If the manufacturing will continue to be the region’s core, the basic skills required by industry and the economic structure must be ensured. There are various good projects and programmes going on, but the population’s educational foundation overall, from secondary school to university and long-term skills development, must be a national objective. At the regional level, the entire education path could be redesigned in the spirit of continuous learning and start-up culture.
The latest Situational Picture of Innovation shows a positive outlook for the Tampere Region. There are a number of good signals, especially for industries vital to the structure of the economy: industrial output, export value, export intensity, number of growth companies, and key areas for digitalisation have developed favourably.
Last year finally saw an uptick in RDI expenditures, which increased by 6.6%. Nevertheless, investments in RDI have halved over the past decade and now stand at 3.7% of regional GDP. Private sector RDI expenditures have been decreasing for a long time, which explains the overall deterioration and reflects a change in the structure of the economy.
The majority of RDI investments originate from industrial firms, many of which suffer from specialist shortages. An example of these shortages is the long-standing discussion regarding the availability of stress analysis engineers and experts in engineering mechanics. The aforementioned expertise is still needed for shredders and straddle carriers, and industrial digitalisation does not diminish this need.
The Situational Picture of Innovation shows a slight decline in completed STEM degrees. The popularity of the “long mathematics” syllabus in high schools provides some information about the availability of future talent in about five years. The percentage of young people who have completed the long maths programme has slightly decreased in the Tampere Region.
We should be concerned about this development. The need for strong mathematical skills and data literacy will extend beyond the technology sector.
Various creators of entrepreneurship and start-up culture, such as Tribe Tampere, the universities’ Y-kampus and research environments, seem to be generating new ideas and business ideas. RDI activities at the “undergrowth” level and the development of deal flow need to be better understood in order to improve the effectiveness of the ecosystem.
As a rule, the quantitative knowledge base from the regional development looks to the past, and new approaches are undetectable by current monitoring tools. This year, the Tampere Region’s Situational Picture of Innovation has been improved with a deeper focus on the region’s growth-oriented companies and deal flow chain. Collecting data on these topics from various groups, experts and networks is labour-intensive, as data interfaces (APIs) are not yet in full use. The next step is to develop an interface-based monitoring tool as part of the Six Cities Strategy’s Ecosystems of Growth project.
The positive development of expertise and ideas is strengthened by the presence of students and researchers in the region. Keeping international students in the region would also allow for more extensive connections to international networks.
Click on the title to learn more about the contents of the Situational Picture.
THEME ANALYSIS 2019 – Situational Picture of Growth-oriented Companies
HIGHLIGHTS AND GUEST WRITER COLUMNS
Päivi Myllykangas, Director, Innovation and Foresight
Anniina Heinikangas, Analyst, Innovation and Foresight