INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGY PARKS AND BUSINESS INCUBATORS INTO THE TRIPLE HELIX CONCEPT

Research article
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.18454/IRJ.2016.46.264
Issue: № 4 (46), 2016
Published:
2016/04/18
PDF

Abstract

The article’s author endeavors to create a practical model of the Russian economy’s development while integrating such tools of supporting and stimulating entrepreneurship as business incubators and research and technology parks into the Triple Helix concept. The article points out that configurations fusing together the nation-state, business and science/education, possess a greater potential for development.

Сизова Ю.С.

Старший преподаватель, Аспирант, ФГБОУ ВО «Российский экономический университет имени Г.В. Плеханова»

ИНТЕГРАЦИЯ ТЕХНОПАРКОВ И БИЗНЕС-ИНКУБАТОРОВ В ТЕОРИЮ «ТРОЙНОЙ СПИРАЛИ»

Аннотация

В данной статье автор делает попытку создания практической модели развития экономики России, интегрируя в «Теорию тройной спирали» такие инструменты поддержки и стимулирования предпринимательской деятельности, как бизнес-инкубаторы и технопарки. В статье отмечается, что конструкции, в которых объединены и взаимосвязаны государство, бизнес и наука/образование, обладают наибольшим потенциалом развития.

Ключевые слова: теория «тройной спирали», технопарк, бизнес-инкубатор, институциональный/эволюционный  подход, инновационная модель развития.

Sizova Yu.S.

Senior teacher, Postgraduate student, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics

INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGY PARKS AND BUSINESS INCUBATORS INTO THE TRIPLE HELIX CONCEPT

Abstract

The article’s author endeavors to create a practical model of the Russian economy’s development while integrating such tools of supporting and stimulating entrepreneurship as business incubators and research and technology parks into the Triple Helix concept. The article points out that configurations fusing together the nation-state, business and science/education, possess a greater potential for development.

Keywords: Triple Helix model (or: concept), research and technology park, business incubator, institutional / evolutionary approach, innovative development model.

The fundamental transformation of today’s industrial relations is based on the development of education and, consequently, of science, scientific knowledge.

In Russia, just like everywhere else, the following categories are widely used: business, commerce, entrepreneurship. From the author’s viewpoint, one can, to a certain degree, put an equation symbol between ‘business’ and ‘entrepreneurship’, since both the terms may be understood as a syncretical unity consisting of multiple levels of notions interrelated within a hierarchy.

The key element of today’s business is the entrepreneur, or business operator. The entrepreneur is an individual or a legal entity conducting business activity in line with established procedures, as established by law (i.e. production of goods, commodities and materials, provision of services).

The modern postindustrial economy is an economy of interactive network collaboration (cooperation) embracing and implying interconnection of not only industrial, but also institutional sectors.

Alongside with that, many economists note the increasing usefulness and practical relevance of the so-called Triple Helix Model (or: Triple Helix Concept) describing and explaining the interaction of three separate institutional sectors: government, business and universities.

When considering business incubators and technology parks as a form of governmental support and stimulation of business activity, we should note the significance of developing partnership relations namely among the above-mentioned institutional sectors – government, business and science/universities.

This concept became relevant in mid-1990s, when it was required to substantiate scientifically innovation policies as an initial stage of formation of knowledge-based economy.

Besides the above-stated model, noteworthy are the following concepts:

  • Concept of national systems of innovation put forward by Lundvall (1988) and Nelson (1993) ;
  • Concept of regional innovation systems formulated by Cooke (1992);
  • Cluster concept, developed by Michael Porter (1998) and
  • Concept of “new production of knowledge” or “Mode-2” proposed by Gibbons and Limoges (1994).

The Triple Helix model has certain optional interpretations that may be used alternatively. In this aspect, one can select two complementary, but diverging theoretical lines of applying the model:

  1. Institutional approach that was developed by economic sociologists (the line taken by Etzkowitz);
  2. Evolutionary approach, characterized by combining the social systems theory and the mathematical theory of communications (the so-called line of Leydesdorff).

The evolutionary approach examines the dynamics and mutual influence of the institutional sectors. Within the institutional approach, analysis is performed on the dynamics and configuration of partnership interactions among the institutional sectors themselves.

At the same time, the above-mentioned approaches are conceptually united, and their interrelation is shown in figures 1 and 2. [7, 1142].

image001

Fig. 1 – Institutional approach

image003

Fig. 2 – Evolutionary approach

The institutional approach examines, through a comparative and historical analysis, the correlation among the three institutional sectors, both at various stages of economic systems’ evolution and at various levels of interrelations (regional, national and supranational), while the approach reveals organizational factors influencing the development of innovation processes.

