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Study of the activity of innovation process actors: development of the theoretical framework and methodological approaches

Priority areas of development: economics
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

In Russia and the world, the role of theoretical, applied and methodological studies that create an objective information base on the conditions of STI activities and behavior of the NIS actors is growing. There is a serious need for new analytical approaches that provide a systematic understanding of STI and its determinants (from the supply and demand sides), and the formation of an evidence-based policy on this basis.

The goal of the study for 2018

Setting up the coordinated approaches to the description and evaluation of various aspects of the activity of innovative actors using a variety of empirical data and quantitative methods.

The research objectives include the development of methodological approaches and analytical framework for the analysis, systematization and conceptualization of:

  • innovation strategies of enterprises and scientific organizations in terms of their involvement in innovation activities and cooperation with extremal partners;

  • the participation of specialists with higher scientific qualification in innovation, their behavioural practices, the importance of their competencies for the economy; employment, professional and social mobility of highly qualified personnel in the international and national labour market;

  • the structure and dynamics of employment in the Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS) using international statistical sources, shifts in the gender composition of workers, their sectoral and occupational distribution, etc.;

  • the system integration of users in the processes of innovation generation at the firm level.

Methodology, techniques, empirical basis

The long-term project (RZ-15) belongs to the integrated theoretical-empirical research class. Ultimately it’s aimed at accumulating various data, including analytics, on specific features of interactions between various components/actors of innovation systems (in Russia and abroad); strengthening the link between theory and practice, elaborating and refining practical conclusions that allow to collect information required for shaping evidence-based STI policy.

The empirical base of the research combines the relevant statistics datasets, the results of ISSEK HSE dedicated (and representative) surveys of organizations and enterprises in industry, service sectors and of the population (2007-2018); and various Russian and international accessible survey databases.

The project follows (and refines) the methodology and methods of macro- and microeconomics, econometrics, sociological and statistical analysis, pilot cases, and develops the methodological approaches and recommendations provided by the OECD and Eurostat and of international research programs, such as Careers of doctorate holders, CDH; European Manufacturing Survey, etc.

The study yielded the following results

1. As part of the monitoring of innovation activity of organizations and enterprises, the next round of a comprehensive survey of manufacturing enterprises was conducted. Emphasis was placed on the systematization of their innovation and cooperative strategies, especially with public research organizations (universities and R&D organizations). The analysis aimed at identifying  the dynamics of the capacity and performance of scientific organizations, their interaction strategies with the real sector of the economy, the variability of their behavior in the context of institutional transformations. It was shown that, on the basis of combining empirical and theoretical bases, it is possible to explore the emergence of new institutions and innovative practices; identify the factors and resources of entrepreneurial activity on the side of knowledge supply.

Within the framework of the project, the empirical base of the research and the “library” of theoretical approaches were supplemented.

2. A conceptual framework and methodology for assessing the potential of Russian qualified personnel in the digital economy were developed, as well as comparison of qualitative and quantitative characteristics of their motivation. Digitalization affects both the process of obtaining education, employment contracts  and the requirements for digital skills of specialists. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account not only formal indicators (level of education, structure and forms of employment), but also subjective factors (such as intrinsic motivation, personal interest, willingness to change). All these factors determine the prospects for professional development of employees.

A comparative analysis of the factors that contribute to employees motivation showed that for engineers (as intellectual workers) the need for professional development and meeting the major, interesting challenges may conflict with the assessment of own capacities in terms of competencies (skills) that are inn demand or no longer demanded on the labour market.

3. For the monitoring of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services, methodological approaches were developed to analyze the structure and dynamics of employees based on international statistics, including the identification of changes in the gender, industry and professional composition of employees. The boundaries of the sector were clarified; the problems of using classifications of professional affiliation of employees in the intellectual services sector were analyzed.

For the theoretical substantiation of the empirical part of the project, an analysis of current studies were made. They studied the processes of polarization in the labor market, as well as the dynamics of the workforce in the sector of intellectual services.

Many large and medium-sized companies are experiencing a shortage of personnel with the necessary technical competencies, and the lack of digital skills. It’s critical for the Russian economy. The discrepancy between the skills offered and actually demanded by the labor market restrains the growth and innovative development of both technological and non-technological companies. Digitalization has changed the requirements for highly qualified personnel (requirements for knowledge of statistics, ability to work with large volumes of information, manage information and data, so as not to violate someone's rights, etc.).

4. Approaches to conceptualization and the sociological dimension of the innovative behavior of the population were studied, including an analysis of the mechanisms for the systemic integration of users into the processes of generating innovation in enterprises.  It was found out how a firm can build a long-term partnership with users (i.e. to involve users in the process of innovation development) and what conditions are favorable for the sustainability of such interaction.

Multiple case studies with 5 groups of cases (each with at least 3 cases) were chosen as the main research method. The object of the analysis is the motives and channels of interaction with users (ways to engage in the generation of innovation, emerging problems and methods for solving them, limiting the use of user innovations, etc.). To collect primary data, a method of in-depth interviews with representatives of the departments of science, PR, and marketing was chosen. It was found that in certain sectors firms are more inclined to the user communities, building a dialogue with them. Others do not see users as a source of new ideas.

Practical application

The project implementation allows to strengthen the analytical potential of the used models / methods and to propose new research approaches / tasks. That is important to develop evidence- and science-based recommendations for management decision-making in the field of STI, strengthen their validity and ensure the choice of effective policy directions and regulatory tools, also taking into account the best foreign practices.


The project provides a scientific and methodological basis for a wide range of HSE monitoring studies. Its results are used in expert-analytical, information and consulting activities of the University – in the preparation of reports, analytical materials, reviews, recommendations on specific requests of the public authorities or other appropriate agencies; and for monitoring the implementation of strategic documents in the field of STI.


Belousova V., Karminsky A. M., Kozyr I. Bank ownership and profit efficiency of Russian banks / Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition. Series DP "BOFIT Discussion Papers". 2018. No. 5.
Sarpong D., Meissner D. Special issue on ‘corporate foresight and innovation management’ // Technology Analysis & Strategic Management. 2018. Vol. 30. No. 6. P. 625-632. doi
Desyllas P., Miozzo M., Lee H., Miles I. D. Capturing value from innovation in knowledge-intensive service firms: the role of competitive strategy // British Journal of Management. 2018. Vol. 29. No. 4. P. 769-795. doi
Gershman M., Gokhberg L., Kuznetsova T., Roud V. Bridging S&T and innovation in Russia: A historical perspective // Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2018. No. 133. P. 132-140. doi
Roud V. Understanding the heterogeneity of innovation modes: Performance effects, barriers, and demand for state support // Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2018. Vol. 133. P. 238-253. doi