Embracing the Knowledge Economy

Embracing the Knowledge Economy

The Dynamic Transformation of the Finnish Innovation System

New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series

Edited by Gerd Schienstock

In an astonishingly short period of time, Finland has developed into one of the world’s leading knowledge societies whilst retaining a comprehensive welfare state. The book traces this rapid transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based society. The authors describe the country’s strengths and weaknesses in the new economy and demonstrate how Finland has been able to catch-up with the leading industrial countries by exploiting new techno-organizational opportunities. Experts from different fields provide rich empirical material on Finnish industries, firms, regions and institutions, and the role they have played in the transformation process. The book also details the business and economic restructuring which was required, and explores new trends in the country's science, technology and innovation policy.

Chapter 8: The emergence of a regional innovation network: BioTurku in Turku, Finland

Henrik Bruun

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy


Henrik Bruun* 8.1 INTRODUCTION** Recent changes in the foundations of the international economic system have exposed regions to new challenges. Trends such as the liberalization and globalization of markets, technological development, the growth of the high technology sector and new ways to organize production and innovation have led to substantial changes in the conditions for economic growth in states and regions (Cooke and Morgan [1998] 2000). Capital, technology, firms and people are less and less restricted to traditional political or administrative boundaries, but move in what Castells (2000) calls a space of flows. States and regions need to attract those flows in order to sustain economic development. Since growth has been unevenly distributed across economic sectors, many regions have had to restructure their economies during the past ten or twenty years. The goal has generally been to exploit new growth areas, many of which involve the production and utilization of knowledge-intensive technologies. This chapter is a study of the emergence of a regional innovation network in Turku – a Finnish city undergoing the kind of transformation described above. Turku, just like many other cities that want to increase their competitiveness in the globalizing economy, has faced the challenge of increasing the innovative capacity of its local industry. A basic insight of modern innovation research has been that such capacity cannot be built by focusing on individual companies only. In this view, the source of competitiveness is equally much in the environment of the company as in the company itself (Freeman 1994;...

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