Suomeksi | På svenska | Text version | Page map | Feedback | Contact information Advanced Search
Larger text Smaller text
työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö

User-driven innovation policy

User-driven innovation policy promotes systematic engagement of users in the innovation process. Tools that enable user-driven innovation include development platforms for user-driven innovation tools for strategic design and service design, web-based tools for the analysis of information masses, ethnography and other methods of analysis and foresight into customer needs.

User-driven approach as success factor

The success of enterprises is increasingly dependent on how they take into account the needs of users. New technology development alone is no longer sufficient, since value creation is increasingly based on product or service solutions tailored to various kinds of users by applying used driven innovation methods. Bolstering the renewal and improvement of productivity as well as client participation in the development of public services are important application areas for such methods. The use of such methods and broadening the choice of the content in public services calls for a major change in attitudes as well as new kinds of capabilities from public sector actors.

The key elements of user-driven innovation policy are:

  • Competence development;
  • Incentives for user-driven innovations;
  • Infrastructure improvements; and
  • Regulatory development and reform.

Competence Development

Efficient user-driven innovation requires highly developed practical capabilities. Research will be targeted in support of user-driven innovation in enterprises and other organisations.

Areas of education and competence development include:

  • Users’ skills as demanding, responsible and participative consumers;
  • Networking skills and the ability to identify opportunities to create value for the end user;
  • The role of multi-skilled citizens and pluralism in user-driven innovation;
  • An emphasis on cultural and design competencies, the use of design as a strategic tool in enterprises;
  • The creation, management and commercialisation of intellectual property in an open innovation environment.

Incentives for user-driven innovation

User-driven innovation can be promoted with financial incentives. Conventional financial instruments for promotion of research, development and innovation (R&D&I) may be complemented by taxation incentives for the same ends. To be efficient, both forms of incentives require adaptation of project funding criteria to a variety of types of user-driven innovation.


Against the above background, the financing criteria of existing instruments will be renewed when necessary and some new instruments will be developed. Other incentives will also be assessed and rendered more suitable for user-driven innovation. The objective is to develop incentives for user-driven innovation which are particularly suited to an open innovation environment and to the public sector.


Infrastructure improvements

To develop and prosper, user-driven innovation requires a favourable innovation environment/infrastructure. The information technology (IT) infrastructure and interoperability of information systems are crucial in this respect, particularly in the public sector. Policy can be used to influence the level of openness and mutual trust between users and other stakeholders.


User-driven innovation policy pursues the renewal of public services and their cooperation between the public and private sectors (PPP) increases the interaction between the two spheres: for example, service design methods can be utilised in the user-driven development of public services. At the same time, user-driven approaches can be promoted through cross-sectoral networking. Innovative co-operation models are also developed through innovation platforms and development environments such as Living Labs.


Regulatory reform

Regulation practised by the public authorities has various impacts – both direct and indirect – on innovation.  An area of interest is the reuse of public sector information. Improving and clarifying the terms on which data held by the public sector can be reused by individual developers and enterprises, may create innovation opportunities for both while providing new services for the general public. In this context, the interests and rights of the various parties involved must be evaluated and taken into account.


An important objective for regulation is to increase citizens' opportunities to exercise choice and have an influence on public services. Here, the emphasis is on the development of legislation promoting user-driven approaches. In many cases, user-driven solutions and the related innovations require collaboration between various service providers. Policy measures are a means of promoting partnerships between such service providers.


The transition towards more user-driven approaches sets new challenges for the innovation environment in areas such as immaterial rights, whose emergence, management and commercialisation have undergone a rapid change. Further challenges include improving the regulatory framework and rendering regulation more functional in an open, user-driven innovation process. Another area for study for regulatory development is clarifying, how the returns and responsibilities of user-driven innovation are shared in an optimal way.

Page last updated: 18.03.2015

Further information

Kirsti Vilén

Antti Eskola

Katri Lehtonen

Mikko Martikainen