The work deals with the study of innovation sphere in the conditions of transformation of economic space, as well as with the searching the ways to optimal organization of the innovation process in order to modernize the economy and to overcome the crisis, taking into account characteristics of the organization of innovation, both in the institutional and spatial aspects. On the basis
of a comparative analysis of the innovation process in the regions of the Northwestern Federal District the causes of deformation of regional innovation spheres in the peripheral areas are highlighted,
and especially the organization of innovative activity in the conditions of the center-periphery interactions and systemic risk. Innovation activity reflects the internal state of the regional innovation system,
existing institutions and the degree of external influence, the strength of which is determined by the ratio of market power, established in the
inter-industry markets. It was concluded that the optimal functioning of innovation infrastructure with an adequate system of institutions and a fair allocation of economic rent is the most important task of regional and innovation policy in relation to peripheral regions.
Keywords: innovation activity, the diffusion of innovation, economical district, the region, the periphery, geographical invariant, economical rent
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