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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.

EurActiv LogoBehind-the-scenes manoeuvring is underway in Brussels as EU governments battle for large chunks of the Community research budget – even though the new funding programme will not kick in until 2014.

A €50 billion pot of cash is currently available for research projects across Europe but there have been constant murmurings that other sources will also be tapped in a bid to boost innovation.

Incoming EU commissioner for research, innovation and science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, has already said she wants to ensure that the €86 billion earmarked for innovation in the European Structural Funds is used for research and technology transfer.
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American startups are not alone when it comes to the well of venture funding drying up. A recent report by the Israel Venture Capital Research Center has found that funding in Israel fell drastically to $1.12 billion in 2009, nearly half the amount from the previous year. The 46% decrease marks the lowest funding numbers since 2003 and ends Israel's streak of three consecutive years with increasing number of companies and funding dollars.

The numbers are a sign of the worldwide economic stress that is affecting countries large and small across the globe. While funding plummeted between 2008 and 2009, the number of companies funded only fell roughly 7% from 483 to 447, which means less money is being given to each company. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the average financing round was just $2.2 million, down from $3.61 million during the same period in 2008.
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imageWhen it comes to innovation, many executives in the consumer goods industry are chasing Apple. Who can blame them? While most retailers spent the holiday season slashing prices, Apple reported record earnings by enchanting audiences with iPhones. Now, as retailers try to re-engage consumers this year, executives are trying to replicate the "Apple thrill."

But focusing exclusively on product innovation is a mistake for most companies, say executives who gathered recently at Berglass + Associates, my company, to discuss innovation. The attendees included Richard Dickson, general manager, Barbie, and a senior vice president at Mattel ( MAT - news - people ); Melisse Shaban, CEO of Chrysalis, an incubator company for emerging brands; and Bill Brand, executive vice president of programming, marketing and business development at HSN.
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Turns out Bill Gates' attention-getting debut on Twitter was just the prelude. The Microsoft chairman and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair today is launching a new site, dubbed The Gates Notes, where he'll be writing about what's on his mind, posting information from his trips, and sharing excerpts from his exchanges with experts and leaders in areas including science, energy, philanthropy and other global issues.

"Since leaving my fulltime job at Microsoft to dedicate more time to our foundation, a lot of people have asked me what I'm working on. It often feels like I'm back in school, as I spend a lot of my time learning about issues I'm passionate about," he says in an introductory note. "I'm fortunate because the people I'm working with and learning from are true experts in their fields. I take a lot of notes, and often share them and my own thoughts on the subject with others through email, so I can learn from them and expand the conversation."
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RoseAnn B. Rosenthal spoke to the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology with advice for
the Department of Commerce’s new Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ben FranklinWASHINGTON, D.C. (www.sep.benfranklin.org) – RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President & CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP), yesterday testified before the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology’s subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.

Rosenthal was asked to testify because of her track record in Pennsylvania’s technology community, expertise in the industry, and role within Ben Franklin.  Since 2001 alone, Ben Franklin has committed more than $50 million to over 500 early stage companies, which have created or retained over 7000 high-tech jobs.  During that time Ben Franklin’s portfolio companies have raised more than a billion dollars in follow-on investment.

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Idaho Business ReviewIdaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter gathered on Jan. 21 with business leaders from around the state to launch the Idaho Technology Council – a private sector group focused on growing the state’s high-tech economy.

“Idaho’s growth as a technology center has cooled, and the Idaho economy cannot afford that,” stated ITC Chairman Rich Raimondi, a recently retired vice president at Hewlett-Packard. “We know the priorities to re-energize growth in this critical sector are human capital, public policy, financial capital and research and development, and we have formed committees with leaders from across the state to work those issues.”
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Brussels, January 22nd, 2010


The European Space Agency (ESA) represented by its Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO), and The European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and other Early Stage Market Players (EBAN) have recently established a three-year strategic partnership confirming ESA as EBAN ́s new Golden partner.

Commenced in January 2010, this partnership wants to bring to the attention of European business angels and early stage investors the opportunities of innovation originally funded by space programmes. Technologies like geo-information and satellite navigation are the future showcase successes in the field of funding early stage companies with space technologies in Europe.

