A comparative micro-level analysis of innovative firms in the CIS Surveys and in the VTT's Sfinno Database

Olavi Lehtoranta

Research output: Book/ReportReport


This paper examines what has happened to innovative firms before the commercialisation of an innovation and after it. Large firms are a different story altogether, for which reason they are not considered here. Small and medium-sized innovative firms are often created just a few years before an innovation is commercialised. Usually an invention has a longer history, which can be linked to some other company, to the predecessor of the commercialising firm or to a completely different company or research institute. It was found that domestic patents precede the commercialisation of an innovation by an average of 1 to 2 years and EPO patents by 0 to 1 year. After an innovation, the turnover and employment of the SMEs often grow for a few years depending on the general business situation. The innovations successful for the original commercialising firms can be clearly detected and they were examined in more detail in a case study covering fifty SMEs. The paper also studies whether the innovators and innovations included in the CIS Surveys differ in their characteristics from those included in the VTT's Sfinno Database. The main difference in these data are that in the CIS Surveys a company can be classified as innovative on the basis of relatively loose criteria. In the Sfinno Database a company is defined indirectly innovative according to whether it has introduced some key product innovation to the market. Notwithstanding the differences of the CIS Surveys and the Sfinno Database and considering the fact that some CIS Surveys have been supplemented with a selective panel of small firms and that certain subjectivity has been difficult to avoid in compiling Sfinno, the data used produce surprisingly logical and consistent results.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages75
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6574-6
Publication statusPublished - 2005
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Working Papers


  • innovative firms
  • CIS Surveys
  • Sfinno Database
  • micro-level comparison
  • innovation


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