July “Marathon”. Part III
23.08.2018

The project group "Regional system for detecting and supporting talents" (group leader - Elena Sukhanova, Deputy Vice-Rector for Academic Work, Director of the TSU’s Institute for Innovations in Education) was developing a system of "producing" talents for new sectors of the regional economy and large digital companies. They were working on planning research and joint projects with the schools of the Tomsk Region. Searching for a solution to the task, the group relied on a new concept of talent. Whereas in the 20th century “talent” was defined as a unique set of human genetic qualities, in the 21st century, it is understood as a unique configuration of abilities, formed by personal activity in certain types of environment. Accordingly, if one wants to educate talents, it is necessary to create a special environment for that.

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This approach makes it possible to generate talents “in volume”. A major role belongs here to, so-called, uberization of education, which is a system of training in which students and teachers find each other on their own, at the end of training teachers can certify their students based on the results. Such a system can complement formal education. A collection of certificates and "micro-diplomas", which confirms unique competencies of talented people, is beginning to be valued by employers no less than formal certificates and diplomas. And this is only one aspect of the talent detection and support system presented by the project team at the session.

Initially, the “Innovative Entrepreneurial Track” group (led by Mikhail Golovatov, Head of the TSU’s Innovation in Science, Technology and Technologies Department) was focused on the design of the TSU Business Center, but in the course of the session they tried to enter a broader regional context and came up with the project "Service Company with Innovation Infrastructure in the Digital Region".

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It is interesting that the uberization, as one of the universal trends of the modern era, found its reflection only regarding the service model of a company in question. According to the group, the existing business support infrastructure in the Tomsk Region is focused on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI), but not on the interests of the clients. The goal if the project is to provide customers with the simple and effective access to the infrastructure described earlier. It is only possible if all its elements are digitalized.

The project group "Regional system for detecting and supporting talents" (group leader - Elena Sukhanova, Deputy Vice-Rector for Academic Work, Director of the TSU’s Institute for Innovations in Education) was developing a system of "producing" talents for new sectors of the regional economy and large digital companies. They were working on planning research and joint projects with the schools of the Tomsk Region. Searching for a solution to the task, the group relied on a new concept of talent. Whereas in the 20th century “talent” was defined as a unique set of human genetic qualities, in the 21st century, it is understood as a unique configuration of abilities, formed by personal activity in certain types of environment. Accordingly, if one wants to educate talents, it is necessary to create a special environment for that.

 (слайд 16)

This approach makes it possible to generate talents “in volume”. A major role belongs here to, so-called, uberization of education, which is a system of training in which students and teachers find each other on their own, at the end of training teachers can certify their students based on the results. Such a system can complement formal education. A collection of certificates and "micro-diplomas", which confirms unique competencies of talented people, is beginning to be valued by employers no less than formal certificates and diplomas. And this is only one aspect of the talent detection and support system presented by the project team at the session.

Initially, the “Innovative Entrepreneurial Track” group (led by Mikhail Golovatov, Head of the TSU’s Innovation in Science, Technology and Technologies Department) was focused on the design of the TSU Business Center, but in the course of the session they tried to enter a broader regional context and came up with the project "Service Company with Innovation Infrastructure in the Digital Region".

 (слайд 17)

It is interesting that the uberization, as one of the universal trends of the modern era, found its reflection only regarding the service model of a company in question. According to the group, the existing business support infrastructure in the Tomsk Region is focused on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI), but not on the interests of the clients. The goal if the project is to provide customers with the simple and effective access to the infrastructure described earlier. It is only possible if all its elements are digitalized.

 (слайд 18)

The "Advanced Educational Technologies" group (led by Galina Mozhaeva, Director of the TSU’s Institute for Distance Learning) worked on a project aimed at developing a concept and a preliminary roadmap for the TSU’s Institute for Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT). To do this, the group had to analyze global and local situations in ALT, the conditions for the emergence of new educational technologies with a focus on adaptive learning, the structure of the platform for creating VR / AR products for a wide range of devices and tasks; and to determine the features of the transition from the first generation (MEP 1.0) to the second generation mass online courses (MEP 2.0 or ALT).

Finally, there was one more project that became a "frame" for all other projects and the entire ecosystem. It was the "A World-Class Region and a World-Class Research and Educational Center" project (led by Julia Emer, Head of the TSU’s Information Policy Department). According to its developers, it had to connect the interests, resources, and ambitions of all Tomsk universities, business, and government in the context of the main challenges of the digital era.

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The frame for the relationship between the region and the future Research and Educational Center was named "Digital Transsib".  The configuration of the future Center, regardless of its specialization, was determined precisely by the "digital" strategy, since the oil and gas industry in the Tomsk Region can no longer provide a leap forward. Therefore, the main stake was placed on the "digital” aspect, which today is an indispensable element of almost any professional sphere. The concept of the project was based on the concentration of IT competencies, which allows to transform the region's economy into a digital one. Its main product should be research content and new digital technologies.

After the final presentation of all these projects, Andrei Volkov, as an expert from the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, noted that very significant results were achieved at the project analytical session. In his opinion, the “A World-Class Region and a World-Class Research and Educational Center” and "Digitalization and Personnel for the IT" groups found the “digital” frame for the Tomsk Region in the Russian Federation. 

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Andrei Volkov emphasized that starting from a collection of almost unrelated themes and going seemingly in parallel ways, at a certain stage, the participants of the session reached a common - digital - frame, which by the end of the "marathon" related most of the projects to each other and made them more complete.

Other experts who attended the session also noticed the overall high level of the projects and their presentations. One of the main wishes from the experts was further consolidation of the efforts of Tomsk universities, as subjects of the regional innovation ecosystem, around the idea of digitalization of the economy of the Tomsk Region. 21.jpg

I personally want to say one more time that we decided to hold this session, first of all, in order to find the ways of developing an innovation ecosystem of the university and the region. Many Russians know the Triple Helix concept by Henry Itskowitz and the Rainforest concept by Victor Hwang and Greg Horwitt, but few have tried to apply them when dealing with real projects. It's very difficult. And the main difficulty is to find a common focus capable of uniting all the elements of the ecosystem and the interests of its stakeholders, as each of them exists in its own mental model and has its own goals. But we took a chance and very seriously advanced in understanding possible vectors of the ecosystem development and its general - digital - context.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this intense and fruitful intellectual marathon, which enabled all of us to go beyond the limits of our everyday life and achieve this understanding!