SFINNO® is one of the most extensive and detailed longitudinal databases of product, service and process innovations in the world, and was designed at its inception to track industrial renewal by documenting the significant innovations of Finnish businesses from across the broader spectrum of the Finnish economy. Its purpose is to facilitate academic and policy research on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Our database currently spans several thousand significant and unique, human identified innovations from Finland-based enterprises, which have been commercialized between 1985 to 2020. SFINNO still continues to expand as we continue to collect new data on Finnish innovations. On top of this, we also collect additional information from the innovators via a questionnaire instrument.
Over the years, our database has grown from a simple spreadsheet into a full-fledged relational database which is envisioned as a core part of the Quantitative Science and Technology team’s data analysis infrastructure for our research on Finnish science, technology and innovation (STI).
 Thereis also a separate historical part of the dataset (1600 innovations) whichspans the years 1945 to 1984.
Methodology and data collection process
The innovations listed in the SFINNO® dataset stem from edited technical and tradejournals that follow so called literature-based innovation output (LBIO)method. The LBIO denotes to identification of innovations from secondary sources like journal articles or expert opinions. SFINNO innovations are identified from 15 technical and trade journals. Complementary data on the commercialising firms has been collected from secondary sources such as business registers. A questionnaire instrument with coverage since 1985 has been used to get more detailed information related to the innovation and innovation process.
Since the 1990s, we have used the same systematic, science-based method of data-collection known as the literature-based innovation output (LBIO) methodology, making SFINNO a valid, reliable, and consistent source of objective innovation data covering different industries. It is carefully curated, adhering to common conventions that are laid out in the OECD’s Oslo Manual for collecting and reporting innovation data. It contains detailed data about the nature of innovations such as type, novelty and complexity, the companies behind these innovations as well as -for a significant subset- a rich set of questionnaire items pertaining to the innovation process underlying these innovations such as the driving factors behind innovations, the role of national and foreign collaborations, or public sector support.
From a digital research infrastructure standpoint, the level of detail and accuracy of the data in SFINNO allow it to be linked to external sources of data, such a regional, enterprise, patent or R&D subsidy data.
SFINNO offers many opportunities for innovation studies. Its innovation output variables cover several policy relevant themes. SFINNO offers a longitudinal data about dynamics and processes instead of snapshot data and allows studying ‘significant’ of innovations in different areas such as health, environment or wider socio-cultural and economic impacts in the society. It can be used to understand the rate and direction of economic and industrial change, evaluate the impact of innovation policies and empirical testing of innovation-, management- and organization theories found in such academic fields as industrial organization, strategic management and policy research.
SFINNO is used for example, for research on innovation and structural change in industries, for understanding innovation and industrial renewal and industrial performance, for getting insight about processes underlying various technological innovations, regional innovative performance and innovations in different sectors and topics.