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Alexander Smekalin: “Innovations must solve specific problems”

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17 May2024
Alexander Smekalin: “Innovations must solve specific problems”
On May 15, the 19th All-Russian Forum and Exhibition “GOSZAKAZ” started in Skolkovo. The event brought together more than 10 thousand specialists and experts from the procurement sector of 89 regions of Russia. To the question of the forum discussion on the topic “Does industry know what the state needs?” answered the director of the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR) Alexander Smekalin.

The forum events are aimed at improving the sphere of state, municipal and corporate procurement in Russia. They should be more convenient, transparent and cost-effective, experts are confident, discussing plans to optimize procurement legislation, innovations in the digitalization of procurement and many other aspects. The discussion, marked by the question “Does industry know what the state needs?”, became one of the most pressing topics of the forum, according to the organizers. The wording itself suggests that there is still work to be done on the dialogue between industrialists and government agencies, including in the most important area of ​​innovation today. Director of the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia Alexander Smekalin spoke about the barriers to interaction and proposed solutions to overcome them.

“In Russia, with state support, an infrastructure has been created for the development of innovation - already more than three thousand units, according to research from our Association. Businesses have a place to produce innovative products, and support measures have been created for this activity. But by default, everyone thinks that these are products for the b2c and b2b sectors.

However, when creating infrastructure and conditions, it is the state that forgets that it can be the main customer of innovation in order to solve its problems. And I’m not talking about research and development work, but about the formation of an order to solve specific problems. For example, it is necessary to eliminate the problem of deferrization of water and, as a result, to prevent the deterioration of the health of citizens caused by the increased concentration of this element, or to solve the problem of delivering food to remote areas - B2G in the “problem-solution” paradigm.

At the same time, the business needs to guarantee that the results of the work, if successful, will be paid. And, of course, at the regional level we cannot do without legal and regulatory sandboxes, since decisions will go beyond the scope of GOSTs and SNiPs. “Sandboxes will allow us to abandon some regulatory requirements that hinder the development of innovation,” noted the head of AIRR.

According to Mr. Smekalin, not all regional authorities are able to formulate such requests. He also noted that the competence to solve certain problems is not concentrated, not localized in the regions, they are scattered throughout the country. Let’s say that a certain problem of a regional nature is emerging that requires innovative solutions, but it is not a fact that within the region there are competencies to solve it - research teams, production facilities.

“Digitalization will help,” says Alexander Smekalin. “I consider it effective to create a single information resource that would make it possible to post requests from regional authorities in a concentrated manner and for the country’s research and production teams to gain access to them for processing. On the same resource, you can create a collection of practices, posting successful cases of solving certain problems, in order to form a secondary market for innovative developments.”