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Knowledge networks and joint innovations are key to success

In the global innovation economy, networking by companies has become the most important way to create and obtain new knowledge. In terms of Finland’s innovation policy, it will be important to know how industry will develop networked, open forms of innovation. According to a recent report, a transition is already taking place within companies from internal innovation to innovation taking place in cooperation with other actors.

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In these times of financial crisis and tightening competition, companies need innovative products and services in order to succeed. In the global innovation economy, networking by companies has become the most important way to create and obtain new knowledge. In terms of Finland’s innovation policy, it will be important to know how industry will develop networked, open forms of innovation. According to a recent report, a transition is already taking place within companies from internal innovation to innovation taking place in cooperation with other actors.

– It could be said that a major transition is underway in the use of innovation functions and knowledge networks within the world of innovation. Currently, the success of a company depends to a great extent on what types of innovation they are able to achieve. Cooperation and interaction have now taken on a major role in companies. The most important new ideas seem to be arising by combining various skills. What is essential is how information is transferred and how the networks are managed, explains Director Antti Hautamäki, who was in charge of the project.

The report entitled Major transition: New approaches to developing knowledge networks ( Suuri Siirtymä, Uusia lähestymistapoja tietämysverkostojen kehittämiseen) was published on the research project, in which new tools and models for analysing knowledge networks and networks for transferring knowledge are presented. The report also presents four scenarios for Finnish ICT and forest clusters.

According to the first scenario, Finnish ICT and forest clusters do their best, but do not pass on information to each other and are not very effective at acquiring information at the global level. In a situation of fierce competition, the resources of a small country are very limited.

According to the second scenario, the international transfer of knowledge from innovations and culture does not succeed very well, but clusters at the level of Finland have achieved a global breakthrough. The biomass-based process industry and the consumer industry based on hardware, software and services reinforce each other and create new, previously unseen combinations in their sectors. In training, this interdisciplinary nature is adopted as part of the reforms to universities and Finland’s reputation as a creative and innovative country that is difficult to emulate increases.

The third scenario refers to successful international networking that brings global innovations and market know-how to Finland. At the same time, forest clusters and ICT clusters create their own paths. Nevertheless, an opportunity is lost: the major step forward that could have been achieved between clusters through closer internal engagement is not taken.

According to the fourth scenario, a revolution has taken place in Finland in knowledge transfer between clusters and in this way an innovation machine has been created that, with the aid of well-planned education, produces exceptional, multi-skilled workers and new innovations. As Finland is likewise networked globally, it proves possible to transfer this revolution to global markets.

– Our research group came to the conclusion that Finland has all the means to be able to systematically build a better and more extensive global knowledge transfer network. The prerequisite for this is drawing up an action plan in which industry must take the effective analysis and tools of knowledge networks into account, aim for a robustly built network that enables an effective system while still leaving room for creativity and informal contacts. It is also important to consider the simultaneous controllability and manageability of resource and information flows in innovations, says Director Petri Vasara, the second manager of the project from Pöyry Forest Industry Consulting.

In addition to Petri Vasara and Antti Hautamäki, the other members of the research group for the Major Transition report were Katja Bergroth and Pia Nilsson, senior consultants from Pöyry, and consultants Hannele Lehtinen and Laura Peuhkuri. The report is related to the Global knowledge management project carried out by Sitra in 2005–2007. The starting point for the project was concern over Finland’s competitiveness and the aim was to look for means to safeguard it in the future.

Further information

The report entitled Major transition: New approaches to developing knowledge networks ( Suuri Siirtymä, Uusia lähestymistapoja tietämysverkostojen kehittämiseen) in Finnish »

Antti Hautamäki, Director, Sitra
050 563 9464
firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Elina Kiiski, Information Officer, Sitra
044 540 3367
firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Details about the report

Suuri Siirtymä, Uusia lähestymistapoja tietämysverkostojen kehittämiseen
Petri Vasara, Antti Hautamäki, Katja Bergroth, Hannele Lehtinen, Pia Nilsson, Laura Peuhkuri
Sitra´s Reports 79ISBN 978-951-563-653-9 (paperback)
ISSN 1457-571X (paperback)
Pdf dokument ISBN 978-951-563-654-6 (URL:http://www.sitra.fi)
ISSN 1457-571 (URL:http://www.sitra.fi)
Edita Prima Oy
Helsinki: Sitra, 2009

You can order the report from Sitra by calling +358 (9) 618 991, or sending an e-mail to: julkaisut@sitra.fi.

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