New. Creative. Idea-driven. Disruptive.
Businesses around the world are relying on change to build their brands. In Poland, experts say, businesses need a little more of this entrepreneurial spirit. In short, they need to innovate. And to be innovative, small- to medium-sized businesses need a nudge both from the state and from organizations like the World Bank. Right now, the World Bank is working with Poland’s Ministry of Economy to develop an innovation system that is local, organic, and business-driven.
The idea is to create “Made in Poland” innovations; innovations that keep the economy bustling and that solve local and global needs with local ideas. Economists worry that growth might stagnate if Poland doesn’t start shifting from imitating others to generating new ideas, from quantity to quality, from potato chips to microchips.
Simply put, Poland has not yet invested enough in Research and Development (R&D) and innovation. And the impact of that spending seems to be less meaningful than similar spending by its central European peers, at least so far (this might be the result of the time lag between an action and observable results). In 2013, R&D spending amounted to only 0.9% of Poland’s GDP, at the tail end of European Union rankings.
Poland simply can’t afford to increase public spending on R&D while continuing to achieve negligible results. Efficient investment of more than 10 billion euros from the European Union (EU) and budgetary funds until 2020 will be instrumental in pushing the country toward new, innovative business ideas.
But, World Bank experts say, to fully benefit from these large funds, Poland must create a climate of entrepreneurial inquiry, where innovative ideas (both disruptive and incremental) are able to be conceived, nurtured, and ultimately delivered in the form of a viable business.
The way to do that is to go back to the drawing board and start from the firm level, and move up.