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 9: From the national industrial heartland towards a node in the global knowledge economy: The case of Tampere Region

Mika Kautonen, Pasi Koski and Gerd Schienstock

Subjects: innovation and technology, innovation policy

Extract

* Mika Kautonen, Pasi Koski and Gerd Schienstock 9.1 INTRODUCTION Numerous studies on the dynamics of firms and industries have been carried out in which variables like technological research, capital investment, corporate organization, labour skills, macroeconomic policy and many others have been exhaustively examined in an attempt to determine firm and industrial performance. As a result, a vast body of important insights has been accumulated. With some minor exceptions, however, the problem as to whether or not firm and industrial performance might also somehow be grounded in geography and location has been mostly overlooked (see for example Scott 1998). This is somewhat surprising for several reasons. First, a considerable proportion of total world output of particular goods is produced in a limited number of highly concentrated regions. Second, firms in particular industries, or firms that are technologically or otherwise related, tend to locate in the same place and form geographically bounded agglomerations (Porter and Sölvell 1998, p. 441). Third, both of these phenomena tend to be persistent over time – even in the case of new knowledge-intensive industries, in which firms are usually highly capable of exploiting the full state-of-the-art possibilities of information and communication technologies. In fact, the local and regional levels seem to increase in importance compared to the national level, as far as innovation processes are concerned. This is due to, for example, EU policies, increased regional endogenous development actions also facilitated by these policies, as well as multinational companies (MNCs) searching for suitable investment locations, in addition...

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