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Regular version of the site

Measuring and modelling patterns of innovation activities

Priority areas of development: economics

Research object: Regular research project continues the ongoing research activities in the field of economics of innovation. The long-term focus of the project includes the specificity of actors and actor types within innovation systems, behavioral patterns and linkages as well as factors that determine the innovation process characteristics.

Research objectives:

  1. Provision of theoretical and practical concepts, methodologies, tools and data for analysing the national innovation system, and the behaviour of and interactions among its elements.
  2. Study of individual actors and actor types within the innovation system, exploring and understanding the specificities of their organisation and behaviour, explaining how these features are determined and are evolving, and examining how agency is expressed in their objectives and strategies.
  3. Development of policy- and strategy-relevant knowledge about innovation processes and systems, including analysis of the institutional and contextual influences upon the extent, direction, and efficiency of innovation efforts.

Specific objectives for 2017:

  1. Analysis of heterogeneous reactions of firms' innovation strategies to the economic crisis
  2. Analysis of innovation strategies of the research organisations;
  3. Patterns of behavior of highly skilled personnel (engineers and researchers);
  4. Analysis of link between the individuals' engagement into the innovation practices and the societal attitudes towards science, technology and innovation;
  5. Development of complexity-based indicators of innovation performance at country level.

Empirical Base of Research:

  1. Monitoring of Innovation Activities of Enterprises (HSE data collection project);
  2. Monitoring of Innovation Activities of Research Performing Organisations (HSE data collection project);
  3. Surveys of the activities of innovation behavior of population (HSE data collection project);
  4. Surveys of competences and skills of highly skilled professionals (HSE data collection project);
  5. Statistical indicators of science, technology and innovation;
  6. Expert interviews.

Results of Research:

The project examined cooperative strategies of enterprises in innovation activities within the framework of various theories of the firm. The study reveals that the theoretical approaches to the analysis of cooperative behavior of firms in the process of innovation could be systematized in three categories, explaining firm’s internal structure, motives behind inter-firm cooperation and strategic interaction in markets. Theories within each category explain differently the factors influencing the firm’s decision to interact with external partners in innovation activities. An analysis of empirical studies has shown that the most often used theories are the resource-based theory of the firm, the transaction cost theory and the theory of industrial organization. They provide a complete explanation of the motives, forms and consequences of inter-firm interactions in innovation activities.

In terms of factors and channels involving R&D organizations into innovation process vis-à-vis actual trends of the Russian economy, the current research focuses on developing problem-oriented approaches to analyzing knowledge transfer activities of R&D organizations. Theoretical study of the subject was to deepen the previously developed framework of sector-regime behavior differentiation of R&D institutions as actors of innovation processes. Methodological part was arranged in order to work out the toolkit for innovation activity analysis in the application of the existing theoretical base and sectoral perspective for R&D environment. The new empirics provide statistical estimations characterizing the behavior of a specific group of R&D organizations that are actively involved in innovation processes in agricultural sector.

In terms of analyzing the specifics and potential of engineering personnel and their readiness to integrate into the digital economy, a number of conclusions were obtained concerning the evaluation of the “human capital” of engineers. The study analyzes current approaches to the assessment of engineering skills, which are looked as one of the main components of “human capital”. The decrease in the need for technical skills for engineers' high career positions is point out. The ability to innovate is considered as an important component of engineering competencies. The study also emphasizes some key competencies and upcoming tendencies in engineering practice. Seven high-demanded or unobvious competencies are highlighted. They are problem solving, communication skills, creativity and design, innovation, multidisciplinary approach, business skills and empathy. Problem solving is considered as crucial competency for engineering practice. Another important finding of present study is that all highly valued competencies are connected and influenced by each other. The forecast of the engineer's competencies for “Industry 4.0” allowed us to highlight the following skills: virtual collaboration, flexibility and resilience, empathy, original and adaptive thinking, cognitive load management, understanding the meaning of possible solutions, knowledge of new media, design thinking.

Regarding business tendency surveys for R&D activities, the study showed that existing methodologies for benchmarking quality of business environment can be applied to measure the challenges, bottle necks and limitations of the environment for doing research and development. A review of the most notable international examples of business tendency surveys shows the potential for adopting these practices for providing new information for the actual policy agenda in the area of S&T in Russian Federation.

Analyzing the concepts of technological complexity, the project considered the the effects of international collaboration on regional economy’s complexity & effectiveness. The comparison of two Norwegian counties with very different profiles in terms of how international or regional cooperation affects the synergy generated among the geographical, technological, and organizational distributions of firms shows that synergy is much larger in the rural region with international industry than in the region with a strong knowledge infrastructure. International firms can take the role of knowledge brokers in lagging regions with weak knowledge institutions. The methodological contribution of the study is that the notion of synergy (abstractly measured in bits of information) is translated into more tangible economic terms, such as turnover for the special case of domestic-foreign collaborations. The Triple-Helix synergy caused by firms with foreign ownership is a new indicator of the international contribution to the efficiency of the innovation system in a region. The indicator can also be interpreted as a measure of the attractiveness of regional industries to international corporations, which entails the perspective of international technology transfer and the access of regional industry products to global markets.

New indicators of science, technology and innovation. The studies reveal that a systemic approach like the one based on the sociotechnical transitions (the so-called multi-level perspective) that allows to account for various drivers of techno-economic, market, social, political or cultural nature may provide a comprehensive description of innovation processes and further opportunities of constructing leading indicators for science, technology and innovation. The latter may come in the form of early warning signals – the concept developed to assess the degree of sustainability of complex systems based on the general properties of their dynamics. With all the known limitations of this approach, the use of leading indicators could ultimately have a positive effect on the quality of decision-making in governing technological progress.

Indicators and methods related to trajectory analysis and sequence analysis were considered. Research literature on this topic was reviewed to assess the current and potential use of sequence analysis methods in STI studies. Literature review showed that  social sequence analysis methods are rarely used in the analysis related to STI. At the same time, a number of experts point to the potential value of these methods, due to the fact that the analysis of trajectories and development processes is one of the key tasks in the field of STI. There are several examples, not numerous though, when sequence analysis was applied in studies of the innovative activity of companies, creativity, scientometric research. As part of this work, an empirical study of the publication trajectories of Russian medical researchers was carried out, complementing the knowledge from the literature on the potential use of sequence analysis in STI.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of Results: theresults were communicated via a number of highly praised scientific and expert platforms and international conferences, including the notable Schumpeter Society Conference (Seoul), XX HSE April Conference (Moscow), STI Leiden (Leiden), and a number of research seminars. The discussion of results influenced applied projects performed by HSE in the areas of policy advice, including the projects for Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Science and Education, Ministry of Industry, Russian Federation.

Field of application: development of theoretical and methodological approaches for the analysis of innovation systems’ components and functions; development of empirical studies of science, technology and innovation; production of policy-relevant knowledge on the approaches for stimulating the efficiency and intensity of innovation across the economy sectors.


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