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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.

Peter Drucker said:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Yet, time after time we see companies trot out responses to competition that aren’t much different than the competition. Witness the box like car pioneered by the Scion Xb, then the Honda Element, and now the Nissan Cube. Honda misjudged the primary market so badly for the Element- thinking young hipsters would be the primary market- and it ended up being a car for the practical geriatric set (don’t worry, Chrysler had the same experience with the PT Cruiser).

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On September 9, the giant data storage hardware and software company EMC announced it would spend $1.5 billion to further develop its R&D capabilities in India. A new research facility will employ 2,000 engineers and scientists with the potential for an additional 1,500. A day earlier, EMC announced a R&D alliance with the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore, one of a constellation of Indian research universities equivalent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, albeit with harder admissions requirements.

Such announcements are usually met with despair and anger. The decision to domicile those jobs in India nails yet another in the coffin for U.S. industry and R&D, goes the old saw. The naysayers bray that EMC's decision is more evidence that America makes and designs less and less, and has become a soft-bellied country of marketers, PR people, and lawyers—make-nothings, in other words. Even President Barack Obama has joined this chorus, calling for more engineers and a return to a country of people who make things.

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Already a hotbed of research, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley has a new roadmap for turning those technological and human assets into a prosperous future. The strategy identifies four promising industry sectors:
-- instrumentation
-- nuclear energy
-- bioenergy
-- energy-related materials.

Developed by Innovation Valley officials and consultants from the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, these four high tech areas utilize the high tech resources of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, the University of Tennessee , and partnerships and initiatives across the Innovation Valley, and reflect current national business trends.

"Our focus at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is to deliver the kind of science that will be the foundation for economic growth in the years ahead," said ORNL Director Thom Mason, who also chairs Innovation Valley. "This roadmap will allow our region to benefit from the technology assets we have and further strengthens the linkage between economic development priorities and the research direction for ORNL."

 

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Ohio's increase in venture capital investment - the only state that has not experienced a decline - is on display Oct. 14-15 at the Ohio Early Stage Summit V, an education and networking event for entrepreneurs and investors from across the country. According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, state funding supporting early stage venture capital investment through public-private partnerships has been key to Ohio's proactive strategy for business climate success that is beating the odds in the current VC environment.

 

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The Rochester region has many assets to foster econmic growth and could benefit by having one person - an "innovation intermediary"- who makes it easier for the region to bring innovation to the marketplace.

That's the message of Richard Bendis, keynote speaker and one fo the scheduled panelists at next Friday's annual Eyes on the Future, a regional economic summit, at St. John Fisher College.

 

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN—U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke opened the department’s first one-stop shop today in Plymouth, Mich., bringing together under one roof all the agency’s services to make it easier for local businesses and entrepreneurs to access them. Locke announced the opening of the new facility, named CommerceConnect, at the Midwestern Governors Association Jobs and Energy Forum this morning and later held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. Today’s event marked the secretary’s fifth trip to Michigan since becoming Commerce secretary.

“The Commerce Department offers tremendous resources for businesses, but too few businesses take advantage of these and other government services because there is no GPS for navigating the bureaucracy,” Locke said. “CommerceConnect will provide a single point of contact where businesses can access the full array of Commerce programs available to them.”

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The third annual event, sponsored by the Small Business Council of Rochester and Greater Rochester Enterprise, was intended to stir enthusiasm for the region as a place to do business.

The event was headlined by Richard A. Bendis, founder and CEO of Innovation America in Philadelphia, who warned the audience that financing for new ventures is at its lowest point in 12 years.

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Back in August, Connect CEO Duane Roth outlined an initiative to address a dearth of venture capital investment by seeking to develop alternative funding sources for San Diego’s early-stage technology companies. A key part of the non-profit group’s initiative is to pursue additional federal support—and now that effort is facing its first major test as Congress takes up a bill that would provide funding through the Small Business Administration for equity investments in certain types of technology startups.

A House bill dubbed “The Small Business Early Stage Investment Act of 2009” would basically make the federal government a limited partner in qualified investment firms that make venture capital investments in early-stage companies in targeted industries. Roth tells me the bill, which was introduced by Democratic Rep. Glenn Nye of Virginia, fits his initiative “perfectly.”

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Business innovation has had a lot of buzz created in the last few years. The difficulty with innovation is that we all have an intuitive understanding of the topic and we aspire to be innovative, but struggle to make it real and tangible. This challenge is further complicated when we see "others," - companies, communities and countries – innovate and yet we are not able to repeat those successes. This is especially true for emerging countries as they try to keep pace with innovation that is coming from the developed world.

To address the innovation challenge, Indonesia, the world's fourth largest country by population, has come up with a bold and innovative (what else!) approach. In 2008 the Ministry of Research and Technology established a Business Innovation Center (BIC) with the vision to "become the leading Business-Innovation intermediary, in order to promote Indonesia's economic and business competitiveness."

 

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MASON CITY — National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and Accelper Consulting awarded the North Iowa Area Community College John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) its highest national honor.

The Innovation Award recognition was presented Monday at the NACCE conference in Chicago.

“NIACC’s efforts through the JPEC have made a significant impact on our region, and we are proud that those efforts are being recognized with this award,” said NIACC President Dr. Deb Derr.

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The city's Economic Development Corp. and the New York City Investment Fund have teamed up on an initiative to fund biomedical research that has advanced beyond academic institutions, but is not yet ready to attract private funding.

The $5 million Translational Research Fund is designed to give researchers with ideas that could result in companies being formed in the city the added kick they need to propel their work out of what's come to be known in the industry as the “valley of death.”

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