An appetite for innovation, public openness to new ideas, IP protection and the cooperation between business and academic institutions, are the positive elements of Russia’s innovation environment identified by business respondents who participated in a survey conducted for the US-Russian Business Council by PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

Among elements of the innovation environment viewed less positively, business noted access to financing, inadequate quality of legislation, speed to market for innovation products, and integration into the global innovation system. These results were made public at the USRBC Annual Meeting in San Francisco in November.

When asked to identify the Russian government’s key successes in innovation policy, respondents point to three achievements: improvements in IPR protection; government creation of innovation infrastructure; and, regional Governors and officials promoting innovation as a means of attracting investment.

Overall, 37% of respondents see the current innovation climate in Russia as positive or somewhat positive. Another 29% say it is neither positive nor negative, while 34% view the climate for innovation as negative or somewhat negative.

“These achievements show business views the innovation glass as half full, with lots of room for improvement,” PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies CEO Myron Wasylyk said when releasing the survey in San Francisco.

Business respondents noted the most effective infrastructure for developing innovation in Russia is located in its vast regions, specifically, newly designated technology parks, regional innovation clusters and regional investment projects. The main reason cited by investors was that Russian regions are more effective due to support from governors and officials keen to resolve issues quickly and efficiently.  National projects promoted at the Federal level, on the other hand, often get bogged down in bureaucracy and the cumbersome approval process by numerous state bodies. Investors add that it is not always possible to identify who “owns” national project initiatives.

While the Russian government has made improvements to the investment climate a key performance indicator for officials, business respondents view the best indicators for measuring the success of innovation policy is the rise in export of domestic goods and, innovative products that comprise a larger share of GDP.

Among the measures that would encourage business to invest more in innovation, respondents noted: reducing the state’s role in the economy; improving legislation and regulation; tax incentives for innovative companies; and increased competition on the Russian market.

“With the innovation infrastructure in place, respondents believe officials and innovation promoters need to focus on a win-win agenda of pushing policy measures forward that encourage a better innovation environment that can attract greater investment,” Wasylyk said.

The full survey and additional details can be viewed here.

Notes for editors:
PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies is the preeminent strategic communications and public affairs consultancy based in Moscow. It carried out the survey Innovation in Russia: Potential, Challenges and Drivers in October – November 2016 for the U.S.-Russia Business Council’s Annual MeetingInnovation and Russia’s Return to Growth, held in San Francisco on November 10 – 12, 2016. The survey polled more than 60 executives at Russian and international companies from 15 sectors and also involved 10 expert interviews.

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