The government has approved a National Policy on Research, Development and Innovation for the Czech Republic in the years 2009 to 2015.
At present preparations are under way for a reform of the system for research, development and innovation in the Czech Republic, which should increase the country's reputation and attractiveness both to domestic and foreign research workers, as well as interest from abroad in research cooperation with Czech teams and organisations, and interest in purchasing research, licences or know-how from Czech organisations.
Development plans and programmes identify priorities and areas of development and the basic framework for supporting innovation in businesses.
New technologies can dramatically increase a company's productivity, drive down production costs, shorten production time and improve product quality.
Product innovation is the introduction of new or significantly improved products, technologies, and services to the market. These technical innovations can involve the characteristics of the product, its components or the materials used. The goal is to come up with something new and find a competitive advantage.
Product innovation strategies can be:
- reactive (when you strive to satisfy customer demands);
- proactive (when you anticipate these demands).
Innovation in business refers not only to technological development but also to organisational, financial and commercial issues.
This involves the implementation of new and significantly improved methods of production or service provision (including significant changes to technology and equipment).
It includes , for example, innovation in the area of organisation and management (new ways of organising work, managing quality, process management etc.), market innovations, business model innovation or innovative presentation (a comprehensive concept of innovation in the area of design and marketing).
Innovation in management procedures can be needed when:
- the business environment changes;
- your company grows or does not achieve the required performance due to management problems;
- competitors introduce better management procedures.
The measures introduced can include new ways of organising business practices, the workplace and external relationships.
Organisational innovations proceed both inside and outside an organisation and bring in new methods:
- in the organisaion of business structures - including new methods not used in the business previously that are the outcome of a strategic decision adopted by management,
- in the organisation of the workplace - including new methods for sharing responsibility and adopting decisions among employees, dividing work between organisational units or the integration of various business activities in the organisation of business and commercial practices or in external relations - including the introduction of new methods for organising relations with other companies or public institutions, such as creating new types of cooperation.
Alongside innovation, access to R&D is essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive.
Intellectual property must be protected to encourage innovation.
The Technology Agency of the Czech republic (TA CR) has provided targeted support for projects in applied research, development and innovation since 2009 on the basis of an amendment to Act No 130/2002 on support for research, experimental development and innovation. Under the Act, the Agency above all secures the implementation of programmes of applied research, development and innovation in support of projects and public procurement in this area.
The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic is an organisation with 54 public research centres. Its mission is to carry out fundamental research across a broad spectrum of natural, technical and social sciences and the humanities.
Inovace.cz is the specialised portal on innovation for businesses. It includes advice on how to start a business, how and where to innovate and how to protect intellectual property. In addition to the portal, Inovace.cz offers an international and domestic database of tenders and requests for innovative services, products, experts, investors and innovative projects.
Businessinfo.cz is the official portal for business and exports. It is a combined project of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and its CzechTrade agency. The partners in the project include ministries, their agencies, non-governmental entrepreneurial organisations, chambers and associations.
Useful information is also provided on the Public Administration Portal, and on the website of the Czechinvest - the business and investment support agency.
The Operational Programme "Enterprise and Innovation" helps companies to develop their innovative potential. It provides financial support for:
- the use of modern technologies;
- increasing the use of renewable energy resources;
- improving infrastructure and services;
- establishing cooperation between companies and research institutions.
The Research and Development for Innovation programme aims to promote innovation and strengthen the research and development sector by supporting cooperation between universities, research institutions and the private sector.
Financial support is granted for:
- purchasing new equipment for research centres and modern technologies;
- setting up new research centres;
- tertiary education schemes.