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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.

If you asked me to tell you a list of three of the best decisions in my life, I can certainly tell you that regularly writing is one of them. It’s the reason I’m an author here at OnStartups, made many new friends, had interesting opportunities cross my radar, and most importantly had the chance to share knowledge that has helped other entrepreneurs.

Why You Should Write
You Will Meet Other Smart People

Writing has allowed me to meet a slew of smart people. Some of these people are now virtual acquaintances and some are very close friends on a personal and professional level. Each article that you publish is a synthesized thought process that may click with other entrepreneurs instantly. Have you ever had a feeling when reading an article that “Wow, they are thinking exactly what I’m thinking”? By writing, you are likely to encounter a handful of people that experience the same thing. Occasionally one of those people will reach out to you via email or bump into you at an event. You might make a new acquaintance, a new co-founder for the future, potential investor, hire,etc. At the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is about finding other smart (hopefully smarter) people to collaborate with and writing frequently helps make this happen.

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Although the economic downturn was historic, we were surprised to see how many savvy investors and startups simply shut down during this time period. While conserving cash was critical to survival for a lot of companies, whenever possible, that should have been done within the framework of doing more with less, rather than simply doing little or nothing at all.

It’s not part of our inherent DNA as entrepreneurs to eschew risk, and we must once again celebrate and reward the risk-takers among us as we head into 2011, because it’s these groups of individuals that will help pull us out of the morass of the past two years.

We’re already seeing signs that the startup community is getting back to its innovative roots, and we fully expect entrepreneurial endeavors to come back into style over the next year. Companies and consumers are beginning to spend again, the exit markets are rebounding, appetites for risk are resuming and natural selection has taken place – thinning out weaker organizations, as the stronger have survived.

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times — at least for Silicon Valley startups in 2010.

While many smaller, lesser known newbies languished as venture capital investments declined overall, those that did score, scored big, and have kept themselves in the headlines ever since.

So where did VCs put their money in ‘10? VentureBeat teamed up with venture capital analytics and reference researchers VC Experts to bring you the top 10 largest single investments in tech startups in 2010 — and why they had so many investors foaming at the mouth.

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The more successful your community is at using information and communications technology (ICT) to build its economy, the more you need to think about those who are not online. I wrote in my last post that we don't always know who they really are – but the odds are good that they are largely people at the economic or social margins, whether due to poverty, lack of education, age, disability or other factors.

Why, aside from common humanity, does success breed a need for digital inclusion? Because when ICT is the route to success, it can actually deepen economic and social exclusion, which breeds social ills that cost everyone else a lot of money for criminal justice, social services and health care.

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It's been a big year for greentech and renewable energy and a big year for Greentech Media.

Even The Simpsons allow themselves the luxury of a clipshow every so often, so we're going to indulge ourselves on this last day of the year.

Here are some of the lists we've compiled in 2010.

Fourteen Tectonic Shifts in Greentech: 2011 is almost here. Here’s what might happen.

Greentech's Top Thirteen Faux Pas: You can't be right all the time.

15 Powerpoint Slides That Shook the Earth: By law, these slides must appear in all green powerpoint slide decks.

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For me, New Year’s Day has never been about resolutions – but realizations.

What has worked over the past year? More important, what hasn’t – and what have I learned in the process?

I imagine college students and recent graduates – millennials in general – are going through that thought process right now, especially as it relates to their careers. (Or lack thereof).

And although I’m 50 years old and wouldn’t pretend to speak for a young professional separated in age by an entire generation… I have had the privilege of working with many students over the past year. They are universally anxious about their futures, and are hoping the economy gets better.

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This year has turned out to be a boom year for the solar industry, thanks in no small part to lucrative government subsidies in Europe, particularly in countries such as Germany and Italy. New solar project installations shot up from 7.2 GW in 2009 to an estimated 15.8 GW in 2010, according to iSuppli. But analysts are predicting slower growth in 2011 because incentives in these key European markets are set to fall quite a bit. At the same time the U.S. market could grow faster. Here are key trends I expect to see in 2011:

1. The rise of the U.S. market. Given the size of the country, solar industry folks have long counted on the U.S. as becoming a dominant solar electricity generator one day. We’ll likely see a particularly big upswing in that direction because of a confluence of state and federal policies. Congress just extended a popular grant program that helps to cover 30 percent of the cost of installing solar projects. The extension will end Dec. 31, 2011, and projects that start construction by the deadline will still qualify to get the money. That deadline will prompt companies to quicken their project development pace.

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Over the last few years the acronym STEM has increasingly entered debates within the collective creative industries, and also at Skillset.

To those in the creative industries STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) as a concept has really been carried on the back of the technologisation of media, with its convergence, divergence and ensuing disintegration of traditionally stable and demarcated roles.
Its apotheosis with regards to education policy is probably in the Browne Review or what is known as “The independent review of higher education funding and student finance” which promises to change the landscape of Higher Education, although the document that doesn’t even mention the acronym by name. (A simple keyword search shows the Browne report mentions ‘Science’ 6 times, ‘Arts’ 1 time, ‘Entrepreneur’ only once, and ‘Creative’ is totally absent)

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Forget dieting. To help fatten your bottom line in 2011, the experts at suggest the following new year's resolutions for business owners.

Business Planning
Harness the power of planning your time well, taking care to allocate your schedule according to priorities. Wait when it's appropriate, hurry when it's appropriate, and apply patience, vision and common sense. -- Tim Berry, Business Plans

Social Media
Do whatever it takes to get out of your comfort zone and into your "power place" to grow your business. Embrace change and new technologies, including social sites. Choose what works best for reaching your target market, and run with it. Most important: Have fun. -- Starr Hall, Social Media

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This past year, we brought you stories on everything from tweeting toddler toys and streamlined ATMs to news-reading apps and remote controls that magically change channels with a wave of the hand. Though wildly different from one another, these projects share a common denominator: They're all display intriguing user-interface innovations.

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Hemingway, it’s said, was sitting around a table with a gathering of friends, when he wagered a bet. I can write a complete story, he said, in six words.

Money fell onto the table.

Then Papa shared:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

To this day, nobody knows if it ever actually happened, though the tale of the wager and the 6-word story has become the stuff of legend in the world of writing.

In those six words lies an entire story, rich enough to bring some to tears.

Hemingway was hailed for his efficiency with words.

Nothing was extraneous.

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1.  The Bayh-Dole Act turned 30.  In an interview with Gene Quinn of, former senator Birch Bayh described the essence of his goals in creating the Bayh Dole Act:  “there’s something to be said for the private enterprise system and we think we ought to hook the private enterprise system up with the intellectual enterprise in our universities so we have the entrepreneurial skills of the free enterprise system and the intellectual capacity of our researchers, we meld those together.”   At an AUTM-sponsored event in DC, I had the good fortune to hear former Senator Birch Bayh speak about how the Act came to be.  Bayh described his and Senator Bob Dole’s bi-partisan efforts, back in the 1970s, to pass legislation that would make federally funded university research more commercially accessible to the tax-paying public. 

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