Link to VTT's homepage  
Innovation activities and the pressures of global competition


seems that the worst of the global economic crisis may now be behind us. The global economy shrank by less than one per cent in 2009, while growing almost five per cent in 2010. Clear growth is also predicted for 2011. However, growth prospects vary greatly from one continent and country to another. As much as half the growth will come from China, India and other Asian emerging markets. Developed countries – Western Europe, North America and Japan – will account for only one fifth of the total growth. The crisis has left many developed countries deeply wounded. Shrinking exports and GDPs have put a structural dent in their tax incomes. The growth rates attained have also been too weak to improve their debt situation. As growth forecasts remain modest, investors are becoming increasingly wary of the countries most in debt. The Euro zone is facing the most severe crisis in its history. The US federal and state governments and Japan are facing similar debt crises.

Due to the economic crisis and the accelerating global structural change, Finland will face unprecedented challenges over the coming years. To succeed and remain competitive, we must possess world-class know-how, the ability to keep creating and developing new innovations and to commercialise them, and to create new business models.

Traditional industries alone will not be enough to drive growth and success. In the future, growth will stem increasingly from new concepts. Innovative and growth-oriented companies, big and small, will be the key to Finland’s future success. We need to increase our investments in research and education. Efficient cooperation and networking among different national and international operators is also a must.

The recently launched Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOKs) represent an important new approach to research and the utilisation of research results. VTT had a key role in the creation and implementation of the strategic agenda for each SHOK. VTT has also enjoyed successful international cooperation, in particular through EU research programmes, bringing many Finnish companies into programmes as partners. Increasingly close cooperation with companies and universities and new forms of cooperation are a good way to provide important results that can boost Finland’s competitiveness.

The future success of Finland also requires that VTT keeps evolving. We must settle for nothing less than global top-level research in the areas vital to the success of Finnish businesses and society. To this end, we must focus our operations and resources on selected areas, and review them continuously and critically. Just as with businesses, VTT is facing the challenges posed by the increasing pace of change. Today’s know-how may soon be yesterday’s news. It is also vital to find the right balance between research continuity and change dynamics.

Martti Mäenpää
Chairman of VTT´s Board

  See also
  • VTT's board

    Copyright VTT 2010 • P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland • Tel. +358 20 722 111,