Alongside with that, the transition of economic systems from industrial growth to innovation progress is characterized (in the light of formation of the Triple Helix model) by three consecutive stages [5, p. 17]:

Stage 1.

The sectors’ transformation, their ‘diffusion’ takes place inspired by internal objective processes. As a result, the sectors start converging and each of them starts adopting the functions typical for another sector.

Stage 2.

Trilateral interactions of the sectors emerge at points where the sectors overlap one another, and these interactions start functioning on a permanent basis. At that stage, firstly, certain intermediary institutions are formed (e.g. a science park, where companies purchase or otherwise acquire pilot projects developed at a university supported financially by governmental bodies); secondly, the newly created mediators get transformed into hybrid network organizations.

For example, within a cluster project, certain universities are mastering and commercializing actively new scientific ideas. They are virtually mastering the role of entrepreneur, which is new for them. Simultaneously, industrial companies start participating deeper and deeper in research, while acquiring the functions of a scientific center. At the same time, governmental bodies are supporting, within their powers, the partnership between the former and the latter ones (assuming the role of a venture capital fund or business manager).

Stage 3.

This stage is characterized by recursive formation of networks of interactions among the sectors, so that the Triple Helix matrix repeats itself in the course of the economy’s clusterization [4, p. 76].

The dynamics and progress rate of the socio-economic systems’ transition to the Triple Helix configuration are determined by both the depth of functional changes within all the three sectors and by the degree of their correlations’ development.

The evolutionary approach regards the three above-mentioned sectors as the social system’s components whose development goes on within the framework of co-evolution: these sectors get adapted to the dynamics and general trend of the environmental changes.

Along the lines of the Triple Helix concept, the three sectors interact within the framework of cluster networks and institutions both undergoing consecutively certain changes in their internal organizational structure.

The process of continuous and consistent transformation of a cluster is a reaction to a significant level of uncertainty, which is inherent in and characteristic for the innovation process as such.

The risks are relatively balanced and uncertainty is minimized as a result of the fact that one of the three sectors – one of the three components in the helix – maintains parallel connections with the two others, which promotes, eventually, harmonization between their co-evolution and the dynamics of their individual development. It is worth noting that within the framework of this process there is no interference with the pairwise interactions [7, p. 1145].

Education is a social institution of major significance. Education influences directly the pace of development in each specific national economy.

At the same time it is noteworthy that education as an institution is characterized by functioning of a correlation mechanism through which people’s economic behavior is coordinated and/or effectively motivated. Actually, one can say that the higher a specific society’s educational level is, the more energetically science is developing. The scientific knowledge, in its turn, forms a powerful basis for a positive industrial and social development. All this brings about a growth of the gross domestic product.

While characterizing the business incubators and technology parks as a form of governmental support and stimulation of entrepreneur activity, let us give then the following definitions.

A business incubator – as a mechanism correlating the activities of the nation-state, business entities and universities – is a specific structure, whose functions consist in creating the most favorable conditions for forming and developing small innovational economic entities implementing ingenious innovational scientific and technological ideas in one form or another. A business incubator is a certain mechanism for a practical support of start-up projects from the moment of an idea’s birth to the stage of its implementation and commercialization.

A  technology park is an aggregate integrated complex (including research institutes, industrial installations, business centers, exhibition facilities, educational institutions) whose activity comprises and consolidates all the broad variety of innovational activities: from fundamental research and experimental production to the sales of new products.

Talking about the current stage of the innovational development of Russian science, and taking into account the modern experience of creating the business incubators and technology parks, it is necessary to stress that this particular sphere of activities, in view of its special promising value, is constantly in the focus of attention of our country’s leadership.

image005

Fig. 3 – Russian innovative infrastructure – stratification by the types of Institutes for development as of the year 2014 [11]

In today’s Russia there are about 200 Institutes for development and most of them are technology parks and innovational technological centers.  (Fig. 3) In the sphere of economic development of separate Russian regions and the country as a whole, main hopes are pinned namely on such parks. Russian authorities pay close attention to this sector.

This statement can be proved by referring to the Russian president’s recent annual message to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The annual message stressed the necessity of modernizing the political and economic system of Russia, because of the failure of the previously prevailing liberal formula of the Russian economy’s functioning.

Namely at that moment, the target of modernizing the political and economic system in Russia was set up.

