The Different Dynamics of the Biotechnology
and ICT Sectors in Finland
Since the mid-1990s, Finland has experienced rapid economic growth and has ranked high in various international competitiveness reports. Reference has frequently been made to the Finnish “model” as the basis for this recent success. There seems to be some agreement that Finland has succeeded in combining welfare policies with technology and industry policies in a balanced way (cf. Castells and Himanen, 2002; Rouvinen and Ylä-Anttila, 2003). Further, Finnish industrial sectors have been in the forefront in adjusting to technological breakthroughs by adopting new technologies. This is especially true in the field of information and communications technologies (ICT), which have been considered the driver of the so-called new, knowledge-based, economy (cf. Koski et al, 2002).
The most visible feature of these developments has been the emergence and growth of Nokia into a global telecommunications giant, although other firms in the Finnish ICT sector have been successful as well. The development of the Finnish ICT sector can to a large extent be traced to the early adoption and commercialization of digital technologies in the 1970s and 1980s, especially in the field of wireless telecommunications. In the meanwhile, Finland’s science and technology base has improved both in quantity and quality (Persson et al., 2000), and other potential sectors are emerging although they have not yet shared the same success as the ICT sector. One example is the biotechnology sector drawing on revolutionary advances made in gene technology in the United States and