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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.

warehouse

Every entrepreneur I know is short on resources, including time, money, and skills. The last thing they can afford is to waste any of these, but in my mentoring and coaching activities, I see it happening all too often. Waste in a startup is any activity that spends resources, but creates no value or competitive advantage in the eyes of customers.

Much has been written about this subject in the world of manufacturing, stemming primarily from the 1990’s work by Taiichi Ohno, called the Toyota Production System (“Lean”). More recently, the concepts have been applied to the general business management context, in a classic book by Certified Turnaround Professional, Thomas H. Gray, titled “Business Techniques for Growth.”

 

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leadership

When I was in my early twenties, a close relative of mine was murdered on the street by someone he didn’t know. It was a random act of violence that threw me into a spiral of sadness, fear, and negativity. I saw danger around every corner. The future was dark; the past was a fairy tale that had morphed into a cruel joke.

But the days passed, and I muddled through. At some point, when I got up in the morning and looked in the mirror, I saw hope again in the eyes that looked back at me. And I started the next phase of my life.

 

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office buildings

According to a newly released study produced jointly by financial data company PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the U.S. venture capital industry in 2017 finished the strongest it has in decades, with a total of $84 billion invested in more than 8,000 companies — the largest annual amount of capital invested in the entrepreneurial ecosystem since the first Internet boom in the late ‘90s.

 

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failure

While micro-management has never done a firm any good, it’s lethal in start-ups.

In their early stages, start-ups generally pay less and provide fewer employee benefits than companies in the corporate world. However, they still attract their share of talent as start-ups typically offer a vital environment that allows for exponential learning and development. But what happens when a venture founder turns out to be a micro-manager? It can kill morale, growth and soon the start-up itself. Having co-launched over 20 start-ups, I have seen it first-hand.

 

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SINGAPORE'S transformation over the past few decades from a developing country into one of the most innovative and tech-savvy metropolis in the world has been remarkable.

In the past decade, Singapore has consistently been acknowledged as a globally-recognised leader in areas of scientific research and intellectual-property protection.

Recently, the Global Innovation Index 2017 ranked Singapore as the most innovative nation in Asia. The WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 rated Singapore as having the best IP protection in Asia.

Image: Mr Steve Leonard: If we can evolve our collective thinking from a "not sure we can" into a "we think we can", and eventually into a "we know we can" mindset, then we will be on our way to building deep-tech companies from Singapore for the world.

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australia

A new global ranking from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has identified Australia as one of the top innovators in the 2018 Consumer Technology Association (CTA) International Innovation Scorecard.

The largest American technical trade association has recognised 13 countries as leading nations with factors conducive to innovation from a field of 38.

It ranked Australia third behind Finland and the United Kingdom, followed by Sweden, United States, Singapore, Netherlands, Canada, Portugal, Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark and New Zealand as the 2018 Innovation Champions.

 

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – North Carolina-based companies raised a total of $956.3 million in venture capital investments in 2017, a 35 percent increase over 2016’s $706 million.

While 2015’s $1.3 billion remains the largest venture capital investment year in recent memory, 2017’s uptick could mean the sharp drop in investments during 2016 was an anomaly, not the beginning of a downward trend. However, trends take years to bear out, so only time will tell whether 2017 is part of an upward trend or a standalone increase.

Image: https://www.wraltechwire.com

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alexa

Although Amazon and Google sold millions of smart speakers in 2017, the digital assistant wars are just getting started. This year, Alexa and Google Assistant will try to expand into new places and build bigger ecosystems. And they’ll do it while fending off new threats from rivals like Apple and Samsung.

 

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NewImage

Odds are you’ve been asked to contribute to a new product or cause via Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Indiegogo, or another crowdfunding site at some point or another in the last few years. Although popular crowdfunding sites like those only launched as early as 2008, the fact is, you’ve been participating in crowdfunding for a long time. You just didn’t know it.

Image: https://thenextweb.com

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Whether it’s an app or a device, the path from start-up idea to full-fledged company often leads through programs called accelerators or hubs that can provide workspaces, guidance and even funding.  In Pittsburgh, there is AlphaLab, AlphaLab Gear and Ascender.

But competition can be stiff for the limited spots in these programs. For those who do get in, it's usually a full time commitment, said Randy Eager, an entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Pittsburgh's Innovation Institute.

Image: Gagan Biyani, co-founder of the online learning platform Udemy, speaks at the San Francisco Founder Institute in 2015. Biyani is a graduate of the Founder Institute and now serves as a mentor in the program. - FOUNDER INSTITUTE

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bitcoin

Investors and speculators are biting into bitcoin — in a big way. The price of the cryptocurrency surged by nearly 1,900% in 2017, to an average high of $19,499 on December 15 across major bitcoin exchanges, before plunging down to just under $14,000 by year’s end, according to blockchain.info. The ascent is striking especially since bitcoin emerged just eight years ago, the creation of a mysterious person or group of people named Satoshi Nakamoto. In 2009, bitcoin was worth zero.

 

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idea

Starting a new business is a serious undertaking. Yet many aspiring entrepreneurs I know approach it as a fun project, get-rich quick scheme, or perhaps an expensive hobby. Others quit their day jobs and commit everything to their new passion, without regard for their own well-being, or the welfare of others around them. Neither of these approaches bodes well for success.

As an entrepreneur, you need to start early to implement the discipline and business practices that will lead to success. Even though everyone has an opinion on good early stage practices, I was impressed with the actionable blueprint in the classic book by Scott Duffy, “Launch! The Critical 90 Days From Idea To Market,” on the first steps that determine long-term success.

 

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