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IPR survey: According to corporate decision-makers, innovation is an important success factor

22.06.2020
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June 22, 2020

In an IPR survey commissioned by Kolster with Taloustutkimus, 201 corporate decision-makers talk about how innovation should be promoted in Finland. Of the companies they represent, 60% have received support from Business Finland. According to the respondents, the actions of the current government do not promote innovation and we do not know how to commercialise innovations.

A clear majority of corporate leaders, or about 70%, say that the actions of the Finnish government do not promote the success or innovation of their own company. This is revealed in a recent survey with interviews from 201 Finnish corporate decision-makers. Only 5% of them think that the actions of the government have promoted growth in their own company.

Kolster commissioned a survey with Taloustutkimus regarding corporate decision-makers’ views on innovation and IPR in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Of the 201 corporate decision-makers who responded to the survey, 101 are CEOs. Just over half of the respondents represented companies with a turnover of more than EUR 20 million. 60% of the respondents’ companies have received support from Business Finland at some point.

Companies consider innovation activities to be an important success factor for their operations. This is especially the view of the management of companies that have received support from Business Finland. According to the respondents, however, the problem is that Finnish companies are lagging behind in the commercialisation of innovations.

Last year, Business Finland distributed approximately EUR 570 million in innovation funding. During the coronavirus spring, almost EUR 540 million has been granted in subsidies for business development in disruptive circumstances. The allocation and benefits of this support has been the subject of lively debate throughout the spring.

This is what corporate decision-makers think about innovation, the government’s actions and the future of their own business:

1. Two out of three plan to innovate more.

The respondents were asked how companies’ investments in their brand and innovation matters will change over the next three years. Two out of three of the respondents say that they will invest more in innovation. About three out of five mention increasing investment in product development.

2. Especially those who have received support from Business Finland consider innovation important.

Innovation activities are considered an important success factor for a company. On a scale of 5 (very important) to 1 (not at all important), it is rated at 4.06 among the respondents. Four out of five of the respondents consider innovation to be very or quite important for a company’s success. The rating is higher among the representatives of companies that have received support from Business Finland than in the group that has not (4.21 vs 3.83).

3. Now is the time for further development.

In the future, companies intend especially to further develop their existing products and services, but also to develop completely new products or services. 85% of the respondents consider the development of new products or services to be very or quite important for their own company. The importance of both innovation areas has become somewhat emphasised compared to the survey conducted a year ago.

4. The majority believes that revolutionary innovations will emerge in the industry…

Four out of five of the respondents believe that innovations that will change their industry will emerge in the next 2–3 years.

5. …but we do not know how to commercialise, brand and market.

Only 7% of the respondents think that we Finns are good at commercialising our innovations. A little over half of the respondents agree fully or partly with the claim that Finns do not know how to brand or market their innovations. Only 32% think that Finland is a pioneer country in innovations.

6. The government was criticised in the survey.

Only 10% think that the actions of the current government have promoted innovation in their own company. 71% think the opposite. Only 5% think that the actions of the government have promoted growth in their own company. The survey was conducted in March-April during the coronavirus crisis.

7. Subsidies, yes, but…

68% of the respondents think that business subsidies and tax breaks are important for innovation.

8. …the most important thing is research funding for universities.

Corporate leaders think that the most important thing for innovation is to provide research funding to universities. 83% of the respondents consider research funding for universities to be very or quite important. Corporate decision-makers also believe that a more flexible labour market would support innovation. From their point of view, extending compulsory education has no relevance.

9. Climate change affects innovation.

Slightly more than four out of five of the respondents agree at least partly with the claim that climate change as a megatrend affects innovation in their own industry.

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Also read the blog post of Kolster’s CEO Timo Helosuo on the topic:
How does your story end when you recount the coronavirus spring from your rocking chair?