Selection of priorities for innovation development of the region: Russian experience
Modernization affects national economy and management, as well as the culture and formation of Russian society values system; to launch full scale modernization the society has first to select the priorities for innovation development and identify methods of its implementation. Economic restructuring based on innovative principles is a key issue on the agenda of almost all the Russian regions. It predetermines competitiveness of regional economies, constant growth of proportion of high-tech sectors and industries, and accelerated growth of production of major innovative products. Elaboration of strategic objectives in innovation process is directly related to the development and implementation of regional innovation policy and selection of priorities for innovation development of the region, serving as the benchmark for major policy initiatives. It is necessary to reach consensus on development objectives and tools instrumental to achieving these objectives, as any other program can cause rejection and lead to unintended negative consequences. A special class of methods, combined by term "Foresight" is used for solving such problems. Modern Foresight approaches generally mean the organization of a systematic assessment of long-term prospects for development of science, technologies, economy and society in order to identify strategic areas of research and technologies that can bring the greatest social and economic impact. Foresight projects are efficient practical instrument, which facilitates improving the efficiency of decision-making at national and regional levels. These projects take into account many different factors and define the results of their joint activity. The article reviews the overall organization of Foresight process at the regional level with classification adjusted to the region type, economic situation in the region and overall regional strategy. The case study of an old Russian industrial region - Bashkortostan republic - is further presented, a pioneer Foresight study undertaken in the region is used as an illustrative approach allowing for useful incorporation of Foresight into the regional R&D management and planning.