FIMO – A framework for a Finnish model of mission-oriented innovation policy

How can governments enhance cooperation to find and implement new solutions to complex societal challenges? How do we connect ambitious political goals with private actors’ agendas? How do we enable a long-term approach to budgeting?


Demos Helsinki is supporting the Finnish Government in developing its national framework for mission-oriented innovation policy that could provide answers to the questions above.


What is mission-oriented innovation policy?

Mission-oriented innovation policy (MOIP) describes a package of policies designed to mobilise science, technology and innovation in order to solve grand societal challenges. One old example is the US Mission to go to the moon in the 1960s. Now, it could be the government steering cross-sectoral cooperation that can provide solutions to the climate crisis, socioeconomic inequalities, etc.


Mission orientation has been a hot topic for several years among relevant policy professionals. However, countries still struggle to see its full impact. As it turns out, there is no one way of implementing mission-oriented innovation policies.


Similarly, while Finland is at the forefront of governance innovation, its application of the mission-oriented approach has been fragmented, with varied projects, programmes and national funding instruments implementing some of the mission-orientation principles. The Government now needs new approaches to mission orientation and a shared understanding of its purpose and added value.


That’s why we are developing knowledge and insights on a national framework for a mission-oriented innovation policy model to best seize the potential of the mission-oriented approach.


More details on the project

We believe that the full potential of mission orientation can be unleashed when it is understood more broadly as a way to redesign the governance and steering mechanisms in order to pursue the desired objectives. Thus, our hypothesis for this project is that mission-oriented innovation policies are effective if treated as a transformative governance vehicle, not a simple policy tool. With this hypothesis, we help the Finnish Government to develop its own effective model for missions through:


(i) learnings from international benchmarks,
(ii) a mapping and analysis of current initiatives,
(iii) multi-stakeholder workshops and engagement,
(iv) expert interviews and a Delphi survey.


For this project, Demos Helsinki led a consortium of experts that includes UCL IIPP, 4Front and BIOS. The steering group involved eight ministries and two expert advisors (Academy of Finland and Business Finland).


The results are published in a series of publications, namely: an interim report in October 2022 and the final framework in March 2023.


We interacted with relevant key actors in Finland and internationally, from the public and private sectors, academia, research institutes and civil society organisations, among others.


This is a project funded by the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities. You can find more about the project here.


For more information, please contact:

Katri Sarkia


Feature Image: Ville Heikkinen / iStock.