The great city of Moscow hosted this year’s Open Innovation Forum, a gathering of all cutting-edge technological projects happening in the world today. The Forum is the largest event of its kind in Russia, and it demonstrates the main high-tech trends and key Russian achievements in the most innovative sectors of the economy.

Sponsored by the Skolkovo Foundation and held at the Skolkovo Technopark (largest technology park in Europe, with over 100,000 square meters), the event brought together over 20,000 attendees, 130 speakers from all walks of the technology world inside an expansive, 8,000 square-meter exhibition venue in the outskirts of the
Russian capital. Skolkovo’s efforts put together a well-organised, memorable three-day long event that featured the latest in human ingenuity, entrepeneurship, and development, as well as showcasing present and future trends in technological advances.

The Open Innovations Forum is all about communication, to keep all attendees up to date with the latest technological trends, and to share that gathered knowledge with each other. The event fosters interaction between participants via its interactive exhibits.

And it’s all about creativity, too. Creativity underlies every human endeavour, particularly any technological advance. Some refer to people as Homo Creativus, the creative man. The concept of creativity has been linked to the very survival of individuals, or our species as a whole, constantly throughout history.

Forum 2017: Main Themes

The main themes running through this year’s Forum were digital economy, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and Digitization.

Digital economy is slowly spreading to all aspects of people’s daily lives, from shopping, to commercial haulage, social life, and so many other sides. The Forum highlights the advantages of a digitalised economy through a series of interactive sessions, presentations, and talks from well known entrepeneurs like Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group.

A great majority of the events featured at the Forum had a common theme: How the world is currently experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution -the Digital Revolution-, and how global connectivity is changing our ways of living. By some predictions, internet connectivity will be as essential to contemporary humans as
electricity was in the past.

The issue of digitization also featured heavily across many of the events, dealing with how the advent and development of the internet has heralded a digital era.

Plenary Session

The 2017 Forum was anchored by the Plenary Session, which took place on October 17, with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attending the event. Medvedev’s primary focus has always been the modernisation of Russia’s economy and technology. He led a wide-ranging modernisation programme in 2009, for example, driven by innovation in the field of nuclear technology, IT, medical, pharmaceutical, etc. The Plenary Session was also attended by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, and a panel of expert speakers that included Jack Ma and Michio Kaku.

According to the minister, ‘The main theme of this year’s Forum is Digital Economy. This is logical as the key issue -how digital economy affects us- is at the center of today’s debates.’

StartUp Station

As in previous years, the Forum featured the StartUp Station, a platform exclusively dedicated for startups to display their value proposition to attract investors and expand their business.

This year’s StartUp Station was packed with a number of startups eager to showcase their stuff for a small fee.

iMarket

A Russian-held event would surely go to great efforts to showcase the cutting edge of Russian technology.

The 2017 Forum achieved this through the iMarket, a platform dedicated to present Russian-own tech solutions.

This year’s Forum showcase well over 200 such solutions, ranging from infrastructure, state-owned assets, healthcare, computer technology, and much more.

According to promotional material, ‘the iMarket focused on the interests of visitors, plus their desires and needs, demonstrating that implementing innovations in life today is as simple as going to any store.’

Final Thoughts

The Open Innovations Forum 2017 proved to be an interesting, worthy event, and a great opportunity to network and become aware of where the technology world is heading to. The landscaped environments at the Skolkovo Technopark provided the perfect backdrop to such colourful event.

A message rang loud and clear throughout the entire event: The world is entering a brand new technological epoch, which will bring about as much significance and change to our lives as the invention of the wheel, or harnessing electrical power.


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