In the face of challenging economic conditions and growing international competition, many industrial companies are attempting to capture additional value from their technologies. In particular, many companies are trying to profit from open innovation, by recruiting and cultivating human capital, spending on internal research and development, engaging in strategic alliances, and acquiring technology ventures.
Innovation can play an important role in economic and social development. For transition economies, innovation can also help to accelerate development towards a competitive market economy, and establish a competitive presence in international markets.
However key structural challenges in the economies of the Balkans such as small private sector, low levels of innovation by domestic firms – mostly limited to process rather than R&D, weak linkages between business and tertiary education institutions and skills gaps, export profile dominated by low-skill services and natural-resource intensive products, pose a major threat in trying to strive for innovation. Also, issues like the lack of innovation capability of many established firms in transition economies along with concerns about their limited absorptive capacity leads to uncertainty about the value of public investments in advanced or basic R&D which provides the basis for new technologies, spin-out companies and innovation.Fundamental macro-economic issues remain across the region, including unemployment, persistent trade deficits and a continuing dependence on agricultural exports.
Particularly important in terms of the knowledge spillovers theory of entrepreneurship are generally low levels of policy development in terms of promoting technological dissemination, innovation and technology cooperation.
Can countries such as those in the Balkans strive for innovation? Do firms in the Balkans have low levels of absorptive capacity and face particular barriers in innovation? Is there an adequate level of entrepreneurial capital to support innovative start-ups based on otherwise unexploited knowledge spillovers? And even more so:
- How can you grow in a stagnant market? In a global market?
- What’s the best way to make big decisions about new technologies that have the potential to disrupt your industry?
- What role does the public policy play in enabling successful innovation in start-up companies?
- Should we aim tostrengththe relationships and linkages between government, industry and research to support innovation?
- How can innovation strengthen the innovative capacities of the region and support absorption of technology?
- What is the role of entrepreneurship-and technology transfer-oriented initiatives in improving the innovation system in the Balkans?
- To what extent do factors like: education and training for entrepreneurship, legislation and regulation of business activities, technological capacity, the business environment, the availability of finance and support measures for innovative enterprises influence the innovativeness of a company?
- What importance does establishment of collaborative university-industry research centers carry?
Researchers are invited for multidimensional and cross-sectional examinations of the key drivers in innovative strategies in the various areas from finance, economy, social cohesion and environment to education, media and culture.
Comparative case studies and research-based policy recommendations are encouraged, including but not limited to those concerning the countries of the Balkans.
Key speakers and high levelofficials from the country and from abroad are invited to address the conference.