Drivers for regional development under the ajar innovation strategy

Robert Nizhegorodtsev,
Laboratory Chief,
V.A. Trapeznikov Institute for Control Studies RAS,
Moscow, Russia

Among the drivers of regional development, innovations are often mentioned, in particular, the emphasis is on innovative products, the use of which is free for the user, in accordance with the concept of open innovation. Nevertheless, there are certain inconsistencies along this path, both in theory and in practical actions of authorities that ensure the development of the region’s economy.

Since Henry Chesbrough put forward the concept of open innovation, it has become clear that actually “open” innovations that would be available for copying and use at any stage of their life cycle almost do not exist in the modern economy. There are free and infinitely distributed innovative products (for example, antivirus programs and other utilities that are quickly updated and uploaded to the Network by developers), but at the stage of development and testing, these products are closed to prying eyes. On the contrary, there are products that are open at the early stages of development (such are, in particular, crowdsourcing products), but the final innovative product created with their help is usually not available for wide and gratuitous copying.

In the modern economy, which is bordering between the economy of industrial and information technologies, the so-called ajar innovations are a reality, available for copying and use at some stages of its life cycle and closed at other stages of it.

Robert Nizhegorodtsev and Nina Goridko invented the concept of ajar innovation strategy in 2015. The academicians who contributed greatly the ajar innovation theory are N.Petukhov, Ye.Piskun, L.Gorlevskaya, V.Sekerin (change management and marketing for ajar innovations, their implementation, measurement for openness of innovations), and some others.

The basis of decision-making is the macroeconomic situation in which innovative processes are developing, and theoretical constructions based on implicit assumptions about macroeconomic equilibrium are unsuitable for making practical decisions. Modern macrosystems can be in states of a recessionary gap, when the total price level is fixed in a range above equilibrium values and, consequently, aggregate demand steadily lags behind aggregate supply, or in states of an inflationary gap, when the total price level is below equilibrium, and aggregate demand steadily outstrips supply. Rich and developed countries and regions are in a state of a recessionary gap, and poor, depressed countries and regions are in a state of an inflationary gap.

The described disequilibrium states of macrosystems are stable in the sense that the same macrosystem can remain in the same disequilibrium state for dozens or even hundreds of years, and it does not strive for any macroeconomic equilibrium.

It is important to understand that a more or less high rate of inflation can strengthen or weaken interregional differentiation. Nina Goridko’s calculations published in 2018 (Goridko N. P. Influence of the Central Bank’s anti-inflationary policy on Russia’s economic development) show that in the modern Russian economy, the inflation rate, at which the dispersion of annual GRP increments of the regions is minimal, is 12.55%, while for the modern Canadian economy this indicator is approximately 5.4%. At higher and lower rates of inflation, the processes of interregional differentiation increase.

The rampant mistake of governments is trying to invent a magic tool of macroeconomic policy, from the use of which the entire economy of the country would blossom exuberantly. The reality is that the regions in a recessionary gap and the regions in an inflationary gap should be managed in different modes. For the first ones, the problem of demand is critical, their competitive advantage lies in the high quality of the resources involved, which they attract from the entire macrosystem (and often from other macrosystems). For other regions, the supply problem is critical: low prices discourage production, undervalued resources flow to other regions (assuming low entry and exit barriers), and spontaneous investments warm up aggregate demand, which is already quite overblown in these regions.

For the regions of the inflationary gap, it is critically important to make targeted and highly effective investments, primarily in the modernization of production processes, and the paradigm of ajar innovations indicates ways how that can be done. The government should make efforts to increase the availability of high technologies for agents working in depressed regions. It is not necessary to do this on the basis of increasing the share of state ownership: various forms of public-private partnership are more effective, in which the efforts of private agents are supported, directed and to a certain extent guaranteed by the government.


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