In the early 2000s, a program to measure innovation policy implementation was drawn up in St. Petersburg to ensure the city’s leading role in innovation. The program aims at the active and comprehensive development of innovation activities in St. Petersburg, as part of the overall socio-economic development strategy of the city intended to increase the city’s competitiveness and to transform it into a nationally and internationally-recognized innovative center.
In accordance with the Decree of the Government of St. Petersburg, "On the Concept of Socio - economic Development of St. Petersburg to 2025", the innovative development of the city has been identified as one of the main development directions until 2025.
In November 2005, St. Petersburg became a winner in the competition to create a technical innovative Special Economic Zone (SEZ), planned to act as a catalyst to cluster the region’s most promising economic actors.
In April 2006, the Agreement on Cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications of the Russian Federation, The Bonch-Bruevich St. Petersburg State University of Telecommunications, and the Government of St. Petersburg, to build the St. Petersburg IT Park (Ingria Park, from September 2008). IT Park is a complex of innovation infrastructure entities, created by combining material, technical, scientific, social, cultural, service, financial and other sectors.
By the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation, dated 23.07.2005, Peterhof (a St. Petersburg suburb), was given the status of "Russian Federation Science City". Thus, it is recognized as a unique center of education, science and culture. According to this Resolution, scientific, technological, innovative, developmental activities and personnel training were approved as a priority for the city of Peterhof, as a Russian Federation Science City.
In November 2006, by the Decree of the Government of St. Petersburg, with participation from the Committee of Economic Development, Industrial Policy and Trade, the "Fund to Promote Venture Capital Investment in Small Enterprises Scientific and Technical Areas of St. Petersburg" was established. The purpose of the Fund is to create an infrastructure of venture (risk) financing for small science and technology businesses in St. Petersburg.
All the measures mentioned aim to promote active and comprehensive development of innovative activities in St. Petersburg, as part of the city’s overall socio-economic development strategy , aimed to increase the city’s competitiveness and to transform it into a nationally and internationally-recognized innovation center.
It is no coincidence that St. Petersburg was chosen for the role of innovation leader in the country. St. Petersburg is one of the largest scientific and educational centers in Russia. More than 10% of the scientific potential of the Russian Federation is concentrated in the city. It consists of more than 350 scientific organizations: more than 60 institutions of the Russian Academy of Sciences and other state academies, more than 250 government organizations involved in research and development, 12 national research centers, 56 public and 45 private institutions of higher education. The human resource potential in St. Petersburg is more than 170 thousand employees at research institutions and universities, including more than 9,000 doctors and more than 26,000 PhDs.
This scientific potential has become the foundation for development of St. Petersburg’s special Innovation Culture.
During the implementation of the government program, many St. Petersburg universities have quickly and effectively joined innovative development processes and successfully integrated into the innovation space. With some support from the government, they continue to accelerate the pace of innovative development to create its own special ecosystem. Examples of such successful integration include the St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO), St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University "LETI", St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, National Mineral Resources University, as well as the St. Petersburg State Chemical-Pharmaceutical Academy.
Thanks to innovatively-orientated higher education institutions, the new generation is already beginning to become aware of its responsibility and involvement in development of a culture, defined as "innovative". This culture is, in fact, the key to the future success and prosperity of the city and its residents: physically, environmentally, spiritually. Active young people with the higher education spark their own personal creativity and development of their potential.
A large number of small high-tech enterprises were created at universities. This ensures an opening of new opportunities to improve the efficiency of interactions between the higher education and the high-tech sector. Many of the high-tech companies,, both large such as Center of Speech Technology, Optogan, Transas Group, Diakont, Svetlana-Optoelectronics, LOMO, as well as smaller ones, have already established a place in the development of the Russian economy. Other firms are managing very successfully to integrate into the international innovation network. The number of such companies is increasing every year.
Often, the initiators and leaders of high technology enterprises are St. Petersburg scientific community natives, people who have tremendous creative and scientific potential. Thus, people "infected" with innovative ideas are an integral part of the "innovative capacity", declared in government directives and programs, and play a prominent role in the formation of "special" St. Petersburg Innovation Culture.
Unfortunately, a systems approach to the formation of an Innovative Culture in St.
Petersburg has not emerged yet. Its development centers are not widespread. Nonetheless, the number of "growth shoots" (science intensive enterprises, universities aimed at innovation development, innovation management faculties, as well as individuals able to innovative) is increasing every year. The "tipping point", when the spontaneous process of consolidation of innovative organizations within the single unique and innovative cultural space of the Northern Capital takes place, is not so far off.
Some of these connecting mechanisms may be the innovative development programs carried out by the Government. Other events include, the annual St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum, which has been held since 2008, was conceived as a communication platform for knowledge exchange between novices and advanced Russian and foreign innovation community representatives, as well as the International Forum "FROM SCIENCE TO BUSINESS", convened annually since 2007. It is a unique platform for constructive discussions about local and international experience working to create knowledge-based economies, as well as exchange on various approaches to form effective "win-win" collaborations between government, business and science. In May 2014, the International Forum "FROM SCIENCE TO BUSINESS" will take place for the eighth time.