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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

The Corporate Lab as Ringmaster by Steve Lohr

THE Internet has changed many things, of course, but one of its more far-reaching effects has been to transform the economics of innovation.

The nation’s big corporate research and development laboratories — at I.B.M., General Electric, Hewlett-Packard and a handful of other companies — have their roots and rationale in the industrial era, when communication was costly, information traveled slowly and social networks were fostered at conferences and lunchrooms instead of over the Web.

Finding an Innovation Strategy That Works by Frank T. Rothaermel and Andrew M. Hess

When it comes to pursuing innovation, choosing the right path can be tricky, even for the most seasoned of managers. That's because there are many options from which to choose, and no one-size-fits-all recipe for success.

To make it a little easier to find the right path, we spent five years analyzing some commonly used innovation strategies. In particular, we took an in-depth look at four approaches—recruiting and cultivating human capital, spending on internal research and development, engaging in strategic alliances, and acquiring technology ventures—and what happens when companies try to pursue some or all of them at the same time.

WSJ: A Global Surge in Tiny Loans Spurs Credit Bubble in a Slum

RAMANAGARAM, India -- A credit crisis is brewing in "microfinance," the business of making the tiniest loans in the world.

Microlending fights poverty by helping poor people finance small businesses -- snack stalls, fruit trees, milk-producing buffaloes -- in slums and other places where it's tough to get a normal loan. But what began as a social experiment to aid the world's poorest has also shown it can turn a profit.

Perspectives on Innovation Blog: Archive Water, water everywhere...

Access to clean, affordable water is something that the developed world often takes for granted. Yet, over half of the world’s population is at risk for water shortages, with far-reaching effects. Lack of adequate clean water has serious health implications, including the prevalence of water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and E, and diarrhea. Globally, diarrhea is the leading cause of illness and death and 88% of those deaths are due to inadequate sanitation and availability of clean water. Water shortages also foment civil unrest and often lead to violence and regional conflicts, as we have seen in Darfur, Somalia, Chad, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, among others. Lack of water perpetuates poverty, increases the risk of political instability, and affects global prosperity.

The BizCoach: Why Women Receive Less Angel Funding Than Men

You’re a woman with a great business idea, but you’re short on funds. You’ve also heard that it’s tough for female entrepreneurs to get financing from an angel investor – someone who funds early-stage companies.

Ironically, female entrepreneurs receive less angel funding than men, even though they launch more businesses, according to a study co-authored by a finance professor, Dr. John Becker-Blease, at Washington State University, Vancouver, www.vancouver.wsu.edu.

Venture Capital, Still Seeking the Next Big Thing by Phyllis Korkki

This may seem a less-than-ideal time for an entrepreneur to seek venture capital. But the capital well is far from dry, according to a survey by the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University.

Of 185 venture firms surveyed last spring, 46 percent said they planned to make at least two investments over the next 12 months within their current fund; 54 percent said they planned to make three or more investments.

The Heart of Innovation: The Top 100 Lamest Excuses for Not...

Recognize any of these? If so, find your way pass the 100th and learn how to go beyond them. Takes less than five minutes. (Or maybe a lifetime).

1. I don't have the time.
2. I can't get the funding.
3. My boss will never go for it.
4. Were not in the kind of business likely to innovate.
5. We won't be able to get it past legal.
6. I've got too much on my plate.
7. I'll be punished if I fail.
8. I'm just not not the creative type.
9. I'm already juggling way too many projects.
10. I'm too new around here.

Knowledge blocks innovation

My respected former colleague Wilfred Rubens pointed me to an interesting posting on the HBR innovation blog of Scott Anthony. It is about the danger of knowledge blocking innovation. The central issue: people who have deep knowledge about a topic sometimes assume other people have that same knowledge. That in itself can be problematic for innovation, because R&D of companies can have wrong assumptions about level of knowledge of potential customers for their innovations. They assume customers know more then they do, making them blind for opportunities & threats regarding their innovations. Anthony supports this notion with a Gillette example. Although I agree to the expert blindness effect of having a deep body of knowledge in a field, I don’t see it block innovation. Most organisations involve multiple (knowledge) perspectives in their innovation processes, ranging from experts, production, marketing to customers. At least they will have extensive market research and field testing to overcome the issues Anthony is pointing at.

Nigeria: Embrace Entrepreneurship, Youths Told

Abuja — Nigerian youths have been encouraged to think and change their mindsets, in order to generate business ideas that they can be engaged in while in school and upon graduation from the university.

This process can only be achieved through development of sound character, work ethics and integrity while working at improved productivity among young persons.

Patent Application Filings: Fluctuations and Innovation

The current decline in patent filings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (”USPTO”) has been well documented on many prominent intellectual property blog sites. In fact, according to a recent Patently-O blog entry, “new patent filings are down 16% so far in 2009.” This post examines the variability in the number of application filings in the United States (”US”) and abroad, and discusses the relationship between the number of filings and innovation.