In the mid-1990s, VTT's Group for Innovation Studies - previously Group for
Technology Studies - started a research project called Finnish Innovations –
Sfinno. The project was financially supported by VTT and Tekes.
The aim of the Sfinno project was to provide a new and systematic
micro-level account of structural and technological change in the Finnish
industry during the 1980s and 1990s from the viewpoint of individual product
In particular, the aim was to identify innovations, innovative companies,
and longitudinal and sectoral patterns of innovations. This resulted in the
micro-level SFINNO® database of Finnish innovations.
SFINNO® is a longitudinal database of some 6690 individual product/service and process innovations of Finnish businesses from across the Finnish economy. These innovations have been commercialised during the years 1945-2013. It is compiled on basis of different methodologies starting with so-called literature based innovation (LBIO) counting. Subsequent, complementary data on the commercialising firms has been collected from secondary sources such as business registers and the patent office. A questionnaire instrument with coverage since 1985 has been used to get more detailed information related to the innovation and innovation process. Variables comprise characteristics of the innovation, the innovation process and the firm.
Today, efforts are made in the Group for Innovation Studies not only to keep SFINNO® up-to-date, but also to develop the database further into previously
uncovered areas such as that of ‘service innovations’. Also, efforts are made
to get similar exercises started abroad, which could open up new possibilities
for research on innovation and structural change in industries.
The SFINNO® database contains data on the following issues:
• Data on commercialising firms
• Characteristics of the innovations
• Origins of the innovations
• R&D organisation
• Innovation Management
• Sources of information
• Collaboration during the innovation process
• Role of public funding & - services
• Intellectual property rights
• The ‘life after’ commercialisation
• Impacts & benefits
• Problems & challenges
The SFINNO® database is compiled from various sources. The process consists of
two distinct phases, starting with the counting and recording of individual
innovations. The second phase includes the collection of additional data -
including a questionnaire - which are then linked to the innovations.
Data collection process