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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.

Usually if we want to be more creative, we look at the new things we can do to help us. But what is equally, if not MORE important, is to be aware of your current ways of thinking and acting that actually sabotage your creativity.

Here are 21 of the most common ways you may be slowly killing your creativity.

1. You don’t actually believe you’re very creative. Answer this honestly: How creative do you REALLY think you are? If your answer is less than an emphatic declaration of your endless ability to be creative, then these beliefs aren’t going to support your creativity as well as they could. The first step is to notice these kind of thoughts. Then turn each of them around to their positive opposite. Retrain yourself to believe only the thoughts that will serve your creativity best.

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http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/synthia.jpgEcoFriend has published its list of the 10 most transformative biofuel technologies. In no particular order, the blog’s authors cited:

1. Nanofarming: a partnership between Ames National Laboratory, Iowa State University, and Catilin to use microscopic materials to havest fatty acids from microalgae without destroying the cells.

2. Transformed tobacco leaves. A project at Thomas Jefferson University to increase oil content in tobacco leaves, making them prospectively viable for biofuels.

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National Science Foundation - U.S companies grossed nearly $11 trillion in worldwide sales and spent $330 billion on R&D in 2008. This is according to new figures from the National Science Foundation's first ever Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) developed jointly with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Specifically, it will allow policymakers and industry officials to gain information about worldwide R&D expenses, R&D employee headcount by occupation category, R&D expenses by detailed business segments, and share of R&D devoted to new business areas and new science or technology activities. None of these capabilities existed with the previous survey, which solely focused on domestic R&D and asked few questions about the makeup of industry employees or a company's ability to innovate technologically in the competitive global marketplace.

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scowell.pngToday quite a variety of entrepreneurs presented their business ideas at my Online Strategy Roundtables. Several times I brought up how precious our time is and we need to treat it as such. So many people become enamored with technology and the building of the product before they ever think to validate that this is a business service or product that a customer wants to pay for.

I've seen too many entrepreneurs wasting precious years of their lives, and I sincerely try to discourage anyone from wasting his or her time on an idea that does not have legs based on concrete customer feedback. One of the entrepreneurs said he thinks of me as the Simon Cowell for entrepreneurs after listening to some recordings of previous roundtables. I think my advice is only valuable if I'm being honest and direct. Plus, I don't want to waste my precious time either!

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It's commonly thought that even though globalization was shifting manufacturing jobs from America to lower-cost, more efficient, off-shore competitors, the U.S. retained a vast lead in high-end innovation. But are the powerful forces of globalization now leading to the off-shoring of America's innovation and R&D? New statistics from the National Science Foundation (via Mike Mandel) certainly point in that direction.

Way back in 1990, I wrote a book titled The Breakthrough Illusion with Martin Kenney that argued that the U.S. had developed a powerful capacity for venture capital-backed innovation, but that the actual manufacturing and production of those innovative new products - and the jobs that flow from that - was increasingly being shifted off-shore.

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Does your startup need a lawyer? I can't legally answer that question, of course. My background is in folklore and literature, so when it comes to lawyers I'm able to quote Shakepeare's Henry VI or reference Madame Bovary, and that's about it.

Laugh all you want at my background, but I would wager a lot of first-time entrepreneurs aren't certain of the answer to whether or not they need a lawyer either. So I called one - Katherine Moyer, an attorney who specializes in startups at Endeavor Law Group

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http://media.umassp.edu/mattcenter/mlsid2008/Xconomy_horizontal_small.jpgThe latest organization to spring fully formed from the brow of San Diego’s Life Sciences community was not Athena, but the San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange, which Denise profiled in March when the SDEE was preparing to hold its first meeting.

I’d guess close to 140 people turned out earlier this week for the group’s second meeting, which was organized around a case study presentation and discussion among local biotech entrepreneurs who were successful in winning Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health. These are small grants. David Larocca, the founder, CEO, and principle scientist of Mandala Biosciences, says a Phase I SBIR “proof of principle” grant is usually limited to $150,000, while a Phase II “commercialization” grant is typically limited to $1.2 million.


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expected VC returns for June 2010 are negative 5.2%On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would do many things, including raising the taxes that venture capitalists pay on capital gains. In so doing, Congress is taking a page from Willie Sutton -- who famously said he robbed banks because that's where the money was -- and turning that page on its side.

Ten years ago venture capital, or VC, was where the money was. But not anymore -- the costs of this tax change will exceed its benefits.

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I have attended many Clean Tech conferences in the southwest over the last six months. Frankly, I wish I saw more women in the room. So this post on EcoAid’s website really resonated with me, so I am sharing it with you. It’s a juicy topic. Please join in on the conversation by leaving your comments below. And if you are a woman working in clean tech now, what do you know now that you didn’t know before that could help other women wanting to enter the clean energy sector? — Carolyn

Women across the nation are preparing to play an integral role in the green economy, and the United States will need their help if we’re going to pull ourselves out of the recession and compete in the new economy on a global scale. CAP’s Jorge Madrid has the story in this repost.

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EurActiv LogoResearch ministers from across Europe have urged Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn to make finance a top priority in the EU's forthcoming research and innovation plan.

Ministers gathered in Brussels this week (26 May) to shape the strategy agreed that the combined efforts of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and encouragement for private venture capital funds is fundamental to boosting innovation.

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The eHere Today, Team Tomorrowconomy has affected all of us, and Detroit, which has been hit harder than most, has been working on the solution harder than most. They’re fighting back by supporting entrepreneurship.

This is entrepreneurship in a nutshell: You identify a need; you create a solution; and then you either make money – or you start over. Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”  I think I got a little more intelligent with each of my failures.  At least I stopped doing what didn’t work.   And so has Detroit.Venture capital research says that 60% of the blame for investment failures lies not in the business plan or the IP or the strategy or even the economy.  It lies in people’s failure to work together effectively.

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In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Anjali Athavaley recently described why it is so hard to design an umbrella that won't collapse or flip inside out. It's not that companies aren't trying - they are experimenting with space-age materials, testing umbrellas in high-tech wind tunnels and even consulting experts in aerodynamics to find a "perfect" umbrella that doesn't flip inside out on a particularly gusty day. Any incremental improvements, of course, come with costs.

Once you get to the $20 price point for an umbrella, there does appear to be some improvement in umbrella performance, and at the $100 price point, you can build a superior canopy-style umbrella. However, the problem (from the perspective of umbrella manufacturers) is that consumers are only willing to plunk down $6 for a cheap throwaway umbrella. Once you get to the $100 price point, the size of the umbrella becomes so enormous that it's completely impractical for anyone other than golfers.

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