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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.

Business News Daily recently took a look at some of the issues that small businesses will have to face during the new year. So, what are some of the issues you should anticipate while planning how to operate your business?

1. Tax changes – In 2011, businesses will confront the increasing complexity of the tax environment, including the implementation of a partial payroll tax holiday, the ability for businesses to expense 100 percent of their capital investments, and the retroactive extension of many temporary business tax incentives that expired at the end of last year.

2. Health care reform – A key aspect for 2011 is the provision providing business tax credits for small employers that purchase health insurance, which is effective for tax year 2010 and carries into next year.

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Small business owners desire certain things from a business bank — specifically, collaboration, openness and a good working relationship. However, a recent study from consumer satisfaction research firm J.D. Power and Associates reveals those needs are going unmet.

The U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study showed that small businesses’ overall satisfaction with their banks has dropped to 711 on a 1,000-point scale, down from 718 last year. The survey measured customer satisfaction with the overall banking experience by examining eight factors: product offerings, account manager, facility, account information, problem resolution, credit services, fees and account activities.

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As U.S. small businesses employ nearly 50 percent of the private workforce, many analysts are predicting that economic recovery will come primarily from this sector.

However, unemployment remains leveled at a stubborn 9.8 percent, and many economists such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have claimed it may take several years for unemployment to drop to pre-recession levels.

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I've been saying for a while now that I think mobile economics will trend toward web economics as the mobile web goes mainstream. In other words, the business models that work best on the web will ultimately work best in mobile.The corollary to that is that the business models that don't work well on the web will not work well in mobile in the long run.

And that includes tablets. There is some discussion in the tech blogs today about why iPad magazine sales have been disappointing. I don't understand why anyone would ever think that adding a presentation layer on top of web based content would make it something people would want to purchase when they are not willing to purchase the same content directly on the web.

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Every startup with any traction quickly reaches a point where they need to hire employees to grow the business. Unfortunately, this always happens when pressures are the highest, and business processes are ill-defined. At this point you need superstars and versatile future executives, yet your in-house hiring processes and focus are at their weakest.

The result is a host of hiring mistakes that sink many young companies, or take years to fix. The solution is to never forget that hiring is a top priority task for the CEO, which should never be delegated, and which often has to supersede the urgent crises of the day.

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I frequently ask myself why it is that patents continue to come under attack by those who want to pretend they are only a burden on society and provide no benefit. Believing patents provide no benefit to society demonstrates a failure to understand fundamental aspects of the patent system, disclosure and publication of applications, as well as the basic economic reality that to innovate requires funding. Innovation, particularly cutting edge innovation, requires quite a bit of funding, sometimes many millions or hundreds of millions of dollars of funding. Where will that money come if there is no reasonable expectation of recouping the investment? Free-riders are not innovators and policies that encourage free-riders at the expense of innovators are nonsensical.

Those that look at the patent system and see no benefit for society are either the most intellectually dishonest people you will ever meet, or they are taking a ridiculous and objectively incorrect position because of some agenda. There really is no other way to say it. Just look at the number of patent applications that have been filed since 1975 (see chart below). As patents became more valuable more applications were filed, but a fraction of those applications filed actually are patented, which means that society gets the benefit of the disclosures in those applications without having the burden of having to live with an issued patent. What a deal! Without a patent system that provides for acceptably strong patent rights many, if not most, of these innovations would either not exist or they would be held as trade secrets. A secret doesn’t benefit society, but disclosed patent applications and expired patents do.

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A warm and cuddly environment for companies sounds wonderful. A way to encourage the innovative economy that a high cost country such as the UK needs to sustain. We should see Incubators as the nursery schools for companies and Science Parks as the Secondary schools. Although rather less emphasis on testing and CRB checks!

Physical Infrastructure is the description on the Innovation Map, a bit dry and a limited shorthand necessary on such an overview. Looking at real life the offering from successful Incubators and Science Parks is a lot more sophisticated, as they keep telling me, so apologies to friends in the incubator and science park movements.

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I spend much of my day thinking about words, working on my novel, interviewing people, writing articles and examining films. I like to think of myself as a creative person—that is someone who seeks to build, design, and grow things or ideas from scratch, from blank pages.

In these economically difficult times it seems we need more creativity woven in our everyday lives more than ever; an artistic eye that can spot and make unique connections in the companies where we work, in the jobs that we seek, in the social media where we play.

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1. FDA’s decision to remove the breast cancer indication from the label of bevacizumab (Avastin).

2. Approval of Dendreon’s sipuleucel-T (Provenge), representing a new class of drug.

3. Sanofi-Aventis’ pursuit of Genzyme. It illustrates an industry move towards adding orphan and rare therapeutic areas to pharma portfolios. Another example of the trend came when Pfizer created orphan disease research division in 2010 and acquired FoldRx Pharmaceuticals.

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The OECD points to annual growth rates of between 5 and 20% in its countries' creative and cultural industries. Also the demand for goods and services produced by the creative industries is anticipated to rise further. Sky News Business speaks to Mark Phibbs (Adobe) about the concept of the creative economy.

 

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As we wrap up 2010, things might seem bleak. The common wisdom says that the chickens have all come home to roost from a disastrous series of economic decisions including outsourcing the manufacture of America’s physical goods. The pundits say the American dream is dead and this next decade will see the further decline and fall of the West and in particular of the United States.

Personally, I think there’s a chance that the common wisdom is very, very wrong – and that the second decade of the 21st century may turn out to be the West’s – and in particular the United States’ – finest hour.

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