The Dynamic Transformation of the Finnish Innovation System
Edited by Gerd Schienstock
Chapter 4: Innovation and absorptive capability in the traditional industries: The case of the Finnish wood products industry
* Christopher Palmberg 4.1 INTRODUCTION The exaggerated fixation on a narrowly defined set of so-called high-tech industries, both in empirical research and in policy discussion, undeservedly takes attention away from the more traditional and less R&D-intensive industries that still constitute a major sector in most industrialized countries. Finland is an interesting country in this respect, since the industrial structure underwent a rather radical transformation in the 1990s, mainly due to the emergence of diversified electronics, as well as ICT-related, industries. In statistics produced by the OECD, this transformation is reflected in the doubling of Finland’s share of total exports of high-tech products during the same period (OECD 1999). Despite this indisputably positive trend, there is more to it once we get behind the data. In particular, the role of one firm – namely the role of Nokia – in this transformation is striking. At the turn of the century, Nokia accounted for close to one third of the total R&D spending, as well as roughly one fourth of the total Finnish exports (Ali-Yrkkö et al. 2000; Ali-Yrkkö and Hermans 2002). Furthermore, when looking at the contribution of different industries to the total volume of production in the manufacturing sector, it is clear that Finland still to a significant extent relies on the more traditional industries, such as the forestry- and metals-based industries, despite the emergence of the electronics and ICT-related industries (Figure 4.1). Thus, the further fostering of the high-tech industries is not the only issue of concern in the Finnish...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.