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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.

Ashish K Kulkarni

My whole career has been focused on innovation, on developing and delivering exciting new technologies and products. That’s led me to also devote considerable time and energy to thinking about—and working to build—organizational cultures that foster truly transformational innovation. Along the way I’ve learned a few things.

First, innovation can’t be forced. It can be encouraged, incentivized, and supported, but it cannot be compelled. Innovation requires that people exercise their creativity, that they challenge conventional thinking, that they take appropriate risks—and people exercise these behaviors only when they want and feel a deep need to do so.


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Question drawn on a blackboard.

Much has been written about how to secure venture capital funding, but far less about whether a founder should sign a term sheet and say ‘yes’. 

Like all industries, there are great funds, good funds, average funds - you get the idea. 

For founders thinking about whether to accept an offer from a fund, here are five key questions they should ask themselves. 


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Rodrigo Segal

New year and new learnings. The key for this 2021 will be to respond to what knowledge and capabilities did we acquire or develop during the past year that we can use to our advantage to continue operating?

According to the study "Entrepreneurship ecosystems in Latin America and the Caribbean against COVID-19" by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), technological enterprises are those that can better enhance their capacities to be more agile; something that we have verified over the last few months of working with Justo, a startup that, together with my partner, we created in Chile in 2018 and now we have expanded to Mexico, Peru and Colombia.


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Juan Moyano/Stocksy

Haven, the venture to disrupt U.S. health care formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, is disbanding less than three years after its launch. When it was formed, the three companies had a lofty goal: to “provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality, and transparent health care at a reasonable cost.” Atul Gawande, the famous author and surgeon, was hired as CEO, and Jack Stoddard, who served as general manager for digital health at Comcast, took the COO job. What transpired next was a slow drain of talent. Stoddard left only nine months after being hired, and Gawande departed a year later.

Image: Juan Moyano/Stocksy

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I was walking through the Indianapolis airport ten or so years ago when I noticed a huge banner welcoming United’s new non-stop service from San Francisco as if it was the arrival of food in the Berlin airlift. “Why the big fuss?” I asked one of the CEOs I was there to visit. “VC guys don’t change planes,” he said. “No non-stop, no investments.”


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Illustration by Andrea Manzati

Despite near record unemployment during the Covid-19 recession, plenty of employers will face major challenges in hiring low-skill, entry-level workers when economic conditions improve. This is, in part, because the overall U.S. workforce will grow only 0.4% in the next several decades. A big part of the problem of finding low-skill workers is the barriers employers create when they focus on screening people out. Typical staffing processes are costly, time-consuming, and repeated endlessly. Businesses spend about $4,100 per employee processing resumes, then conducting interviews, background checks, and drug tests.

Image: Illustration by Andrea Manzati

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medicine bottle

COVID-19 vaccine research drove a lot of funding to biotechnology companies in Maryland’s Montgomery County last year, but it didn’t all come from coronavirus research.

Life sciences companies based in, or with a presence in, Maryland’s largest county received nearly $7.7 billion in research and development funding from the federal government, private investors and nonprofit organizations in 2020, according to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., a public/private partnership aimed at helping private companies connect with funding, permits and other resources.


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Bill Gates - Image from Wikipedia

Businessman, computer and philanthropist, Bill Gates, was able to predict on a health crisis like the one currently being experienced due to the Covid-19. Later, he guessed which pharmacist would start the first dose. In the same way, he has expressed about when the pandemic will end and what changes will remain. He immediately announced what 2021 could be like and not everything is encouraging.


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Ship on Sea

Imagine a ship at sea, at risk of sinking in a tempest. Is it better to empower the crew to do whatever it takes to save the ship, or should every decision be made by the captain and top officers? Similarly, what should the optimal form of firm organisation be during a severe downturn? The need to make tough decisions – including layoffs – may favour firms that concentrate power at the top. However, the turbulence and fast-shifting conditions magnify the value of the information held by local managers.


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Every new business I know dreams of building momentum in their business, where growth continues to increase, customers become your best advocates, and employee motivation is high. The most common approach I see to achieving this is to do more of everything for everyone. Unfortunately, with limited resources, this isn’t possible, and it frustrates customers and the team.


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This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

One year ends, another begins. From disruption to transition, McKinsey research traces the pandemic’s arc. DOWNLOADS Open interactive popup

Special Report COVID-19: Facts and Insights, October 30 Full Report (129 pages) Article (3 pages) One way or another, 2021 is likely to be the year when the world transitions to the next normal. As executives take stock of what’s just happened, and what’s to come, they won’t go far wrong by considering the ten trends that authors Kevin Sneader and Shubham Singhal analyzed and the effects of those trends on the global economy, business, and society.


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