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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.

Want to generate innovation? Build a hub to make it happen. The U.S. Department of Energy is embarking on an ambitious plan to speed up energy innovation with a $122 million cash injection for an Energy Innovation Hub in California. Dubbed the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, the research center will do exactly as its name suggests--develop a solar energy fuel conversion system through artificial photosynthesis and bring it to commercialization.

The DOE has selected an all-star team of researchers to get the hub going. Participants include researchers from Cal Tech, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the University of California, Irvine. The project will probably take a long time to get going--solar fuels have lagged in research and development for years, and bringing them into widespread use will take a concerted effort.

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Kevin Nakao: The word intrapreneur was first coined by Pacific Northwesterner Gifford Pinchot III, grandson of the first Chief of the United States Forest Service, who popularized the term in his best-selling book “Why You Don't Have to Leave the Corporation to Become an Entrepreneur." According to Pinchot, Intrapreneurs are those people within a corporation who turn an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.

Seattle is home to a number of startups and corporations alike, the most successful of which leverage intrapreneurism to foster innovation and bring products to market efficiently. I have been lucky in that intrapreneurship has played a fulfilling role in my professional life at both the startups and mid and large-sized corporations that I have worked for.

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Brother Industries says someday you might shake your appliances to get them to work.

Brother Industries has developed small vibration-powered generators that can replace AA and AAA batteries.

When the generator, which the company refers to as its "Vibration-Powered Generating Battery," is set inside a remote control, for example, it is possible to use the remote by shaking it to generate power.

"The new generator will semi-permanently eliminate the need to replace batteries and contribute to reducing the amount of waste," the company said in a prepared statement.

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Supersonic passenger travel was grounded in 2003 when British Airways and Air France cancelled their transatlantic Concorde service because of falling revenues and rising maintenance costs. The Aerion Supersonic Business Jet promises to help travelers break the sound barrier again.

Named after a fleet-of-foot horse in Greek mythology, the Aerion Supersonic Business Jet will be able to carry a dozen passengers at speeds of up to Mach 1.5 for more than 4,000 miles. It is currently undergoing proof-of-concept aerodynamic testing of critical components in NASA wind tunnels and under the belly of a NASA F-15 supersonic jet.

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You get the impression that Joel Kotkin exists mainly to torment the whole urban design intelligentsia. He dismisses as "wishful thinking" its belief that the current economic crisis will set off big changes in the American lifestyle, specifically the retrofitting of communities to make them dramatically more efficient, compact, walkable and less auto-dependent in the years ahead.

In his new book, "The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050," Kotkin agrees with most everyone that the U.S. will experience major population growth in the coming decades. But he expects growth to occur almost entirely on the perimeter of sprawling, low-cost metro areas like Houston and Phoenix, and not so much in the superstar urban enclaves celebrated by the planning elite. Cars, not mass transit, will continue to be the conveyance of choice for nearly everyone, he says, despite concerns about energy independence and the environment.

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Minneapolis, MN, USA, July 22, 2010 (PRESSbooth.ORG) -- Innovation Europe is a private group of chief innovators from Europe's largest corporations. This is not just another association: the group was formed by Chief Innovators for Chief Innovators and connects those who are charged with developing breakthroughs for their customers, and helps members build the corporate bottom line through revenue from new sources.

Innovation Europe is currently being built by Generate Companies and is affiliated with their emerging network of U.S. chief innovators groups. The first group members include Rising Tide in Zurich, Switzerland who is a founding member and has provided seed capital for this new initiative. The group is currently offering invitations to 14 additional members from a variety of industries and to companies not in competition with each other.

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Nearly a dozen organizations from around the country will share in the first round of Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grants from the federal government totaling $50 million. Combined with the required private matching funds, the total in grants is $74 million.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced the inaugural SIF grants this morning. “This portfolio is a collection of extraordinary organizations with an unparalleled body of knowledge and expertise on growing what works,” Patrick Corvington, the corporation's CEO, said in a prepared statement. “They are all driven by the search for bold solutions and recognize that we must use evidence to target limited resources where they will have the greatest impact.”

CNCS announced this past April that it has received more than 200 letters of intent and ultimately requests from 69 organizations totaling $125 million. The 11 organizations were selected through “a rigorous review process involving 60 external experts” and represent “a diverse set of nonprofit organizations and private and community foundations and share a track record of success at identifying and growing high-performing nonprofit organizations.”

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The Internet will run out of Internet addresses in about 1 year's time, we were told today by John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). The same thing was also stated recently by Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist.

The main reason for the concern? There's an explosion of data about to happen to the Web - thanks largely to sensor data, smart grids, RFID and other Internet of Things data. Other reasons include the increase in mobile devices connecting to the Internet and the annual growth in user-generated content on the Web.

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Imagine Walt Disney at the age of nineteen. His uncle asks him what he plans to do with his life, and he pulls out a drawing of a mouse and says, "I think this has a lot of potential."

Or Springsteen. In a concert he once told the story of how he and his dad used to go at it — how his father hated his guitar. Late one night, Springsteen came home to find his father waiting up for him in the kitchen. His father asked him what he thought he was doing with himself. "And the worst part about it," Springsteen says, "was I never knew how to explain it to him." How does he tell his father, "I'm going to be Bruce Springsteen?"

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Investing in China is nothing new for U.S. venture capital firms, but recently these have firms begun raising local-currency funds to make it easier to invest in homegrown start-ups.

One of the latest to raise such a fund is Menlo Park, Calif.-based DCM, which VentureWire reported today that it raised CNY200 million ($29.5 million) for a new Chinese currency fund.

Investors like DCM are turning to Chinese yuan funds to invest in industries that might otherwise be off limits, like media and financial services companies, and to cut through some of the red tape that investing via foreign-currency denominated funds in China entails.

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Mergers of small biotechs, such as the recent union of Evotec AG and DeveloGen AG, could grow more common as public companies look for scale and as aging venture-backed players look for the exit, some observers say.

Publicly held Evotec, which agreed last week to buy venture-backed DeveloGen for EUR14 million ($18 million) in stock plus performance payments, bulks up with metabolic-disease technology and other assets, while DeveloGen backers, such as TVM Capital and Nomura Phase4 Ventures, are on track to profit from a bet they placed last decade.

“I do expect that there will be more of this, especially in times when it is difficult to take companies public,” said d Helmut Schühsler, DeveloGen’s chairman and managing partner of TVM Capital. “We looked around and said, ‘We don’t want to be in the company for another 10 years.’”

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