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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.

I know, I know. You’ve already consumed enough “Top Whatever ” lists of 2010 to provide a lifetime bout of indigestion. Stay with me. What I’ve compiled here isn’t a list of milestones, mega-trends or movers and shakers from the past year. It is, however, a short and sweet mash-up of innovative stories that managed to cut through the clutter and capture my imagination. Food for thought as we head into 2011? Only one way to find out…

Pink Snails Invade Miami Beach

How do you raise awareness about the importance of recycling? If you’re the REgeneration Art Project, you build giant snails made from recycled plastic, paint them pink and display them in public places like Miami Beach. Here’s what Gloria Porcella, co-owner of Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, which backed the project had to say about the significance of the snails in a recent Miami Herald article:

“We run and we work too much, and the snail is one of the slowest animals on earth. The concept is the snail wants us to think about ourselves and they want to teach us something. We run, run, run but what are we reaching? What are our goals? We are destroying our planet.”





 

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A patient who receives a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer has only a 5 percent chance of surviving for five years, a harrowing prognosis that scientists have long struggled to understand. Part of the problem, new research suggests, is that the disease is not typically diagnosed until 15 years after the first cancer-causing mutations appear, by which point the cancer has spread and become highly aggressive. The findings indicate that there may be plenty of time for doctors to intervene before pancreatic cancer becomes lethal—an exciting prospect given recent advances in diagnosing the disease early, when it can be successfully removed with surgery and chemotherapy.

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When people ask me what the city and state government can do to help the technology driven startup community in NYC, I tell them two things.

First, there is not one tech ecosystem. There is the software, internet, digital media sector which is thriving and on a tremendous growth spurt. And then there are the biotech, biengineering, materials science, and energy sectors. These sectors are languishing in NYC with very little commercial activity given how much research and science goes on in the city.

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Is the green home here?

A host of manufacturers are touting energy management systems this week at the Consumer Electronics Show. Verizon, for instance, said it would begin to test its energy monitoring system with consumers in New Jersey in the first part of 2011. Motorola, meanwhile, is touting the technology it obtained late last year from 4Home for controlling energy consumption in homes.

Panasonic has a display with everything from home fuel cells (which have been on sale in Japan for over a year) to dual-sided solar panels and a centralized control panel. Panasonic showed us these things back in October at Ceatec. See video below: it's the same display they are showing in Vegas.

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As a writer, I know how to organize information and make it look good. But like many would-be entrepreneurs, I don't know much about balance sheets, cash flow, marketing budgets, ad sales, or other essentials for running a company.

So I grabbed the chance when it came along to attend a free boot camp for entrepreneurs from the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship. I'd been thinking about starting a travel site for parents, and the time was ripe. The program, called Fastrac, has been around for 17 years but has taken on new popularity in the recession. It's offered around the U.S., often in conjunction with city governments and nonprofits. I attended the New York City program, which is co-sponsored by a city business-assistance service and is coming up on its 1,000th graduate.

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Crowdfunding your startup through sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGO has become an interesting, and in many cases, quite viable way of financing your project. A number of individuals and companies have been able to raise pretty substantial amounts of money through these services, going well beyond what they initially set as their funding targets.

Most notably of late, was the success of Lunatik/TikTok iPod Nano wristwatch, which set the record for the most money raised via Kickstarter to-date: almost $950,000 from over 13,000 backers. Not too shabby considering Scott Wilson and his MINIMAL design studio set out to raise a mere $15,000 in order to get licensing and manufacturing for the project under way.

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It’s the New Year! Time to make all those resolutions about losing weight and walking the dog… but how about taking some quick steps early in January that might save your business money throughout the entire year?

Here are five steps my management team is taking to save us money in 2011:

1. Set the tone.

Your team will take their cues from you, so meet early with them and remind them of the importance of being frugal this year. Getting everyone focused on intelligent thriftiness at the beginning of the year can pay dividends as the year progresses. Remind the team of simple actions they can take to save money, like asking for discounts when purchasing goods and services for the business.

 

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One of the least understood aspects of entrepreneurship is why small businesses fail, and there’s a simple reason for the confusion: Most of the evidence comes from the entrepreneurs themselves.

I have had a close-up view of numerous business failures —
including a few start-ups of my own. And from my observation, the reasons for failure cited by the owners are frequently off point, which kind of makes sense when you think about it. If the owners really knew what they were doing wrong, they might have been able to fix the problem. Often, it’s simply a matter of denial or of not knowing what you don’t know.

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The PIPELINE Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program announced today the national panel of experts who will help select PIPELINE’s "Innovator of the Year" on January 27 in Overland Park. The judges will have full participation in the day and evening events, and will share their insights with the crowd during a PIPELINE "Entrepreneurial and Innovation Trends" panel at 4:00 p.m., at the close of the Competition and before the evening event. All ticket holders for the evening function can attend this session.

"Our country is looking toward innovation and entrepreneurship to strengthen our economy at a pivotal time. PIPELINE has captured national attention as a strong ally in this work, so I am excited to join as a judge to meet the Innovators and learn more about how this aggressive program works."

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When it comes to the price of gasoline, Christopher Steiner may be the ultimate contrarian. While other Americans bemoan prices of $3 a gallon or more, he says $3 a gallon is far too cheap.

Mr. Steiner believes that the United States will not beat its oft-cited "addiction to oil" until our most visible use of oil becomes a lot more expensive.

He is so convinced that in 2008 he wrote a book to convince others, provocatively titled, "$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better." The book, whose paperback version came out in July 2010, was inspired by the changes that he had already observed.

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In the news, the main number you hear about the recession is the unemployment rate, which is hovering just below 10% -- as compared to 5% just a couple years ago. If you were only hearing that, the recession can seem less dramatic (if still quite harsh) than it is: All this hubbub about a mere 5% of the population?

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