The rapid spread of information technology brings about a new approach to production and consumption. The fourth industrial revolution is creating a new competitive environment and inspiring fundamental changes, in traditional industries as well. Russia’s key task in this context is to bridge the gap between science, production and final consumption.
The goals of the Russian economy dictate the need for an innovative system able to compete worldwide.
This means not only a sufficient number of companies engaged in manufacturing and sales of new products and services but also proper environment for interaction of education, research, government and commercial institutions.
The Ministry of Education and Science’s Federal Research Centre for Projects Evaluation and Consulting Services reports that only 9.3% of the Russian companies were engaged in innovations in 2015. The share of the companies introducing technology innovations made 8.3%.
PWC’s survey 2016 highlights the following expectations of the global business from the fourth industrial revolution:
Growth of digitisation in the value chain of products and services will contribute to a considerable efficiency increase.
Big Data analysis will help to better understand consumer needs and make relevant business decisions.
A new corporate and management culture oriented towards digitisation will be needed.
Digital skills are becoming a key criterion in employee recruitment and retention.
An increase in technology innovation, personnel, and internal company reorganisation investment is to follow.
Russia is facing certain constraints impeding the new industrial revolution.
A limited demand for innovation. Whenever possible, corporations try to avoid import substitution in their purchases of innovative and high-tech products and services.
Slim commercialization of innovation. According to Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Economic Policy, Russia holds 0.5% of the world’s nanoproduction, though it is on the Top 20 list of nanotechnology patents.
Insufficient return from the government support to new high-tech projects.
A decrease in the number of staff involved in R&D and a deficit of young professionals in the market.
An immature legal system for intellectual property protection.
Insufficient tax incentives for innovations.
In the meantime, the Government makes obvious efforts to ensure favorable conditions for an innovative environment.
The National Technology Initiative (NTI) aims at providing new markets and creating conditions for Russia’s global technology leadership by 2035. The NTI brings together innovation developers, clients, owners of resources and infrastructure, and educational institutions.
In 2014, the Ministry of Industry and Trade established the Industrial Development Foundation (IDF), which extends low-interest loans to projects meant to upgrade and set up new industries to meet the import-substitution goals. The IDF is in charge of a new discussion platform on the fourth industrial revolution in Russia (ipi4.0; industry, people, ideas), aiming to coordinate futurologists, industrial experts, developers and manufacturers.