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Sustainable Business Center
Founded in 2014 in partnership with Unilever, SKOLKOVO Sustainable Business Center (SSBC) is a center of expertise aimed at conducting problem-oriented interdisciplinary research, with a focus on business models that combine economic, environment and social dimensions. Its primary goal is to promote a sustainability agenda in Russian and CIS markets through extensive outreach of research results and education of a new generation of responsible business leaders.
- Infrastructural, institutional and information barriers hampering full-scale implementation of sustainable strategies on emerging markets. Sustainable development values are not widespread in Russia as well as in many other emerging markets yet. International corporations that have adopted sustainability principles as core of their strategies and business models find it challenging to fulfill their global commitment locally due to the lack of infrastructure, undeveloped institutions and disconnection with public opinion. The goal of 3 ‘I’ research is to study real cases of global corporations operating in Russia and other countries, define major barriers for implementation of sustainable practices and address the issues together with SSBC partners.
- Sustainable agriculture. There is a growing need to meet the rising food demand especially in emerging markets under the natural resources limitation considering sustainability principles. It requires not only increasing agriculture productivity in economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally sound ways but also providing the multi-faced support across the whole agricultural value chain. Sustainable Agriculture research area focuses on identifying approaches to address regional barriers and other issues related to sustainable agriculture and providing a starting point for greater collaboration among diverse stakeholders leading to the adoption of sustainable principles and enhancement of supply chains in agriculture in Russia.
- Sustainable forestry. Russian forestry industry has a great potential on international markets holding over 20% of the world’s total forests resources, but doesn’t use it on a full scale. It seems to lag behind even some developing countries in terms of technological development, level of productivity and qualification of employees, converting rate and application of sustainable approaches creating irreversible damage to local inhabitants, terrestrial species regional ecosystems (manufacturing waste, water pollution). Continuing in this way Russian forestry industry can face further losses and may be left behind the most advanced players in global supply chains of forest industry. Sustainable forestry research area aims to study international and Russian sustainable forestry practices, obstacles and outline real life cases when sustainable business models works in Russia.
China Studies Lab
In China, the fundamental barrier to successful business is less about identifying the opportunity and more about the inability to execute the plan more effectively than others. One’s own management team, the team’s relationship with corporate headquarters, the role of and relationship with local partners — all play a key role. The SKOLKOVO China Studies Lab provides expertise for business in three dimensions: Chinese culture, economy and politics. In 2015 the lab launched a first-of-a-kind breakthrough educational program in Russia dedicated to starting up and scaling business in China and with Chinese.
Research areas and projects:
- Chinese reforms quarterly. The China Studies Lab conducts quarterly analysis of strategic initiatives made within the framework of each reform announced at the beginning of 2013. Additional research under this regular work focuses mainly on financial system reform and innovation industry development.
- China media digest. To get a better understanding of business partners, one should be aware of political, social and economic trends in the counterpart’s country. It is particularly crucial for China where cultural peculiarities intersect with language specificity. In that respect, the China Studies Lab every two weeks provides analysis of major Chinese media articles and blogs.
- The Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt. In May 2015 leaders of Russia and China signed an agreement on cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt. This document determines long-term Russian-Chinese (as well as Central Asian) political and economic cooperation. The China Studies Lab conducts a series of research in this field.
- Global Strategies of Russian and Chinese Mid-Sized Firms. Together with Global strategies Lab we research international strategies of mid-sized Russian and Chinese firms from the non-resource industries. Research results contribute to the educational programs of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO as well as gives practical insights into the real work of Chinese companies.
- Cross border trading. Cross border trading traditionally plays a vital role in the bilateral cooperation between Russia and China. In line with economic transformation within both countries, models and quality of this process have dramatically changed. The China Studies Lab, in cooperation with its Far Eastern partners, provides crucial insights into this process for business.