The innovational development of industrial production in Russia is necessary, indisputably important and demanded by historical and economic reasons. This fact was stressed on more than one occasion by Vladimir Putin during the panel session of the Russian governmental committee on high technologies and innovation as far back as  March 3, 2011. At the session it was pointed out that the Russian Federation’s further sustainable development should be based exclusively on innovations and modern technological solutions [1, p. 28]    .

Certainly, for such large-scale plans to be implemented it is necessary to create consecutively some adequate conditions. Among the most expedient and appropriate measures, the following steps may be suggested:

- Consolidation and accumulation of resources along the lines that determine, dynamically and in the long view, the Russian Federation’s innovational specialization within the global economy;

- Formation of institutional, economic, social and other prerequisites for full-scale adoption of high technologies and for modernization of the governmental scientific sector;

- Creation of conditions for maximizing the amount of investment capital (private and state-owned, domestic and foreign) attracted for financing the research and the creation of high-technology production on the basis of scientific and technological progress;

- Stimulation of a process consisting in promoting the Russian innovational products by maximizing the demand on the Russian domestic market and, undoubtedly, on the international, foreign market. Building up a new market of intellectual solutions, property and rights on the basis of an adequate mechanism of disseminating the scientific and technical information will make this sphere open and accessible, to a maximum extent, for potential investors and consumers.

All the above-mentioned aspects are reflected, in one way or another, in the Strategy of the Russian Federation’s innovational development worked out by the Ministry of economic development of the Russian Federation. This document bears the title «Innovational Russia - 2020» and flows organically from the Concept of the Russian Federation’s long-term development (for the period until 2020). It is noteworthy that the goals of the above strategy based on the Russian economy’s transition to a socially-oriented development model, are comprehensive enough: it is planned that by 2020 Russia’s share in the global market of intellectual services will exceed 10%, while the share of innovational sectors in the gross domestic product will be at a level of up to 20% [3, p. 99].

Proceeding from this strategy, one may talk of three potential options for the operative planning of the Russian Federation’s innovation-driven growth.

Option 1 - Import-oriented technological development based on preserving the macroeconomic balance, on relatively low expenditures within the state budget in the sphere of stimulating the technological progress. This option may be put into practice through a system of general measures taken to develop scientific institutions and organizations, to create an attractive climate for investments as well as favorable organizational, political and regulatory environment.

A potentially weak point of this option may be the fact that it will inevitably lead to a considerable weakening of the national innovative structure.

Option 2 – The so-called ‘catching-up’ development and achievement of technological competitiveness at the local level. Actually, this approach implies not only technical and technological re-equipment of the industrial and, consequently, general economic sphere, but also local, selective stimulation of promising innovative solutions invented in Russia. One can say that implementation of this option implies massive adoption and import of foreign technologies which are new for the Russian Federation and highly efficient.

Option 3 – In the opinion of experts, implementation of this option is the most difficult, owing to the complexity and immensity of the specified target: that the Russian industrial production sector should achieve leading positions in the world in the scientific and technological sphere and in fundamental research [10]. This way toward progress is the most cost-intensive, because it requires huge financial investments – they are necessary for creating powerful research infrastructure, for modernizing the research and development sector. One can point out the most important fields where significant scientific potential has already been accumulated: nanotechnologies, aerospace equipment, nuclear and hydrogen power production etc. It is worth noting that these goals can only be achieved in conditions of highly efficient investment of resources from the state budget, which is hard to achieve nowadays.

To summarize all the above-stated ideas, the following conclusion can justly be drawn: the present-day condition of the Russian industrial production and innovative complex makes it difficult to implement completely all the three above-mentioned options.

It is advisable to work out and implement a specific strategy, which could comprise syncretically certain components and directions of all the scenarios considered above. It seems to be necessary to compose a mixed strategy containing some elements of the leadership strategy (in the respect of creating a certain competitive edge and advantage) and including actual implementation of the ‘catching-up’ model in a number of branches of industry on the basis of stimulating the engineering and designing potential.

Business incubators and technology parks, as a form of governmental support and stimulation of entrepreneurship, are nowadays an exclusively powerful and promising mechanism.

The efficiency of the above-mentioned structures, in the author’s view, is inspired and enhanced by a synergy effect, which arises – in line with the general logic and theses of the Triple Helix model – when there is consolidation of potentials of university platforms, business structures and governmental bodies. Such partnership today is an efficient and relevant mechanism. State is a social institution whose functions consist not only in maximizing the society’s welfare (which means expanding the production capacities), but also in maintaining a balance and parity in the society: interests of economic entities must be correlated with interests of the whole society.

 

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