Innovations and business
VTT’s research on innovations and business is focused on three interconnected themes. Firstly, we develop technology-based business in industry and in service companies. In this theme, we focus on our customers’ strategy creation. We also possess research-based expertise concerning the planning, development and implementation of business models, innovative business processes (including industrial services), and new product or service development processes. Furthermore, our services cover such needs as IPR valuation and value-based pricing practices. In these fields we apply the latest practices and knowledge together with our customers.
Secondly, in the field of operations management we aim at improving the functionality and management of organisations and enterprise networks. To support this, advanced information management tools for the inter-enterprise environment are developed. Our research work and research-based services comprise development and renewal of organisations including enterprise networks, and safety culture related issues in safety critical organisations. We also support our customers when they develop subcontracting, R&D and other business networks.
Thirdly, our research related to innovation and society deals with innovations and industrial change, innovation policy and evaluation of policy instruments as well as technology foresight and assessment. The main aim is to provide innovation policy decision makers with the appropriate knowledge base. Currently, the central research themes comprise dynamics of innovation and industrial renewal, including analyses of the innovation processes, regional aspects of innovation, in both global and local context, firm performance, service innovations, spin-offs and entrepreneurship, social embedding of innovations and integrating methods for foresight, R&D evaluation and risk assessment. In policy oriented research we provide research-based services related to policy design, implementation and impact assessment as well as monitoring of policy trends. In technology foresight the research is focused on tailored expert processes that aim at producing future-oriented knowledge about emerging technologies and innovations in different societal contexts. The main approaches include technology and business roadmapping, technology and risk assessments and visionary strategy and development processes.
Our application area extends from the needs of SME’s to EU directorates. In developing technology-based industry and organisation networks, our main customers are industrial ones, especially from areas such as machine manufacturing, ship building and workshop industry. We also work in electronics, energy and printed intelligence. In addition to industry, our research and development results have been applied in trade and public sectors. The main application areas of organisation research are SMEs in the manufacturing industry, nuclear industry, health care sector and knowledge organisations. Research related to innovation and society is performed primarily for the needs of policy making at the regional, national and international levels. In particular, the foresight activities are directed towards the needs of companies and industries.
Global factors such as a new distribution of work, globalising markets and shifting market focus cause growing challenges to the Finnish society and companies. In different industries we see tendencies emerging towards large solutions, objectives to improve productivity and larger weight on immaterial assets. The importance of service and social innovations is growing. Companies and company networks need to excel in turning their technological know-how into sustainable, profitable business. Answering this challenge calls for understanding business analysis as well as development processes and organisational behaviour – in companies and company networks as well as at the societal level – in addition to technological excellence. Our multi-scientific resources, combined with VTT’s wide technological knowledge base, provide a unique basis for giving answers to these questions.
Altogether around one hundred professionals at VTT work in the field of innovations and business, including one research professor and 20 doctors. The personnel collaborates closely with companies, often on-site. As a result, we are strong in industry applications. Our approaches are based on industrial management, production engineering and economic sciences including company strategies, organisations and management, management accounting and applied mathematics as disciplines.
In order to maintain our world-class expertise, we network with technology researchers at VTT and with leading research institutes and universities in Finland and abroad. In the context of innovation policy research, the international dimension of our work is further strengthened by the JIIP alliance (the Joint Institute for Innovation Policy). In the JIIP alliance four major European research and technology organisations – TNO (Netherlands), VTT (Finland), JOANNEUM RESEARCH (Austria) and Tecnalia (Spain) – work together on research projects and advise one another in an effort to support the internationalisation of innovation systems and innovation policies.