that employing the market-pull approach as part of their R&D efforts can increase the likelihood of successful commercialization of research products.
“Technology-push” approaches can sometimes be an important complement to a market-pull orientation. However, investing heavily in development of a new or improved technology without having identified specific customer needs could be costly and counter-productive. Research organizations will benefit from a careful assessment of the likely commercial interest based on technical and financial trends in the relevant industrial sector, competitive technologies and their costs, and the costs of R&D through the pilot stage.
In general, Russian researchers have a limited understanding of technology needs that will enhance the profits of companies operating in their fields of interest. Few researchers spend significant amounts of time interacting with company representatives and visiting industrial facilities. As demonstrated by the conference on industrial innovation sponsored by the regional government in Yekaterinburg, there are unrealized opportunities for developing and nurturing contacts.
Many Russian research institutions perceive their missions as primarily supporting academic research. Far fewer give priority to attracting customers for the results of their research.
There is a lack of strategic planning within Russian research institutes and university-sponsored technology centers for effective use of their core competencies in supporting commercial activities in the Russian and global markets. Such planning is best done in collaboration with government and industry partners.
Applied research at many research institutes is distributed across a diverse range of topics, resulting in an absence of critical mass for achieving technological leadership in specific fields.
In building customer bases for R&D products, Russian institutes and universities will benefit from considering both Russian and foreign clients.
Government support for R&D, which in the Soviet era had been tied in large measure to defense needs, has declined dramatically. There are no indications that it will increase substantially in the near future.
The difficulty in finding investment capital is a significant barrier for entrepreneurs interested in pursuing attractive innovation activities in Russia. There are however new sources of financing slowly emerging in Russia, as well as cost-sharing arrangements between industry, and various sources of capital, including venture capital.