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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.

Wisconsin long has lagged other states in venture capital funding, but a new "fund of funds" could help change that. It's a great idea.

Think of a lush summer's garden - a difficult thought to conjure in early February, but bear with us.

To grow the garden, you will need to transplant vegetables from someone else's garden, tend the plants you already have or plant a lot of seeds and hope they germinate.

Economic development is something like that. For the Milwaukee 7 region to grow, business and government leaders must get better at the care and feeding of existing companies, attract new ones and grow our own.

So, we were encouraged by the recent news that a group of business and government leaders are planning to raise $100 million for a Wisconsin-based venture capital fund.

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pluGGd.inWe all probably know a lot about HR management and the value of good team in a startup. To further help on the same issue we surveyed some startup employees and have compiled a list of most popular and significant mistakes committed by some well known Indian startups and their founders. For privacy issues we have not used any names.

1. Forgetting to appreciate: You have read enough about employee motivation but you must learn to appreciate daily procedural work as well. Things that look trivial actually make a lot of difference to your company in the long run. Like a good resume found by your HR department on Naukri or forwarded by your current employee. Appreciate that, even if it was their daily work. This requires consistency and may not be easy but certainly keeps the employee excited all the time. – HR executive, BPO

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Camille Sobrian, left, is chief operating officer and Moya Gollaher is executive vice president of CONNECT, which has opened an office in Washington, D.C., to help local high-tech and life sciences entrepreneurs and their companies. Most high-tech entrepreneurs and innovators don’t have time to put on a tie and sit through a three-hour meeting about policy issues in Washington, D.C. They are too busy creating the next generation of digital mobile applications and lifesaving health care products, and creating jobs for the new innovation economy. There has not been a strong voice or presence in the nation’s capital to represent these innovators, who neither have the money nor bandwidth to lobby or educate representatives on their needs and interests — until now.

CONNECT, a San Diego-based nonprofit tech organization, has opened an office in Washington, D.C., to help facilitate, from a federal level, the needs of local high tech and life science entrepreneurs and their companies.

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A Roadmap for Advancing the Green Economy in Rhode IslandThe green economy is a new opportunity for Rhode Island that can increase the number and diversity of jobs and raise wages. Education and training must be aligned to support job opportunities at all levels. Advancing the green economy will bring collateral benefits like waste and energy use reduction and energy price stabilization. Ulti- mately, advancing the green economy will require efforts with all kinds of companies: nurturing new, entrepreneurial efforts; helping existing companies grow and convert to green practices; and attracting existing or new ventures from outside the state.

As a result of the work done through the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation’s June 2009 Green Economy Roundtable and the subsequent Roadmap development processes, RIEDC has identified acceleration initiatives for advancing the green economy:

  • Make green products and green the advanced manufacturing process
  • Build or retrofit high performing/energy efficient buildings and infrastructure
  • Integrate the elements of innovation: research, development and then business application in the marketplace, resulting in business growth and adoption
  • Build the hub of a local supply chain for onshore and offshore wind power for the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states

Following the roundtable, RIEDC assembled key leaders to develop the roadmap for the critical green economy initiatives that were identified in June. The content for the roadmap is based on the outcomes of seven small workshops — one for each initiative, an additional workshop for wind and two workshops on workforce development — held in late 2009 and early 2010.

Policy, originally defined as an initiative, has now been identified as a building block that will tie the acceleration initiatives together.

Green policy, workforce training and education, behavior change, capital, and business growth and adoption were determined to be the five building blocks that will drive all the acceleration initiatives. In order for the four accelera- tor initiatives to succeed, the building blocks must provide a strong foundation. Strong building blocks will yield: aligned policy to redirect resources; up-to-date, innovative workforce training and education programs; increased behavior change of citizens; more available capital; and accelerated business growth and adoption. Further, it would create a strong competitive advantage for green business attraction and retention in Rhode Island.

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Innovators Network Blog - Helping entrepreneurs identify, understand, and leverage the value in their businessABC News – Money: As an accurate indicator of innovation and business health, patents are among the best, and a recent report confirms the recent economic downturn’s effect on intellectual property protections. UN Patent Filings Dropped for 1st Time Since 1978 via the Associated Press provides more clarity to this relationship:

The number of international patent filings dropped last year for the first time since 1978 as companies hit by the global economic downturn sought fewer new protections on their intellectual property, the U.N. said Monday.

