Formation of a policy field and a policy-making practice
In her dissertation, Niinikoski examines the emergence, formation and change of the Finnish innovation policy during a period of twenty years, from the late 1980s until the end of the first decade of this century. The study sheds light on the contents of an innovation policy, which crosses traditional administrative boundaries, changes of the policy and the way in which it is made.
The study is part of the theoretical discussion on understanding and analysing changes in the policy. The dissertation makes transparent the ways of thinking and policy-making practices which have influenced the formation and shaping of an important Finnish policy.
The study shows how policy-makers are bound by temporally and spatially identifiable policy knowledge and how slowly and gradually the boundaries of policy knowledge can change. New concepts can be adopted quickly regardless of stabilities in the underlying thinking.
Finnish innovation policy is constructed at the crossroads of various knowledge fields and politico-administrative practices
According to Niinikoski, various experts, such as civil servants, researchers and consultants, have played an essential role in the definition of the innovation policy and its aims, contents and instruments. Industrial companies have also had a significant role in this respect. At the same time, companies have been expected to renew the business structure and the economy; the size of the company has not been the relevant factor.
Little attention has been paid to the role of individual inventors, innovators and citizens and there seems to be no link which could make innovation policy understandable to the public. Innovation policy can be revealed as an entanglement of several knowledge fields and primarily expert-based policy-making practices. The question is not only, what policy-makers say or do but equally, it is also a question what is not said or done. These all elements together form the meaning and the status of the policy.
New conceptualizations supporting policy-making and policy implementation are created in various working groups and committees and by experts. The key question is, who are asked to participate, who are consulted and what are the mechanisms that are used to select information for policy-making. Knowledge formation occurs at least in two ways, from existing research to policy-making and from policy-making to research.
Innovation policy has expanded from techno-economic development towards productivity-centered renewing of public and private sectors
Niinikoski has identified three distinctive phases in the formation of Finnish innovation policy. Behind the emergence of the policy there was a techno-economic way of thinking and policy-making practices enhancing this knowledge. In the mid-1990s, policy knowledge expanded towards industrial-economic thinking through gradual shifts. At the same time, the policy started to establish its position in the Finnish politico-administrative system. Nowadays, the main aim of the innovation policy, based on socio-economic knowledge, is to improve productivity in private and public sectors. The concept of innovation has received a wider meaning in public policy-making than before.
Master of Laws, Master of Arts (Education) Marja-Liisa Niinikoski’s doctoral dissertation “Innovation: Formation of a Policy Field and a Policy-making Practice” on the subject of organisation and management will be examined at the Aalto University School of Economics, Main building, festival hall, Runeberginkatu 14−16, Helsinki on Monday 30 May 2011 at 12 noon.
Professor Stefan Kuhlmann (University of Twente), PhD Terttu Luukkonen (The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy), will act as the opponents and professor Liisa Välikangas as the custos.
Marja-Liisa Niinikoski, marja-liisa.niinikoski [at] aalto [dot] fi
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