"The End of Policy Learning? The Dodgy Success of National Innovation System of Finland"
The main aim of this paper is to reveal how an entire national innovation system may become trapped by its own success. The paper argues that success may shadow systemic failures of an innovation system itself and suppress many warning signs as irrelevant.
First, the paper shows how economy of Finland and related policy-making was adjusted in the 90’s to the changes in the global techno-economic environment as well as fiscal austerity. In the adaptation process and related policy learning the concepts of national innovation system and cluster were used as key focusing devices. The meta-rationales guiding innovation policy were transformed, R&D expenditure increased rapidly and new innovation policy tools were used at different levels of policy making. Finland recovered rapidly from economically difficult times, and it became celebrated as one of the leading ‘knowledge economies’ and its innovation system a benchmark for many countries.
Second, the paper shows how the measured success, Nokia’s phenomenal growth, and increasing interest from abroad shadowed many systemic failures and related warning signs. Consequently, the innovation system has not been adjusting itself to the European fiscal crisis and changes in the global techno-economic environment of the 00’s and 10’s as well as those of the 90’s.
This paper is based on (a) a descriptive statistical analysis of economic performance and R&D in Finland (performance) and (b) meta-analysis of all the evaluations focusing on the innovation system of Finland, or some elements of it (warning signs).