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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.

HarvardWhere's Harvard? Why are all the British Universities out of the top five? The Times Higher Education has published its list of the top 100 universities in the world - just days after a competing list was published. See how they compare...

Harvard is back at number one - and there is not a British university in the top five. This week's list of the world's top 100 universities makes very different reading from the list published by careers advice company QS, in which Cambridge came top and Harvard second.

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Popular Mechanics magazine today unveiled its sixth annual Breakthrough Awards winners, honoring 10 products that its editors identified as solving existing problems in all new ways.

The products range from two different approaches to electric cars to the smallest ever camera with interchangeable lenses to a thermostat that can provide a wealth of data even as it responds automatically to changing conditions. The magazine will name the individuals it chose for the Breakthrough Leadership award and Breakthrough Innovators awards later this week.

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china high speed trainThomas Friedman provides a helpful snapshot of what China's doing with its taxpayers' money...versus what we're doing with ours.

Here's what China's doing:

China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports; another is building a web of high-speed trains connecting major cities; a third is in bioscience, where the Beijing Genomics Institute this year ordered 128 DNA sequencers — from America — giving China the largest number in the world in one institute to launch its own stem cell/genetic engineering industry; and, finally, Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities. In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.

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By Fred Patterson

It’s the Urban Myth that won’t stay debunked.  The Government will give you “free” money to start your business.  It’s easy to get!  All you have to do is ask them for it!  Don’t know where to apply?  Buy my book and find out!  Only $69.95!

Uh-huh. Sure. That “Free Lunch” you’re looking for?  Guess what?  It’ll cost you $69.95 (plus shipping and handling)!  There is no free lunch, folks.  NO ONE is going to give you money without expecting something in return.  It’s called the “WIIFM” factor.  What’s In It For Me?  There’s always a WIIFM.   And all WIIFMs come with strings attached.

But there are different kinds of strings.   And, guess what?  If you can satisfy the WIIFM and are willing to manage the expectations of the string holders, money is available.  It’s just never free, and never without those strings.  

For perspective, let’s classify the different ways a business can be financed, after the owner has exhausted all personal funds, and bootstrapping (using generated revenues to finance all costs) is premature or insufficient: 

Type of FinancingFrom WhomWIIFMExpectations
AmateurThe 3Fs:  Family, Friends and FoolsTo support you personallyDon’t squander the money and embarrass them
GrantGovernment Agency or FoundationSupport their Mission by helping solve a problemPerform and report  your best efforts
DebtBanks (may be SBA guaranteed)The Interest you pay themKeep current on debt servicing or forfeit your collateral
EquityAngels or Venture Capital InvestorsBuild wealth via a significant return on their investment (ROI)Take their advice whenever offered and provide that ROI


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33% Renewable Energy is Goal for CaliforniaBy unanimous decision, the California Air Resources Board approved a new regulation to have 33 percent of California’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols said, “The Renewable Electricity Standard means cleaner energy for California’s households and businesses. This standard is going to further diversify and secure our energy supply while also growing California’s leading green technology market, which will lead to cost savings for consumers.” (Source: UPI)

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be about 12 to 13 million tons of CO2 per year by the year 2020. Smaller goals are set for points along the way leading to 33 percent. For 2012-2014 the goal is 20 percent, 2015-2017 is 24 percent, 2018-2019 is 28 percent.

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Chronique, samedi 25 septembre 2010, p. 8

Saint-Roch, un quartier de la ville de Québec, jadis moribond, reprend vie au point de devenir un des endroits les plus branchés de la province.

L'industrie éolienne peut maintenant compter sur un allié : le Cégep de Matane, qui répond à ses besoins avec son programme de technologie de l'électronique industrielle.

Montréal compte maintenant 6 000 jeunes employés dans l'industrie du jeu vidéo, un secteur quasi inexistant il y a 15 ans.

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A wall calendar full of informationThe pedagogical value and the challenges of integrating student blogging into your teaching is a recurring topic on ProfHacker. Some of our earliest posts dealt with student blogging, and we have revisited the issue frequently. Most recently, Jeff and Julie wrote about that age-old question—How are you going to grade this?—when it comes to evaluating classroom blogs. Jeff and Julie offer a number of fantastic pointers, and they also refer to a blogging rubric that I use in my own teaching. I've never directly described how I grade student blog posts on ProfHacker, but I think it's about time to share what has been a valuable tool, and to encourage professors to adopt and modify it to fit their own needs.

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Jonathan OrtmansLike many developing countries, Bolivia has a nascent, but promising entrepreneurial environment. The country has a good number of institutions that offer financial and technical services that network the country’s millions of micro-entrepreneurs. However, as readers of this blog are well aware, data has confirmed time and again that it is young firms that grow that provide the most benefits to society in terms of job and wealth creation and innovation. Thus, the challenge ahead for Bolivia is to enable more growth entrepreneurs.

The current interest in entrepreneurship, even if focused on micro-entrepreneurs, is good news for at least two reasons. First, international organizations like the World Bank and the Andean Development Corporation have supported programs undertaken by the institutions helping micro-entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship, even at that scale, has proven to be a good way to lift people further from the poverty line. The United Nations estimates that 90% of the three million Bolivian rural inhabitants are living in conditions of poverty and marginalization, and entrepreneurship is a useful tool to palliate this human crisis. Second, as Miguel Hoyos from Red Bolivia Emprendedora (RBE - Bolivian Entrepreneurship Network) which hosts Global Entrepreneurship Week in Bolivia pointed out to me, these institutions could adjust their methodologies as the country’s entrepreneurial environment evolves to support growth entrepreneurs.

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Years ago, Horage Burgess prayed and received divine inspiration. He says that God told him "If you build be a treehouse, I'll see that you never run out of material."

And so Horace started building... and building... and 15 years later, he's still going.

The tree house is now 97 feet tall, supported by a living 80-foor tall white oak, with six other oaks for support. It currently has ten floors, and a belltower.

My girlfriend and I went there this weekend, and I've posted photos to Flickr.

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Without these guys, you wouldn’t have broadcast radio or TV. It’s hard to watch beyond the 1:30 mark. Thanks Ian for sending along…

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Juan Andrés Fontaine, Chile's Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, discusses his government's recent practices and programs that strive to develop Chile's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Topics touched upon include government incentive programs to attract international investment, growth and development to Chile's university research and development, and a desire to build the nation into the innovation hub of South America.

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GOLD_ITRIThe world is still dealing with the effects of a severe economic crisis. But judging from the results of this year's Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards, there's no crisis in tech innovation.

The Journal's independent panel of judges decided to give out awards to 49 entries this year, equal to the previous record in 2006. More than a quarter of them are from outside the U.S.

"An economic downturn simply couldn't constrain the awesome innovation energy that exists around the world," says Scott D. Anthony, managing director of Innosight Ventures and one of the judges of the awards. "It gives one a lot of hope for the future."

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