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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the manifestation of something new in constructive human activity, an expression of human creative capabilities in labor.

Socialism opens the way to the free manifestation of human creative capabilities and talents and to innovation on a mass scale. “The awareness that they work for themselves and their society and not for exploiters inspires the working people with labor enthusiasm; it encourages their effort for innovation, their creative initiative, and mass socialist emulation” (Programma KPSS, 1973, p. 15).

Labor innovation has enormous socioeconomic importance as an inexhaustible source of increased labor productivity and accelerated scientific and technical progress. It is a source of socialist emulation, particularly of its highest form, namely, the movement for a communist attitude toward labor. Innovation stimulates an increase in the cultural and technical sophistication of the working people and a rise in their qualifications.

Innovation plays an important part in strengthening the ties between science and production, and it presupposes the active application of all theoretical and practical knowledge developed in any given field and in all related fields. Innovation provides the material from which new theoretical knowledge is worked out and promotes the development of science, technology, and production.

The history of innovation in Soviet industry is inseparably linked to the emergence of the shock worker movement. During the first five-year plans, efficiency brigades and technical independence brigades sought to master new types of production that would make possible a reduction in the import of industrial goods and a speedup in technical reequipment of enterprises. An important stage in the development of innovation is associated with the name of A. Stakhanov. The Stakhanovite movement of 1935 brought with it a new way of organizing labor that included streamlined production processes, correct distribution of labor in production, freeing of skilled workers from lower-level jobs, and improved shop organization. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 and the early postwar years, the innovator-expert (novator-skorostnik) movement was very important.

Socialist innovation is currently developing under conditions of the scientific and technological revolution, the enormous transforming influence of which develops the worker’s creativity. The initiatives toward innovation taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s have been increasingly characterized by collectivism, as when innovation is expressed in patriotic initiatives taken by labor collectives of enterprises and entire national economic sectors, as well as by cities, oblasts, and republics. Among the initiatives that have become widespread in recent years are those taken by the Saratov machine-building workers to turn out defect-free products (1963), by the workers of Sverdlovsk and Rybinsk to introduce scientific organization of labor (1967), and by the workers of the West Siberian Metallurgical Plant to achieve planned capacities ahead of schedule (1968). Mass technical innovation, invention, and enhanced efficiency represent powerful levers for further raising social productivity in industry, agriculture, construction, transportation, and services.

The creative initiative of the working people has given rise to such new forms for the organization and development of innovation as councils of innovators, public design and production engineering bureaus, and comprehensive complex brigades that are now common at enterprises. The All-Union Society of Inventors and Rationalizers, which had more than 6.5 million members in 1973, does much to develop the movement toward innovation. Along with scientists and engineering and technical personnel, many worker-innovators take an active part in the work of scientific and technical societies. Developing innovation and the mass technical creativity of the working people is an important task of all economic organs and of trade union and Komsomol organizations. Organizational and ideological work by the CPSU is of decisive importance in the development of innovation. The party is constantly exhorting the masses to active creative work and struggling to establish within the collective an atmosphere of creativity and of intolerance for conservatism and stagnation. This is one of the main sources of the strength of socialist innovation.


Materialy XXIV s”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1971.
Novatory (collection). Moscow, 1972.
Sotsialisticheskoe sorevnovanie ν promyshlennosti SSSR. Moscow, 1973.

B. K. ZLOBIN [18–113—4]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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