Sitra's Health Kiosk  programme aims to  increase access to  healthcare in Finland Photo courtesy of Patrick  Rastenberg © Sitra
Case Study

“ …a change agent in society which is taking risk on behalf of the public and private sectors.” 

Mikko Kosonen, President, Sitra

  • Leadership
  • Methods
  • Resources
Location in government

National government

Mission statement

“Sitra is building a successful Finland for tomorrow’s world.”

Size of team


Annual spend

£22.1 million (2012)1

Example of impact

Sitra estimates that its work on sustainable energy has led to around £1 billion in savings for the Finnish government.

Sitra is Finland’s innovation agency, and is endowed with public funding to enable experimentation and innovation in a range of sectors, from healthcare to sustainable energy. Their endowment has enabled them to work flexibly, helping transform government policy to successfully impact the Finnish economy and society.

What it does

Sitra is one of the oldest publically funded innovation organisations in the world. Half of its resources are spent on innovation programmes that incorporate research, with the other half spent on practical experiments and investments.

One  Sitra project is From NIMBY (“not in my back yard”) to YIMBY (“yes in my back yard”),2  that explored how to increase community participation in shared decision-making, resulting in the development of Brickstarter, a crowdsourcing platform for citizen participation.

In terms of Sitra’s investment portfolio, in 2012 it included 32 companies across a range of sectors, from sustainable energy to biotechnology, all aiming to achieve substantial social impact along with a financial return. Investments include renewable energy companies, AW Energy, which is developing wave energy solutions; Savosolar, which works on solar energy; and biotech companies, such as FIT Biotech, which develop new vaccines.

Interesting features
  • Methods: The organisation has evolved over the 47 years since it was established, successfully reinventing itself to adapt to changes in society and economy to ensure that it remains relevant.3
  • Resources: With an endowment of £535 million, of which it spends between £20 and £30 million each year, Sitra has the financial capacity to take on large and complex projects, such as its work on healthcare reform or renewable energy solutions.
  • Leadership: The governance structure is closely aligned and overseen by government officials to enable Sitra to stay relevant to political priorities, but it also has the freedom to deliver new experimental activities without budgetary delays.

Learn more
Read the full case study on Sitra in the i-teams report.

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  1. Nesta email correspondence with Janne Peljo, Analyst, Sitra, 30 April 2014. Exchange rate on 21/01/2013, taken from:
  2. Sitra ‘From NIMBY to YIMBY: New cultures of local decision making’. Available online: [Last accessed 3 April 2014]
  3. Taloustieto Oy (on behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy) (2009) ‘Evaluation of the Finnish National Innovation System-Full Report’, Helsinki University Print

Photo Credit: Sitra's Health Kiosk programme aims to  increase access to  healthcare in Finland. Photo courtesy of Patrick  Rastenberg © Sitra

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Friday, June 27, 2014 - 16:21