the various stakeholders in the innovation system.
A study on internationally significant innovation and growth ecosystems in Finland was commissioned by Technology Industries of Finland and carried out by Spinverse during the autumn of 2019. In the study, Spinverse interviewed about 40 persons, mainly representing corporate management. Spinverse team also collected evaluations from key Finnish and European work groups regarding significant growth potential. The final report of the study brings together the results of the background analysis and those from the corporate interviews, especially the feedback received on the innovation networks and their capabilities, as well as conclusions and recommendations for next steps to be taken by the various stakeholders in the innovation system.
“This study provided an extensive overview of the current situation in our key ecosystems and the insights we received from the corporate management were extremely valuable,” says Pekka Koponen, Chairman and Founder of Spinverse. “There are great things happening across Finnish ecosystems, but it is good to keep in mind that success does not come easy. It requires hard work, co-operation within ecosystems and good leadership and orchestration,” he continues.
Solutions to solve global challenges, highlighting the Finnish strengths
The companies participating in the study are involved in various projects targeting to create new business. The study took a more focused look on five large cross-industry innovation and growth ecosystems, with emphasis on Finnish strengths. These ecosystems were led by Nokia, Kone, HUS and Aalto University.
Among the Finnish strengths are digital technologies (e.g. 5G technology and local networks; autonomous manufacturing, operation and maintenance; health technologies, AI and related products and services), technologies to deter climate change, smart city technologies (traffic, logistics, energy, services and data), circular economy and bio-based products. In addition to funding from companies themselves, the creation and operation of research and innovation ecosystems in Finland have been supported by Business Finland programs, growth engine projects and by the flagship projects of the Academy of Finland.
The five ecosystems explored in the study are all in different stages of maturity. In the LuxTurrim5G ecosystem led by Nokia and CleverHealthNetwork led by HUS, the focus is already on testing and piloting the new products and services, whereas in the BatCircle ecosystem, the cooperation is still based on research and development work, while the building of the KEKO ecosystem (Connectivity Platform for Smart Buildings) was initiated in late 2019. The Advanced manufacturing ecosystem is currently at the concept stage and the work continues in 2020.
To succeed calls for strengthened critical capabilities
Companies are keen on integrating collaborative networks and innovation networks to their business vision and strategy. According to the corporate feedback, successful ecosystems require good leadership and orchestration. To create businesses worth billions, access to international markets is essential.
The ecosystems operating in Finland and the new solutions developed, tested and piloted in them are promising a great start and the Finnish markets may function as reference in the global markets. However, achieving the ambitious growth targets requires the innovation ecosystems to actively tap into international networks and markets.
For example, the innovation ecosystems are also seeking for a competitive edge, for example, from sharing data among the stakeholders within the ecosystem, from versatile know-how, clear IPR procedures that support commercialisation and a smooth cooperation with the public sector stakeholders affecting the innovation environment.
Key conclusions from the company and stakeholder interviews
- Creating ecosystems calls for a shared vision and win-win approach
- More competence is needed for ecosystem leadership and orchestration
- Additional investment and public funding is needed to commercialise and scale-up the R&D outcomes
- More collaboration needed between ICT companies and manufacturing industry
- Collaboration of companies and universities/RTOs needs a comeback
- University/RTO IPR terms need clarification and re-adjustment to attract industry
- Competitive and flexible, but more predictable national funding is needed for RDI growth. The 4 per cent target for R&D intensity by 2030 requires plans to increase public funding
- Companies need to utilise EU opportunities and Business Finland to support them. Business Finland needs to develop its service concept to support the companies and ecosystems in their aims to go international/global
- Industry needs to be able to trust on the availability of the skilled experts
According to the Technology Industries of Finland, it is realistic to expect that by 2030, a part of the currently active innovation ecosystems are already creating internationally significant new solutions and new business. To give room for new breakthroughs and success stories and to achieve growth targets worth billions, both the companies and the other stakeholders in the innovation ecosystems should develop their operations with a focused and determined mindset. All stakeholders in the innovation system will have to play their part to reach the ambitious targets. The final report of the study contains recommended actions for the different stakeholders of the innovation system.
The study also describes innovation ecosystems and their leadership, which combines well-structured project management to leadership of complex adaptive systems (see figure below). Spinverse is the trusted partner in designing, implementing and leading innovation ecosystems, also in some of the aforementioned ecosystems showing growth potential.
For more information:
Spinverse: Pekka Koponen