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Innovative Finland

“Innovation: production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production; and establishment of new management systems. It is both a process and an outcome.”

Finland is included in the top 10 innovative countries in the world in Global Innovation Index (GII). The GII 2016 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices: input index and output index. These are formed from five and two pillars, consecutively.

But what does this mean in real life? Let’s have a look what is behind the famous buzzword!

White cathedral in Europe

The Innovative Input Index


Institutional framework enables the innovation process. In Finland, political, regulatory, and business environments are supporting innovations and therefore are strengths of the country. Indeed, political situation is stable and the risk of terrorism is low, not to mention that the quality of public and civil services is high. Laws are set and followed conscientiously, and starting and running a business is effortless.

Real life example:

Imagine you want to start a business. The atmosphere is peaceful and you can trust that there isn’t any interruptions in the society. You can register you company online, fill in the tax for online, and rely on the support services that government is offering.

Human Capital and Research

The second pillar consist of Education and Research and Development. In this pillar, Finland is the number one in the world, which is not a surprise. The quality of Finnish education is high all way from primary school to the tertiary level. Pupils are succeeding in PISA tests and most citizens receive education for years. Also, with educated people, it is possible to create value and develop new. Research and development is supported, and there is a great number of researchers in the country. Beneficial for innovations for sure!

Real life example:

As a Finn, you will start your school career at the age of seven and in most cases, continue all way through tertiary level programs. The government supports your path and education is free of charge for Finnish citizens. If you feel that you did not get enough with books, you can continue your career as a researcher after university.

architecture building


The third pillar measures information and communication technologies (ICTs), general infrastructure, and ecological sustainability. Finnish government online services and online e-participation are top class, not to mention the good results in environmental performance.

Real life example:

The Government’s website is comprehensive and information is publicly available. You can do nearly all announcements and applications for the government online. No need for queues – you can take care of paper work comfortably wherever you feel like it. This reduces also paper waste. In Finland, environment is present in everyday business to ensure sustainable future. You better put the banana peel to the bio waste at the office.

Market Sophistication

The Market sophistication pillar describes the state of market conditions and the total level of transactions. This pillar is not Finland’s strongest one, but the tiny country performs well in worldwide comparison. There is still room for improvement.

Business Sophistication

This pillar is measuring firms’ input in innovation activity. It consists of knowledge workers, innovation linkages and knowledge absorption. Finland is performing well with high employment in knowledge-intensive services and high collaboration between firms and research.

Real life example:

You have positive prospectives when you want to be employed in a professional role. In optimal situation, you utilize the latest research to stay up-to-date on future trends and current findings.

The Output Sub-Index

The output sub-index consists of knowledge and technology output pillar, and creative output pillar. Knowledge and technology outputs are the measurements that are traditionally thought as measurements of innovations: the number and quality of scientific and technological publications, growth rate of GPD and intellectual properties, for example. The creative outputs measure the role of creativity in the innovation process. Intangible assets, creative goods, and services, as well as online creativity are included in this pillar.

The post is based on Global Innovation Index -report.

Interested in innovation? Check out the top 5 most innovative start-ups from Finland!

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