Innovations are the result of cooperation between many actors. Cooperation can only come about in a fruitful innovation environment. In a ever-more complex world of fewer borders, the production of competitive innovations needs more multi-dimensional networks in which knowledge, skills, abilities, needs and interests can connect. A quality innovation environment provides opportunities for such encounters and the development of innovation networks. Many innovation policy measures focus precisely on developing such an environment.
An innovation environment is highly likely to mean the framework and criteria for an innovation system, such as a viable labour market, a research and education and training system, intellectual property rights, business and market legislation and reliable social institutions. All these the Ministry monitors and develops.
But an innovation environment has many other dimensions besides the basic structures and rules of an innovation system. A key factor is physical location. An innovative company in many ways is tied to its global, national and local environment. For innovation networks to emerge the actors often have to be close to one another. Trust is built on direct and close interaction. Local poles of excellence help companies looking for something new and research organisations to find one another and establish new innovation communities.
Diverse environments also promote unlikely encounters, which result in the most unexpected and revolutionary innovations. At their best, functional innovation environments can develop into truly innovative environments that are constantly able to renew themselves. We are trying to use innovation environment development measures to achieve this. Dynamic, genuinely innovative environments are also the best for attracting international actors to Finnish innovation communities.
In a borderless world, local clusters are not enough. A truly innovative environment seeks and establishes links to the places where the necessary knowledge and skills can be found at the time. Finding suitable connections is hard work. That is why we need support and intermediary organisations to help innovation communities and networks to find the information and contacts they need globally.