The Case of Finland
Finland at the beginning of twentieth century was a resource-based economy very similar to many developing countries nowadays. During the second half of the twentieth century, Finland transformed from an agriculture-based economy into an innovation and knowledge-based economy. This drastic transformation was a result of several governmental actions and policies coupled with advancement in education and industrial ecosystem of the country. In particular, the following factors have been crucial in the transformation of Finland’s economy: 1—riding the wave of emerging industry, 2—implementation of a competitive education system, 3— systematic governance of Finland’s knowledge ecosystem, 4—design and implementation of effective innovation policy, 5—monitoring and evaluation of investment impact, and 6—active connection with the global network.
One of the crucial governmental decisions that triggered rapid progress into iKBE in Finland in the 1990s and forward is to focus governmental expenditure in education, research, development, innovation, and the ICT sector in particular. This led to the emergence of the competitive ICT sector in Finland, characterized by Nokia, which formed significant GDP proportion. Following the decline of Nokia due to innovative competitors such as Apple and Samsung, Finland’s ICT sector continued to grow with transformation further into software and services.
Education in Finland played a significant role in iKBE transformation. The education system in Finland has been characterized by several unique factors, in particular: 1—competent and highly educated, highly paid teachers, 2—free education system for all, 3—basic education highly comprehensive with several benefits, 4—infusion of the concept of lifelong learning, and 5—smooth emergence of education system governance from control to autonomy.
As Finland currently is moving into a second wave of iKBE, the new areas of innovation policy focus are on open innovation, disruptive innovation, co-creation, accelerators and start-ups, and fostering science and technology innovation for social and economic challenges.