Feb 08 2017

Few days ago, web-site Metrocosm has published the world map of migration – as of now, all available data on who moved where can be accessed in the real time. Almost 300 thousand people have left Ukraine in five years from 2010 to 2015: this data gave a new impulse to the discussion that is being ravaging in Ukrainian social networking segment and printed media for the past two weeks.

Honestly speaking, I don’t have a simple answer on whether the migration is #zrada (#зрада) or #peremoha (#перемога) for Ukraine. Having lived behind the “iron curtain”, even if not for longtime, I consider the freedom for everyone to choose where to put a coma in “to leave impossible to stay” to be an unconditional good. For the people of young and even middle age it is no longer a problem to go working or studying abroad. Furthermore, they could have absolutely different reasons for this – from downshifting to greater self-realization.

Giving modern connectivity technologies and high-speed Internet, the physical location it is no longer an issue – whether in Ukraine or on Bali. According to the recent report «IT Ukraine. IT services and software R&D in Europe’s tech nation», there are almost a thousand Ukrainian IT-companies and 90 thousand software developers that are being contracted by the wide range of agents in information technologies sector. On the other hand, no less than 100 global companies, specialized in IT, e-commerce, software development and gaming industry have their R&D facilities in Ukraine. Talented scientists, wanted specialists and successful companies are fully integrated into the global society.

One can argue as much as he wants about the “brains’ outflow”, but this process couldn’t be stopped. The knowledge has always been disseminated over the State boundaries and political regimes, long before the invention of the Internet.

Nevertheless, I see there a problem too. It is because of its flexibility that the globalized economy, built on the network concept, can function “bypassing” the whole territories and social groups, marked as unproductive ones and though excluded from the global processes. “Unproductive” people and institutions haven’t moved anywhere, but they are the internal migrants. Unseen by the business, uninteresting to the investors.

Modern Ukraine is reproducing such an “internal migration”, and what is more shocking – in the sphere that has to be the most open one – science and innovations. In the end of November I participated in conference entitled “United by innovations”. It reunited academy scientists, young start-uppers and business representatives. Everybody has been speaking about their “sectorial” problems, but the discussion ended with emergence of a “big picture”: the scientists do not comprehend the business logic and don’t see the need to commercialize their inventions; the business is not interested in science, being not ready for the “long” investments. The scientists are being isolated from the global context while the business is not aware about the possibilities of Ukrainian innovators and seeks to buy foreign technologies, not always being the newest and the most effective ones. This is the vicious cycle.

In my opinion, to breach this cycle is to make a serious step towards Ukrainian integration into the global innovative cluster. But before we have to do our “homework”, meaning the liquidation of the internal migration, when the main subjects of innovative process are literally “living in different worlds”. It is only by operationalizing the links within the country that we would be able to make a unique offer to our partners from all-around the world. It is useless to fence from the global processes, but it would be useful to become an interesting and productive nation.

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