Study: Finland has good preconditions for creating lead markets
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Tekes have studied the exploitation of the European Union’s Lead Market Initiative in the development of innovative products and services in Finland. The study reveals that Finland has good preconditions for creating lead markets and thereby strengthening its position as one of the world’s most innovative economies.
The European Union’s Lead Market Initiative (the LMI), “A Lead Market Initiative for Europe”, aims to create an operating environment which fosters lead markets in a new way. The initiative strives to improve operating conditions for enterprises, by increasing demand for innovative solutions in a variety of ways.
The intention is to reform legislation in order to motivate enterprises to innovate. Another objective is to encourage the public sector to acquire a greater number of innovative solutions. In addition, the compatibility and marketing potential of new products and services are to be improved through standards.
The LMI covers six markets: electronic health care services (eHealth), bio-based products, recycling, sustainable construction, renewable resources and protective textiles. The study examined these from a national viewpoint and strived, on a broader basis, to identify sectors with the potential to develop into national lead markets. It also sought to draw up criteria, based on multiple perspectives, which would ease the assessment of such sectors, while analysing the measures required for promoting lead market sectors.
Prime candidates: electronic health care and welfare services, and wood-based biodiesel
According to the study, sectors can be found in all market areas that would qualify, from the Finnish perspective, as possible lead markets. These include electronic health care and welfare services for citizens, and wood-based biodiesel.
However, Finland cannot lead the way in all market sectors. Instead, national choices must be made. Market potential alone will not suffice as a basis for decision-making. Since public measures which promote and create markets are in question, selection is inextricably tied to the sector’s strategic significance to society.
Lead markets involve significant economic and social potential. In order to exploit this potential, it is essential that we are able to recognise the most promising sectors. The creation of markets requires clear, ambitious goals, a decision on the sectors in which Finland intends to lead the way, and identification of the measures needed to achieve this. Moreover, determined implementation is called for, alongside close cooperation between administrative sectors and other actors.
Throughout Europe, solutions are being sought to growing social challenges. These include climate change, ageing of the population and energy issues. The focal point of the innovation union, under preparation by the Commission, is to tackle these challenges with the help of innovations. Decisions are necessary on the national level, too. This study therefore forms an outstanding basis for preparing practical proposals for the national promotion of lead markets.
The study is published in the Ministry of Employment and the Economy’s publication series as publication number 54/2010. It is available from the Ministry’s web service at: http://www.tem.fi/index.phtml?C=98033&s=2086&xmid=4431
Petri Lehto, Head of Division, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 10 606 3218
Jari Romanainen, Executive Director, Programmes, Tekes, tel. +358 10 605 5703