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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.

Indian innovators driving the country forward Bangalore: Innovative ideas are not a new thing for Indians, especially with India's premiere institute like IITs churning out batches of sharpest minds around. Many innovators have been trying to simplify some process or change something traditional with the help of latest technology. One such example can be taken of Pradip Sharmah who has collaborated with IIT Guwahati to design lighter, larger and more stable rickshaws, about 5000 of which are currently plying on the roads in Assam and other states.

Sharmah has also worked with the Centre for Rural Development to approach insurance companies and banks to provide rickshaw pullers with social security and financing options. "We provide them with a comprehensive package that includes the newly designed rickshaw, the insurance, two sets of uniforms, a license from the municipal corporation, a photo ID and a pair of Hawaii chappals (slippers)," he said to Live Mint. "The best part is we are not doing this as charity. Nothing is given free. These rickshaw pullers pay us Rs. 25 a day as rent, but this leads him to become an owner of that asset in 15-18 months time."

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Building on the ideas expressed in last month's newsletter about trend spotting, cross pollination and lateral thinking, it's interesting to learn that the internet is moving in a direction that will support all web pages and sites to function in a more relational way. This evolution could make it easier for more people to find the information they are looking for, while at the same time being able to see that information within different contexts and being able to drill down deeper to make more detailed connections.

For most of us using the internet is something we just do without much thought or care about the underlying structures or processes that allow for near instantaneous access to billions of web pages. The limitations present in first generation web pages (which were static 'pages' ) were innovatively removed by standards which allowed interaction and user generated content. These second generation web pages evolved to support social networking and various connections between human beings.

linked-data
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Cloud Computing - Popular SaaS ApplicationsIf you think about how you use software today versus how you did just 10 years ago, my bet is you now use a lot more web-based applications.

A piece of software that runs in your web browser and which stores your data (such as emails or photos) on the Internet is commonly referred to as Software As A Service (SaaS) or cloud-based computing – two buzz words which companies like SalesForce.com and Google use as much as they can to communicate the idea that there’s a paradigm shift taking place in the way software is built and used.

The basic idea is that a few years ago most of the software programs you used (such as Microsoft Office, Outlook, Photoshop and MSN/Yahoo/AOL Messenger) were Windows (or Mac) based applications that you had to install and upgrade. They took up space on your hard drive and couldn’t be used when you were on another computer unless you installed them again.

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My [Jay Deragon ] post “The Emergence of the “Know” Profile” stirred numerous responses. Within these responses, and the subsequent dialog within the blogosphere , came many questions and perceptions as to the validity of someday actualizing the “know” profile as described.

Given this exchange I thought it would be worthy to examine some of the relevant issues raised and address them by sharing more details of how the “know” profile will emerge and how it will work.

How Can Knowledge be Indexed into an Inventory?

Libraries use numerical indexing to categorize books and the relevant content. The numerical indexing system applies numbers to make a search of relevant and relative words all contained in a taxonomy of subjects. These numeric indexes began in approximately 1894. This “taxonomy” of knowledge assets (contained in libraries of knowledge) can be found in places like Amazon, Encyclopedia Britannica or the Library of Congress etc. Ever seen anything like this ISBN 0-534-39200-8? That is the numerical index number for a book.

Now take that same concept and apply the related methodologies to “indexing an individuals knowledge assets” and what you create is a library of individual knowledge inventory. Computer algebra system would perform the required calculations. The new system would include various versions of algorithms used to index ones knowledge inventory based on education, learning degrees, life experiences and original published content. All of this currently rest in our social profiles but is yet to be indexed to reflect our individual knowledge inventory. Not yet but soon.

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The Creative Economy Report 2008 is the result of an initiative put forward by the part- nership between UNCTAD and the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation. This policy-oriented study is the main output of the project, “Strengthening the Creative Economy in Developing Countries”, jointly coordinated by Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg, Chief, UNCTAD Creative Economy and Industries Programme, and Francisco Simplicio, Chief, Division for Knowledge Management and Operations of the UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.

The Partnership expresses its sincere gratitude to Yiping Zhou, Director, UNDP Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, for his deep support to this initiative. Without his vision and commitment, this work would not have materialized.

The Report was prepared under the leadership of UNCTAD and is a pioneering example of multi-agency cooperation reflecting the work of the United Nations Multi- Agency Informal Group on Creative Industries in an effort to build upon comple- mentarities and enhance policy coherence on matters relating to the creative industries and the creative economy. It is the first report to present the United Nations system-wide perspective on this innovative topic and it brings together contributions from five collaborating bodies: the United Nations Conference onTrade and Development (UNC- TAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Special Unit for South- South Cooperation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Download the Full Report PDF

Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and fueled by leaders and social hubs such as Micah Baldwin, Tech Stars mentor, #followfriday creator and now chief community caretaker at Graphic.ly of Digital X, and Robert Reich, the founder of Boulder/Denver Tech Meet-up, Boulder's startup community is pumping, even in the midst of recession.

