IASP’s Luis Sanz: Russia needs social culture of entrepreneurial risk

Luis Sanz, the CEO of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), talked to Russia’s Skolkovo Foundation last week about this country’s innovation potential.

He generally believes that Russia has “huge potential” for generating a knowledge-based economy. However, the problem still remains how to transfer the knowledge into “a market success,” meaning the creation of new companies and new jobs, he underscored. Relying entirely on a government in such a problem is erroneous, he warned.

While in certain areas, such as national security, the state does have interest and is ready to get actively involved, in other sectors governments tend to have “limitations” in setting up new businesses, Mr. Sanz said.

Fostering a social culture of entrepreneurial risk and a culture of business decision-making is a factor of paramount importance for Russia’s development, the IASP director pointed out.

In Russia, the most thriving are large companies, most of which were created a long time ago and are hardly a product of “entrepreneurial risk” but rather an existing legacy from the prior generations, Mr. Sanz said, adding that in his reckoning, encouraging such a culture may take the efforts of a whole generation, if not two generations.

The International Association of Science Parks, headquartered in Spain’s Malaga and China’s Beijing, is one of the world’s most influential science park alliances. According to Mr. Sanz, 400 members currently participate in IASP, bringing together an estimated 150,000 experts in innovation ecosystem development across 70 countries.