Analyzing the positions of Ukraine in different ratings of innovative potential, one could have more matters to be optimistic. However, this appears only at the first glance: if we change some criteria of perception, we can find ourselves in the world’s top-10 by the ultimate feature of innovative market – by human intellectual resources.
As of the beginning of 2016, Ukraine was at the 41st place (between Latvia and Bulgaria) in Innovation Index by Bloomberg, which considers the intensity of scientific research and inventions, added value of the production and economy efficiency. Another rating, the Global Innovation Index, puts Ukraine at even lower 64th place, between Serbia and the Seychelles Islands.
The public investment into research and innovations in Ukraine in 2016 was only 0,8% GDP, or 2,5 billion UAH (less than $ 100 million). The leaders of innovative ratings invest inconsiderably more: the USA - $ 405 billion (or 2,7% GDP), China - $ 338 billion (2,1% GDP), Japan - $ 160 billion (3,7% GDP). Are those numbers suggesting that there is no bright future for our country, considering the current state of development and capabilities of Ukrainian economy?
As a matter of fact, all those extensive investments by the leading innovative States could have been futile, if they didn’t possess the main resource needed – the intellectual one. No one can argue with another fact – Ukraine, as most former soviet States, is one of the main “exporter” of intellectual resources abroad. In Ukrainian actuality this trend has even been called the “brains’ outflow”, the reasons and consequences of which have been described in detail. On the other hand, it gives us another, and quite surprising, point of perception for analysis considering the latest tendencies at the global employment market and comparing them to Ukrainian reality.
For example, Ukraine still holds its position in world’s top-5 by the educational criteria, judging by the percentage of diplomas among the totality of working population. One can fiercely criticize our educational system, but Ukrainian specialists are among the most wanted in many international innovative clusters. Ukraine exports not only the raw commodities, we are providing the intellectual base for innovative economies for other countries.
In the meantime, the employment market in the developed countries is being formed, for long time already, not by the State, nor even by the business activities, but by the innovative ecosystem. For example, the IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty has recently issued an open letter to the USA’s president-elect Donald Trump, with a proposition to support the extended 6-years educational programs in high schools (conventional last 4 years), which would replace the studying in universities. This is about speeding up all the processes – educational, manufacturing, creating innovative products. In her opinion, there is no need to study in university to develop business processes or hold top positions in leading IT companies: the majority of the skills needed cold be received by young people at professional training courses.
One more trend on the innovative market – the diffusion of knowledge, skills and abilities, that leads to emergence of absolutely new professions at the intersection with IT. The volumes of data (BigData), the speed of its exchange and dematerialization of a range of processes have formed the demand on a whole set of new occupations – IT-evangelists, cyber detectives, architects of augmented realities, web-consultants on wide range of problems (including “network doctors” in medical on-line services), different “testers” of IT-products.
The merge of the high educational potential of Ukrainians with the latest trends on the innovations market could stop the outflow of our intellectual resources abroad and simultaneously become the driver of national innovative development. The issue of financing the innovative ecosystem could be gradually resolved by the private investment. In other words, the State, lacking the financial resources needed, creates attractive conditions for investors, while the latter receive access to the innovative intellectual resource, ready to transform itself under the specific demand of business.
Certainly, we shouldn’t forget about other important mechanisms of stimulation of business activities which could potentially attract new investors. Referring to deregulation, tax incentives for innovative cluster. For example – full or partial revenue tax exempt status (for a defined time period) for companies operating in the IT-sector.
As a nation, we have almost everything needed to start those changes: talented researchers in many scientific fields, profound theoretical knowledge, the understanding of need to recovery form crisis by the creation of knowledge-intense economy by the State. What are we lacking? The communicational platform, which would reunite the innovators, business community, investors and State actors and which would form the demand on a final “intellectual product”.