Boulder is the home of Blue Mountain cards, one of the first successful online greeting cards websites. In the 1990s, Fortune 1,000 tech companies popped up all over the Western prairie between Boulder and Denver. Since then, Boulder's creative, crunchy, beautiful mountain environment has nurtured a self-supporting startup tech ecosystem.

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Pike Research: Energy managment market still largely unexploredDespite everything the U.S. Department of Energy, President Barack Obama and common sense say, energy efficiency just isn’t very sexy. Energy management systems have fantastic rates of return — saving thousands, if not millions. And Cash upfront for installation yields much lower energy bills in the future. But energy management systems are still only penetrating 14 percent of the potential market, according to a new report from Pike Research

For context, energy management systems do not have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as installing efficient light bulbs, caulking windows, or adding installation. Or they can be as sophisticated as EcoFactor’s thermostat software that optimizes energy savings while automating heating and air conditioning.

One big obstacle to efficiency measures: winning over landlords. Most tenants pay their own electric bills, but renovations are still property owners’ responsibility. As a result, most buildings’ energy systems are antiquated, to be kind. Many tenants will find, if educated, that it is worth their while to pay for installation of home or commercial energy management systems themselves. This is another hurdle for system vendors: average consumers simply don’t know how much they could be saving.

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In January, we had the “Fear the Boom & Bust” rap video that pitted John Maynard Keynes v. Friedrich Hayek rapping about their respective approaches to monetary and fiscal policy, and theories of the business cycle. Now Pantless Knights (a web comic team) offers a terrific spoof of the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys video “Empire State” of mind rap video—instead of “New York,” the video celebrates the “New Dork” and the “Entrepreneur State of Mind.”

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The subject of how effective universities are at commercializing technologies they develop is a suddenly hot topic. Prodded in part by the Kauffman Foundation’s critical and controversial call this winter for turning academic inventors into free agents to stimulate innovation, the federal government convened university and industry leaders last month to discuss how to speed the movement of research into the market place.

The Association of University Technology Managers rejects the view, explicit in the Kauffman proposal and implicit in last month’s federal summit, that the current system of university technology transfer is flawed. AUTM argues that investing more money in the current setup will propel more innovation and commercialization.

We think both sides are wrong in their embrace of the profit motive as a stimulator for university research innovation, and suggest a more fundamental rethinking of the use of commercialization as a way to get academic innovations into the market.

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Sometimes I like to tool around the Internet looking for hydrogen resources that may have flown under the radar of the mainstream media. In the U. S. there are many programs that are being developed simultaneously, especially different kinds of hydrogen roadmaps and state’s initiatives.

So, I thought I would outline a few of the most important and interesting of both of these areas.

Roadmaps

The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap developed in 2002 outlines a vision for transitioning the U. S. to a hydrogen economy and H2-based transportation system.

The California Hydrogen Highway Blueprint is part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s directive in 2004 to the Golden State’s EPA to fast track the development of hydrogen fueling stations.

The Florida Accelerated Commercialization Strategy for Hydrogen Energy Technologies focused in particular the commercialization of H2 business in that state.

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 What Dodd Bill Would Mean for Venture Capital and Private EquitySenator Chris Dodd today unveiled the latest version of his financial regulatory reform bill which, if passed, would have some implications for the venture capital and private equity markets (despite some media suggestions that PE/VC escape scrutiny).

It’s a lot like the original bill from last fall, but with exactly 200 more pages (we’ll consider this the unabridged version). Here are the relevant highlights:

1. Dodd retains the original Senate bill’s registration exemption for venture capital and private equity funds. He also retains the original bill’s edict that the SEC is responsible for constructing a definition for “venture capital” funds and “private equity” funds — so as to differentiate them from “hedge funds” (which will be required to register).

As a reminder, an earlier House bill had only exempted venture capital funds of $150 million or less. Industry trade groups had insisted that any registration would be unwarrented, given that neither VC nor PE firms helped contribute to the financial meltdown. They’re right, but hedge fund reps could have made the same argument…

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Throughout the financial crisis of 2008-09, most venture capitalists wisely advised startups to hunker down. The best bet, they said, was to lower expenses and, above all else, avoid fundraising in 2009, since all eyes were on 2010 as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. 

The advice, as it turns out, was somewhat short-sighted.

We are now 18 months past the height of the financial crisis. Back then, it didn’t require a doomsday-oriented PowerPoint presentation to know that difficult times lay ahead. The same, frustratingly, can be said today. This is a different capital environment, but it’s not necessarily any better. It’s just different – and it may be worse.

Because so many companies avoided fundraising last year, there is currently a glut of companies that likely need cash. Accordingly, the competition is fierce, and it includes many companies that didn’t grow much (if at all) in 2009. Many companies seeking funding in 2010 are (or soon will be) out of money, and as a result they’re in poor negotiating positions. Even good companies are fighting for one of history’s toughest investment pools.

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