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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.

Videos like this one remind me that I live in a very tiny corner of the universe.

Only 8% of the people interviewed (out of a sample of over 50) correctly defined a browser. It also shows how effective Google has been in their approach to branding, especially given that they just aired their first TV commercial a few weeks ago.

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev creates a video-blog entry at Gorki residence outside Moscow. The Kremlin wants to engineer its own Silicon Valley. In a plan revealed in February, the Russian high-tech haven will come complete with new-wave architecture and all the comforts of a resort, a place for Russian geniuses to get together and invent the biggest thing since, well, the Internet. That's the hope, anyway. President Dmitri Medvedev, who has cultivated the image of a tech-savvy liberal, is staking much of his economic vision on the plan's success. And Russia has a resource that other nations envy: a fervid hacker culture with a reputation for excellence or, at least, for daring.

Since the Soviet collapse, no major platforms have emerged in Russia for its computer experts to innovate. As a result many of them have emigrated, while many others have turned to hacking, a field where Russians seem to excel. In January, police arrested a 40-year-old computer whiz for hacking into a Moscow advertising mainframe and making a giant billboard display a clip of hardcore pornography over one of the city's main streets. To avoid detection, the man had routed his attack through a proxy in the region of Chechnya, a sophisticated trick. But for all his skills, the man was found to be unemployed. He told police he had done it "just to give people a laugh." The Russian government's idea now seems to be giving minds like his something more productive to do.

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New Web site will close gap between energy innovations and increasing consumer demand

Kauffman Foundation Launches Online Energy Innovation Network to Help Scale New Energy Economy(WASHINGTON) March 1, 2010 – With more than $80 billion already invested in U.S. clean energy development and another $150 billion being proposed, this emerging industry has been tagged as essential to jump-start the economy and create new jobs. Yet significant barriers plague this highly regulated, complex sector that prevent it from making the kind of progress that such high expectations demand.

Knowing that entrepreneurs can accelerate the clean energy revolution if given access to the right networks, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today launched the Energy Innovation Network ( at the Energy Innovation Summit co-hosted by the Kauffman Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy. The Energy Innovation Network will provide links to technologies, entrepreneurs, finance, buyers and policymakers to make the pathway for energy entrepreneurs more transparent.

"Few industries have had to overcome the high capital requirements, regulatory hurdles and variety of stakeholders that clean energy is facing," said Lesa Mitchell, vice president of Advancing Innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. "While there may be an energy innovation imperative, there is no energy innovation mechanism. The Energy Innovation Network will help close the gap between demand and delivery."

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New York From FlickrThere's been a lot written lately about the NYC startup scene. It's exploding. It's hot. Etc. And all that is true.

But as a first-time founder trying to raise capital and achieve product-market fit, the question for me is not "Is NYC hot?" or even "Is NYC becoming a better startup hub?" so much as it is "Is NYC the best place to locate my startup?" And on that question, I'm not sure the answer is yes.

See, here's the thing: As far as I can tell, startups face two main environmental challenges:

1) Raising Capital
2) Finding Talent

Here's how NYC scores on this...

Raising Capital

Good: Folks like Chris Dixon, Betaworks and Fred Wilson are here. Smart, visionary investors. 
Bad: Folks like Chris Dixon, Betaworks, and Fred Wilson are a TINY fraction of the market. 

In reality, the capital markets in NYC are flooded with Wall Streeters turned venture capitalists. These are people who know how to analyze and pick in assets, not people who know how to build companies. These are people who do dumb shit like ask about pricing for a premium version of a genuinely novel product (in a category with no existing market) that hasn't even launched the first meeting. #VCFAIL (Ok, there's some exceptions, but not tons...)

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When Dan Kincaid became one of Cincinnati’s newest angels in September, he promised to invest at least $250,000 in local startups within three years. Five months later, he’s more worried about exceeding that total than simply meeting it.

“There are a lot of interesting things going on in Cincinnati right now,” said Kincaid, a former health-insurance executive who sold his pharmacy management company in 2005, leaving him with time and money to invest.

Kincaid was one of five new investors to join Queen City Angels in 2009. The nine-year-old group of accredited investors now has 31 members, with growing expertise in the field of life sciences.

“With the bench strength we have now, we have a lot more confidence in our ability to adequately assess life-science deals and bring the proper expertise to the company if we make an investment,” said Tony Shipley, QCA chairman.

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Researchers at X-Ray Optical Systems Inc. in East Greenbush have developed an analyzer that can instantly measure the amount of lead and other toxic metals in body fluids -- a big improvement over current blood tests that can be expensive and time consuming.

But even with a demonstration product in his hands, CEO David Gibson says his company doesn't "have the cash to take it from that to the marketplace." Instead, "we're sitting there in the valley of death," Gibson said, referring to the time span between product development and commercialization -- where sometimes even the most promising ideas go to die.

Legislation before Congress seeks to bridge that gap for a select group of entrepreneurs, such as Gibson, who have recently used federal dollars to develop new technologies. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, would create a new grant program for companies whose federal research and development dollars are drying up -- just as they begin focusing on pushing new products to market.