Global Strategies Studies
Global Strategies Lab is dedicated to studying management and business practices of companies in emerging markets and their strategies in going global. The Lab seeks to contribute to contemporary international management and be a valuable source of new management thinking and theory. The knowledge created within the Lab is envisioned to be a main reference point not only for practitioners in emerging countries planning to expand internationally but also for companies from the developed countries looking to better understand the rising new champions.
Research areas and projects:
- “Selected 15: Winning Strategies of Russian Entrepreneurial Champions”: This research uncovers the lesser-known side of Russian business: the entrepreneurial stratum of dynamic, innovative and successful companies in the non-oil sector. It provides an account of 15 Russian companies that have grown to outperform or at least challenge international players not only in Russia but also in the global marketplace. This research is a major contribution to the “Unknown Russia: Powered by Entrepreneurs” report produced by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Russia. Download Selected 15 in English or Russian.
- “Global Strategies of Russian and Chinese Mid-Sized Firms”: This project seeks to understand the characteristics of mid-sized Russian and Chinese firms working in global market niches, their trajectory in going global and how they differ. As recently both nations have proclaimed mutual interest and commitment to foster Sino-Russian collaboration and trade, special attention of the research is dedicated to studying strategies of Russian firms doing business with China and Chinese firms doing business with Russia.
The mission of the Regional Studies Lab is to enable the strategies of Russian business in emerging markets. The Lab focuses on increasingly important but under-studied global macro regions – Asia, Eurasia, the Middle East and the BRICS. The Lab aims at complex analysis of regional context ranging from political risks to business ethics combining academic knowledge with business expertise. The Lab produces analytical papers and education courses for business strategists and public officials.
Key research areas:
- Asia comprises fully 30 percent of the world's land area with 60 percent of the world's current population. It also has the highest economic growth rate today with the most important emerging markets including China. Russia’s “pivot” to the East has been long proclaimed, but Asia still holds comparably low place in the business priorities of Russian corporations due to cultural differences and lack of understanding of Asia’s dynamics. SKOLKOVO Asian Studies Center is dedicated to producing research on specific problems of Asian development.
- Eurasia is an important nexus of the political and economic interests of global powers and is especially significant to Russia. Social, political, historical and economic ties between Russia and the countries of Greater Eurasia determine the special need for analyzing the context of the region. Moreover, regional integration projects, including the Eurasian Economic Union, are changing the conditions of business activities in the region, opening up new opportunities.
- BRICS: Some scholars argue that BRICS cannot be regarded as a region in itself – the cultural, administrative, geographic and economic distance between the five countries are enormous and only bilateral relations can be successful. However, we believe that BRICS can be a game-changer for the world as its political, economic and humanitarian power can be significant in the modern world.
- Middle East. Russia’s economic ties to the Middle East are limited to several major state-led contracts and minor activities of global Russian corporations. However, Russia has yet to unlock the full potential of the region. Historically, the Arab world has long been a center of global economy and trade, and Russian companies are willing to explore ways to re-establish closer ties with this region.
- The phenomenon of soft power is the subject of debate by scholars all over the world, but the main problem they currently face is: How to measure a nation's soft power? The Lab studies the impact of a country’s soft power on its global businesses and analyzes this phenomenon in emerging markets.
Innovations and Digital Studies
The Innovations and Digital Studies Lab of SKOLKOVO IEMS studies the effects of new technologies, including the impact of digital transformation on living environments, conventional industries and corporations, personal leadership and teamwork, with a focus on emerging markets, especially the BRICS countries. We aim at helping the industry players, policy makers and opinion leaders to approach innovations and digital issues through informed discussions based on research that leads to targeted and balanced decision-making.
- Global innovative competitiveness of emerging markets: “Innovative Ecosystems of BRICS Countries,” a series of research reports;
- Digital capabilities of Russian regions: Index of Digitalization of Russian Cities;
- Innovations in Russian big business: “Digital Mindset” series of case studies;
- Innovations in payments and finance: “Cashless Russia and Microcredit in Russia.”