The Situational Picture of Innovation has been used to monitor the state of the innovation environment in the Tampere Region for four years. This has been an extraordinary period for the Finnish and European economies. Long-term structural changes have combined with sudden shocks, and the impact on innovation and the conditions for it has been significant. Finland's extended recession has also had a major impact on the field of RDI.
In the 2010s, the Tampere Region innovation system transitioned to a new scale. Contrary to previous targets and expectations, the change has been on a descending trajectory: we are no longer a 1.2 billion RDI region - we are now at 0.85 billion. The national lead for RDI intensity per capita is now quite a long way off. Even though the change has been a relatively major one, even significant in absolute terms, it should be kept in mind that innovation investments are still very large, reaching the EU's ambitious goal of 3%. Although the familiar export sectors are not currently generating any significant growth, the assets gained from the exceptional growth in the ICT sector are still within reach.
Despite a reduction in investments, many indicators showing the state and productivity of innovation have been trending upward or remain steady. The number of growing enterprises has gone up and the entrepreneurial atmosphere is stronger. There is a can-do spirit in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and communities have taken initiatives into their own hands, often assisted by platforms. Higher education institutions have effectively kept their operations in proper working order despite a tightening funding situation, while boldly tackling the challenges of the operating environment with the Tampere3 project. Municipalities have sought a new place in the innovation sector, identifying their role in the boosting of regional/ local vitality, engaging in innovative procurement and providing development environments.
The altered scale of RDI and imperative to create new things challenge us to update the structures of innovation and future goals. RDI resources, which have shrunk and are allocated in a new way, cannot be separated from the way our system works. Tampere's new university, regional and social and health care reform as well as the new role that municipalities play in assuring vitality offer the Tampere Region a unique opportunity to create a new type of innovation entity, which functions as a more effective, dynamic and intensive whole.
The most important thing in the changes we face is to find a common view of the roles of different actors, required competences, rules of play and operational resourcing. At the same time, we must set new goals for regional innovation and ensure that we have the capabilities to achieve them. The creation of new ecosystems and improving the competitiveness of old ecosystems cannot be achieved with identical expertise and structures. Will we be satisfied with the smaller share we are being given, or will we find a path to new growth and a return to the billion scale as part of the new ecosystems?
Petri Räsänen, Director, Innovation and Foresight, Council of Tampere Region
Situational Picture of Innovation 2016 - Contents
In depth analyses and about the process