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ISSN 1995-459X print
E-ISSN 2312-9972 online
ISSN 2500-2597 online English

Leonid Gokhberg


Foresight and STI Governance, 2016, vol. 10, no 4. Innovation-based Development: Prospects and Tools


The new issue of Foresight and STI Governance presents results of Russian studies assessing import substitution prospects, the current state of the knowledge-intensive business services sector, and the impact of fixed-term employment contracts on companies’ innovation activities. International experts share methodological recommendations on increasing efficiency of European innovation policy, and designing technology development strategies.

The issue opens with the paper by the Turkish experts Umut Yilmaz Cetinkaya and Erkan Erdil “Cohesion and Competition of Europe: Innovation Policy from the Perspective of Networks and Entropy”, suggesting a novel approach to making the European Union’s innovation policy. The authors analyse efficiency of networking aimed at creating the common European research area. A major factor of the EU countries’ competitiveness is the gatekeepers’ ability to join global networks with a low innovation potential, and benefit from competing there. Focusing European strategies on promoting diversity and specific actors’ absorptive capacity, combined with filling structural gaps, would allow increasing efficiency of the European research and innovation network and make the EU generally more innovative.

The paper by Yuri Simachev, Mikhail Kuzyk, and Nikolay Zudin “Import Dependence and Import Substitution in Russian Manufacturing: A Business Viewpoint” is focused on analysing import dependence of Russian companies and their motivation to switch to using Russian products and technologies. A survey of company managers revealed that they were not happy with the high level of import dependence. At the same time Russian import substitution policy places the accent on putting in place the missing links in the national production system, while advancing new knowledge areas, competences, and critical technologies moves to the background. Such a strategy is likely to result in emergence of a growth model particularly vulnerable to currency exchange rate fluctuations. The authors are convinced pursuing a proactive import substitution policy oriented towards emerging markets could change the situation.

In recent years the knowledge-intensive business services sector generated a high added value, turning into an innovation development driver in many countries. The authors of the study “Knowledge-Intensive Business Services in Russia: 2014–2015 Crisis Aftermath” Veronika Belousova and Nikolay Chichkanov assess the sector’s landscape in Russia on the basis of a survey of Russian companies – providers of such services. The researchers note many companies’ reduced turnover, widely varying growth rates and development trajectories of various segments of the sector – not just in Russia but in other countries as well. The overall economic volatility doesn’t allow the knowledge-intensive business services sector to achieve sustainable growth.

Fixed-term employment contracts are commonly applied in many countries as an HR policy tool which helps to optimise labour costs, improve personnel quality, and adapt to fluctuations of demand. Such practices promote companies’ innovation activities but in the long term, due to reduced investments in human capital, the overall effect may turn out to be the reverse. The paper by Larisa Smirnykh “Is Flexible Labour Good for Innovation? Evidence from Russian Firm-level Data” analyses which of the above effects prevail in Russia. The study’s empirical basis was provided by a survey of various-size Russian companies operating in seven different sectors. The author concludes that fixed-term employment contracts have only limited positive effect on companies’ innovation activity.

Researchers from Iran – Mohammad Dehghani Madvar, Hossein Khosropour, Maryam Mirafshar, Abdollah Khosravanian, Adel Azaribeni, Morteza Rezapour, and Behrouz Nouri – present a structural scheme for studying technological development dynamics through the prism of patent statistics in the paper “Patent-Based Technology Life Cycle Analysis: The Case of the Petroleum Industry”. Each particular technology’s status at any specific moment is indicated by the technology’s level in the S-Curve. The suggested methodology was tested by analysing the life cycle of CO2 injection technology in the global oil and gas industry. The authors provide recommendations for further development of this tool, which they believe may turn out to be very useful in analysing development of any technology.

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