It is amazing to witness the speed of technological expansion of today’s world. The innovations became an integral part of contemporary times. They are unstoppable. The mankind doesn’t resist them anymore, trying to use them for personal gains in terms of material revenue, time and cost efficiency, new opportunities for leisure and rest, health improves or even saving lives.
The predictions made in 2000 became reality almost fully in 2010. The next pier of predictions, for example by Raymond Kurzweil, does not surprise anybody: their fulfillment is just the matter of time. The Earth’s 85% Wi-Fi coverage in 2021, self-conducting cars already in 2033, massive use of 3-D printers to produce human organs with their further transplantation as of 2031, structural changes in human body inducing its extra options in 2043 – all this doesn’t seem to be out of touch with reality anymore.
The backgrounds and prototypes of all the above mentioned innovations already exist, undergoing constant improvements of their performance in order to be included into the life of people.
Innovative approach – is the evolutionary path already chosen by the mankind. Due to the progress, the life expectancy is improving year by year. People living for 100 years are not a science fiction anymore. We make corrective eye surgeries, install highly-technological prostheses. Average life expectancy has doubled in past one hundred years, and this indicator is growing further.
The innovative revolution has already happened and accepted by the mankind. Accepted it from the in-depth, it is already a part of us.
Unfortunately, in Ukraine we hear only the echoes of the innovative progress that is in full march in the globalized world science community.
I would like to underline two important circumstances: firstly, we don’t have major problems with talented inventors and innovators. Secondly, the concept of scientific development has changed significantly in the world: not Elon Musk, nor Bill Gates were never the scientists in the classical meaning of this word. The world is going away from the traditional rigorous concept “education – university – science/innovations”.
Due to the modern technologies and unprecedented access to any kind of information, any talented person could become an innovator, inventor, experimentalist. The main problem of Ukrainian innovative field is the lack of cohesion with modern scientific clusters.
For example, the USA and Europe are not separate scientific clusters. They all work together: due to the Internet there is no use in transferring scientists from Germany or to build new facilities. It is enough to give a grant to a person situated in Hamburg, Bristol or Silicon Valley – for mutual development of a project. And they can exchange messages almost each second. The more people are there in the cluster, the faster innovations work.
Our social capital
In fact, the “technological pit” Ukraine has pushed itself to, is not unique. A lot of countries have already undergone such trials. Analyzing their experience, the most representative common trait is that during hard times they all made their bet on innovations – and won!
Currently we are in “Middle Ages” by the development level of innovative capital. The main obstacle standing on the way of Ukrainian innovators to improve the quality of life of society – low added-value of domestic economy. In turn, this does not permit to break free from poverty. Ukraine is constantly “catching up” with the global changes process, while we should reassess our social capital and opportunities – the intellectual resources.
Modern economies are living from the rent of the human capital. While the falling behind countries are still using the financial capital rent, being in constant search for its accumulation and reproduction.
Now, we have a unique opportunity that nearly nobody is talking about out loud. I’m talking about the mobilization of the intellectual resources in the hostile environment, with a real threat over our country.
With the efforts of Ukrainian volunteers, it is became possible to reinstate the spiritual comfort of the army, then – to provision it with all the needed, including the repair of the old and disabled soviet appliances. While the State has been consolidating its efforts, the active part of our society was able to find and apply the innovative resources to arm Ukrainian soldiers.
In lot of ways it was the initiatives of the volunteers that Ukraine was able to create modern drones during the two war years, covering the path that took decades in other countries. And now, the production of highly-technological and multi-functional drones will be covered jointly by “Ukroboronprom” and aircraft designer “Antonov”.
I rest reassured, that it is the technological domination that could become the new national idea for Ukraine, that could enable us to smash any enemy that threatens our territorial integrity.
The “horizontally-linked society”
Why the international investor is afraid to invest money in Ukraine? Not because the lack of “brains” or human capital. One of the main problems is the absence of investments’ return guarantees and lack of the intellectual property protection. This is what enables the outflow of intellectual resources from our country.
We need a solid legislative base that protects the intellectual property. Because of the lack of it we almost have no innovations. When the intellectual property is protected, nobody will have to leave the country to patent their innovations abroad. This field has to function properly in our country. And if this becomes possible, the investors will be automatically interested in our scientific cluster and integrate it into the global context.
Highly discussed by the Ukrainian scientific community, a book by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty” emphasizes the advantage of so called inclusive societies.
In order for innovations to apply themselves in the life of society, it has to modernize itself. And the process of such modernization has to occur on the level of inclusive horizontal interconnections.
The prototype of such “society of horizontal connections” has manifested during the Revolution of Dignity, when due to the mobilization the Ukrainians could defend their civilizational choice of the further development of their State. The building of such inclusive society is the indispensible platform for the innovations to develop themselves. Therefore, it is needed to create the basis for the protections of innovations.
I am sure, that the business along with the scientific society should be the main drivers of innovations. The more active communication platforms – is the better. It is important for the social institutes to develop the innovations, because the society could articulate in the best way the current needs. “Live” communication on such platforms will undergo between the scientific and business communities with further inclusion of State figures.
Ukraine should not ignore the path of innovations. Moreover, we have all the needed components for the successful journey on it. Those are the circumstances themselves who dictate the only exit from the current complicated situation – to find and develop our unique technological and innovative openings.