Requirements for innovation policy in emerging high-tech industries
Innovation policy can never be fully technology-neutral and policies often align to support incumbent technological regimes obstructing the development of new industries. In this paper, two fields are analyzed: the life sciences industry and the solar energy industry to evaluate the Finnish innovation policy’s capabilities to promote emerging industries. Qualitative research methods are used for this exploratory study. The data consists of 29 semi-structured interviews and two workshops. The interviewees were chosen with snowball sampling. The data is analyzed using a scheme of functional technological innovation system analysis to identify blocking and inducement mechanisms within the industries. The performance of key processes (functions) of the life sciences and solar energy innovation systems are evaluated. Functional analysis is used to identify underlying mechanisms which induce and hinder system performances. Many similar mechanisms are found to affect both of the industries. Limited commercial experience, scarce venture capital, weak local and global networks, and poor legitimation hinder their development. High-level research and education, good infrastructure, and public R&D support are identified as promoting mechanisms. According to the results, Finnish innovation policy performs insufficiently in facilitating the growth of new industries. We suggest that in addition to the general innovation policy measures, technology-specific measures should be designed to create growth trajectories for emerging technologies. New communication and knowledge exchange channels are needed to support these trajectories.