“The collaboration of ESA and EBAN will stimulate contacts between selected incubators and business angel networks and seed funds. EBAN will support ESA ́s approach to European early stage investors as a provider of quality and exclusive deal flow in the space technology sector” says Brigitte Baumann, President of EBAN.

The main mission of the TTPO of ESA is to facilitate the use of space technology and space systems for non-space applications and to demonstrate the benefits of the European space Programme to European citizens. The office is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies, including the incubation of start-up companies and their funding. At the moment the TTPO is supporting the creation of about 80 start-up companies a year.

“Applications based on geo-information are one of the core technologies of the upcoming decade. Our Programme is supporting the companies that will develop these applications. The cooperation with EBAN will enable early stage investors to become aware of our initiative and these start-ups” says Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of the Technology Transfer Programme Office.

EBAN has quadrupled in size in the last five years, and is becoming the entry point for international and European stakeholders interested in European early stage investing. EBAN represents circa 250 angel groups via direct or indirect membership, 20.000 angels and 40.000 entrepreneurs. Business angels and seed funds are key contributors to European economic innovation and entrepreneurship. By supporting high risk and high potential start-ups, business angels play a major role in supporting the creation and growth of tomorrow’s gazelles. With ESA, EBAN members will benefit from extensive knowledge on space related market trends and experience in financing space technologies.

EBAN is a not-for-profit association representing the interests of business angels, business angels networks, seed funds and other entities involved in bridging the equity gap in Europe. EBAN was established with the collaboration of the European Commission in 1999 by a group of pioneer Business Angel Networks in Europe and EURADA (European Association of Development Agencies).

EBAN – The European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and other Early Stage Market Players Rue Vautier 54 | 1050 Brussels | Belgium T: 32 2 626 20 60 | F: 32 2 626 20 69 | E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | W: www.eban.org

After 3.8 billion years of research and development, nature knows a thing or two about good design. But it's only recently that industry has started to pay attention.

Biomimicry looks closely at design solutions in the natural world and adapts them for human use. Although these man-made products look like replicas of their natural models, the process is more than a slavish copying of form. "It's about consulting the natural world for advice," says Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. "We find the champion adaptors for a particular function; then we abstract that design principle and apply it."
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Well, not exactly. But it's a wonderful idea! We've only got a week before SBIR fades away or gets extended -- again.

What the Senate did do this week is call upon the SBA to swiftly implement the allocated funds for the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership that provides funding for SBIR outreach support for the States. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) co-signed a letter from the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee to Karen Mills, SBA Administrator, requesting a schedule by February 12th for the implementation of FAST. View the official Press Release about the letter HERE.

Now, why push for FAST implementation when SBIR's Reauthorization hangs undone? Is this a signal that we can expect some action next week before it expires? I think so. I hope so.
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We've written quite a bit in the past about the challenges and opportunities facing journalism, a subject which of course is near and dear to our hearts.

New models are emerging. Traditional players are fading away. And entrepreneurs are trying to fill the gaps. Those trends were on full display today when The New York Times announced plans to roll out a new payment system for its Web site beginning next year. The Times -- the number one newspaper Web site in the country -- plans to allow readers to access a select number of stories for free each month before enacting a flat fee.
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I'm a big proponent of fostering more connections between students at Boston-area schools and the companies that make up our innovation economy. Unfortunately, many MBA students tend to have an opportunity to participate in "tech treks" to Silicon Valley, while they aren't as likely to spend time with interesting businesses a few miles from campus.

MIT's Sloan School of Management is one of the few that has consistently given students a chance to visit local companies, but Harvard Business School is joining in this year. Fifty students are participating this week in an IXP ("Immersion Experience Program") that will take them to various Boston companies and venture capital firms.
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How well are you making use or your time daily? Are you always productive? There are many people wanting to know how to become more productive. I came up with 10 ways that you can become more productive with your day. Let’s see if you do any of these things. These 10 ways are in no particular order.

1. Exercise!! We all get stressed with our jobs. Whether your stuck in a cubicle for 8 hours or work from home like I do, we all obtain stresses in our lives. Exercise improves mental health so you can deal with future stress in a better way. Physically fit people tend to have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Most people that are stressed sit at a desk.
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