Most patents filed in 2009 were for computer technology, followed by pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Innovations in computer chip design and nanotechnology saw the greatest rise in patents.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, received about 155,900 international patent filings last year, a drop of 4.5 percent compared with the nearly 164,000 filings received a year earlier.
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While successful technology entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs founded their respective companies after dropping out of college, research universities have still succeeded in fostering their own innovative technologies. Currently, however, when a professor or student develops a particularly extraordinary idea or product, the process of spinning-off the intellectual property into its own company is usually a slow and expensive process. David B. Lerner, an entrepreneur, angel investor and director of Columbia University's Venture Lab/Spin-Off program, recently proposed that universities work to reverse this trend and better facilitate startup spin-offs.

Some schools, like the ones we recently profiled in our list of the best entrepreneurial college programs, are doing a great job of facilitating entrepreneurship on the educational level. But as Lerner points out in his blog post Why and How Universities Should Embrace Startup Culture, most schools could benefit from revamping their spin-off practices.

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The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced funding for several groundbreaking, large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects. These projects will play an important role in connecting academic researchers to Canadian organizations in an effort to propel new knowledge generation and technology applications for the benefit of Canadians right now. The grants, totalling $56 million over five years, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will support 11 research networks focused on areas of social and economic importance. The networks will create new market opportunities for various sectors, including manufacturing and forestry. Minister Clement made the announcement during a keynote address at the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters conference held today in Ottawa.

"Our government's investments in science and technology are creating jobs, stimulating the economy and improving Canadians' quality of life," noted Minister Clement. "We are investing more in innovation than ever before in Canada's history. By supporting the research being done by these networks, we are building the economy of tomorrow and helping our universities blaze the way to greater long-term prosperity and innovation that will benefit Canadians for years to come."

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EurActiv LogoThe European Commission is threatening action against Facebook for recent changes to its privacy settings, which make personal information available by default, going against the EU's drive for more privacy protection on the Internet, especially for minors.

The commissioner in charge of data protection, Viviane Reding, will announce her "concern" about Facebook's recent moves in a speech today (9 February), during European Safer Internet Day celebrations in Strasbourg.

Despite growing pressure to improve data protection and the safety of social network users, Facebook surprisingly changed its privacy policy at the end of January, making it easier to access to personal information hosted on its platform.

Since January, Facebook profiles have been accessible by default. Users with greater privacy awareness will have to make their profiles private so that they can only be viewed by friends, if they want to maintain control over their personal information.

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Anthony Cefali Late last week, scientists at CERN announced they would be turning the Large Hadron Collider back on. The world’s largest physics experiment broke down shortly after its first test runs in 2008 and has only been tested once since then. Unfortunately, the LHC will operate at half power for the next two years before being turned off yet again for another year’s worth of repairs.

So science lurches forward, smashing together protons in search of elusive particles needed to fill holes in equations and answer some pretty heavy-handed questions. Some expect to find the Higgs boson particle from LHC experimentation, others expect to find that we’ve been wrong about everything for a long time, this is the beauty of science. The process isn’t glamorous, it has taken 15 years and over $9 billion to build the LHC. Nor is it unanimous, but this is how we do science now. The figurative rock-star scientists of our generation are looking inward for their answers, combing through information at the microscopic level for a better understanding of our world.

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Bain Capital Ventures, the venture capital arm of private equity firm Bain Capital, has raised $525 million for a new venture fund, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

It is the fourth venture fund that Boston-based Bain has raised, and is slightly higher than the previous fund of $500 million.

Bain Capital Ventures has about $1.5 billion in assets under management and has made investments in companies including DoubleClick and

It has started investing the most recent fund. One of its investments included buying $12 million preferred stock of public company filing business Edgar Online (EDGR.O).

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SBIR GatewayDear SBIR Insider,

Here's a quick update and some answers to a few of your questions. You've been very generous with your comments, and they're deeply appreciated. I want to concentrate on some questions that were critical of the SBIR Insider's reporting.

Although the comments critical of our reporting are minimal by comparison (I can't tell you how fortunate I feel), several bring up important questions/views that you should be aware of.


As reported previously, and now signed by the President, 10 of the 11 SBIR agency programs have been extended through April 30, 2010. The exception is the DoD which is good through September 30, 2010. Everything is running "as is" with no major changes.

There is no progress to report concerning the House & Senate compromising to pass a full SBIR/STTR reauthorization bill.

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56 Reasons Why Innovation Initiatives FailInnovation is in these days. The word is on the lips of just about every CEO, CFO, CIO, and anyone else with a three-letter acronym after their name. As a result, many companies are launching all kinds of "innovation initiatives" - hoping to stir the soup. This is understandable. But it is also, far too often, very disappointing...

Innovation initiatives sound good, but usually don't live up to the expectations. The reasons are many.

What follows are fifty-six of the most common ones - organizational obstacles we've observed in the past twenty-two years that get in the way of a company really raising the bar for innovation.

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