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Need help with a small business challenge? Find it at a nearby collegeIn addition to offering academic programs to students, these colleges have recognized the importance of serving the needs of innovative, entrepreneurial and growing businesses in their area. Such companies are the economic backbones of the regions these colleges serve — and they are the creators of jobs their alumni will need upon graduation — at least, the graduates who don’t start their own companies immediately. Helping these companies succeed is important to these colleges’ success, as well.

Across the U.S. — indeed, around the world — universities are responding to a wave of students who want careers as entrepreneurs and small business owners. Over 110 university programs focused on such entrepreneurship, small business and family business education and training are now featured in the University Entrepreneurship Programs Hub. Each entry features an overview of the program, along with contact information.

American colleges and universities are also homes to nearly 1,000 Small Business Development Centers (almost 850 are featured on the SBDC Hub).

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altTHE print hanging behind the receptionist’s desk at Foundation Capital screams, “Our greatest thrill is to loan you money” — in chunky, capitalized red letters. That’s encouraging news for Michael Bauer, because he wants money and has put himself in a prime position to get it.

Mr. Bauer has set up shop on the second floor of Foundation Capital’s offices here to pursue his dream of creating an energy company from scratch. He pays no rent to operate out of the building, which is designed to evoke a Mediterranean villa. And he’s free to enjoy all the trappings of this venture capital firm, including its ample parking, woodsy surroundings and outdoor patio.

Mr. Bauer has won these cozy environs through a new role as an “entrepreneur in residence.” This coveted position, called an E.I.R. in Silicon Valley shorthand, is emblematic of the valley’s economy of ideas. Most E.I.R.’s receive a monthly stipend of up to $15,000 to sit and think for about six months. In return, the venture capital firm usually gets the first shot at financing the idea that emerges from this meditation.

“The E.I.R. takes out some of the risk because they are known quantities,” said Adam Grosser, a partner at Foundation Capital. “They have a track record of success and a proven ability to disrupt a market with their ideas.”

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David Walker, man in white coatThe dragons were sitting in an elegant den at the Royal Society in London, Britain’s national academy of sciences. Overlooked by portraits of great 18th-century scientists, the judges heard four powerful pitches for science-based businesses.

These included an image analysis system to assess the facial mobility of people who are suffering from paralysing diseases or have had surgery on the face; a “text mining” tool to extract chemical information from the world’s scientific literature; an educational venture, called Big Bang in a Box, to sell images of high-energy particle collisions at Cern’s new atom smasher; and a lightweight material stronger than steel, for use in body armour and the aerospace industry.

The Dragons’ Den competition – modelled on the popular venture capitalist television format – was the climax of a Business of Science programme put on by Imperial College Business School for the Royal Society’s University Research Fellows. These are some of Europe’s brightest scientists, typically in their 30s, who are funded for five years to work in a UK university.

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altBefore a doctor diagnoses a specific disease, his patient must undergo a series of laboratory exams and assessments. He has to know the history of his patient and how lifestyle affected his present health problem. As results come in, that would be an indication of the time when a physician gives specific drugs and therapies for maintenance. This will eventually contribute to the level of optimum health for that individual. If all else fails, the process will be repeated again.

Similar to what the above mentioned situation has stated, an entrepreneurs responsibility would be pretty much the same. Its just that, he should see his customers as his patients and what they must have to survive a present predicament or a need. He must follow certain steps before doing anything irrational that could contribute to the downfall of his business. He should have certain characteristics innate in his personality for if he lacks one of these, hes most probably doomed to fail.

Entrepreneurship is collectively defined as exhibiting ones vision, taking action, and pursuing that vision as a goal to be achieved in life as service to reality. In the meaningless definition, its getting your butt out of that couch and doing something rather than fulfilling your lifes destiny of being a couch potato. Stated below are some of the distinct attitudes an entrepreneur should positively have:

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Sustainable innovation, the endless effort to find a better way, cannot be achieved by robotically lining up best practices and imitating them. The real catalyzing agent for renewable innovation is the ground from which these best practices spring - the confluence of purpose, people, and processes better known as culture.

From where will the next wave of groundbreaking innovation come?

Not from organizations mechanically mimicking each other's best practices, but from organizations with the authentic commitment to take their stand on ground that has been cultivated for breakthrough.

If you check the contents of the most popular books on innovation, the same topics show up again and again: strategy, systems, process, leadership, customer focus, risk, speed to market, prototyping, metrics, mass collaboration, market intelligence, technology, and creative thinking.

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TEMPE, Arizona—As a species of seeming feeble, naked apes, we humans are unlikely candidates for power in a natural world where dominant adaptations can boil down to speed, agility, jaws and claws. Why we rose to rule, while our hominin relatives died out, has long been a curiosity for scientists.

The study of our human nature encompasses a variety of fields ranging from anthropology, primatology, cognitive science and psychology to paleontology, archaeology, evolutionary biology and genetics.

Representatives of each of these disciplines gathered February 19-22 at a workshop, "Origins of Human Uniqueness and Behavioral Modernity," staged by Arizona State University's Origins Project to discuss recent advances in their respective fields.

Led by ASU professors anthropologist Kim Hill and paleoanthropologist Curtis Marean, co-organizers of the event, the panel of scientists agreed to adopt a working definition that human uniqueness is the "underlying capacity to produce complexity," and to think of behavioral modernity as "the expression" of those capacities.

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