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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.

We all know, vaguely, that the websites we visit are tracking us with cookies and whatnot, silently scrapping data on how and where we surf. But when you see the facts all laid out for you, it's gobsmacking.

The Wall Street Journal just published the results of an investigation they did into tracking habits at the web's top 50 websites, and summed up the results in this superb infographic. Basically, the top half shows the web's top 50 websites; the bottom half shows the tracking companies whose software can be found on those sites. When you click on one, it shows you the myriad linkages between them.

Here, for example, are all of the tracking sites used by Google:
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Scholars Web Sites Project Overview from IQSS on Vimeo.

Harvard University has now released version 2.0 of OpenScholar, an open source software package that lets scholars build personal and project-oriented web sites in a matter of minutes. It’s a quick, easy, and free solution (minus one meaningful caveat below) that allows academics to build an online home for their “CV, bio, publications, blogs, announcements, links, image galleries, class materials,” and even submit publications to online repositories, such as Google Scholar. You can see an example of OpenScholar in action here.

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altIn recent years, the University of Minnesota has witnessed a slow decline in the number of new startup businesses based on its research.

Taking research from the laboratory shelf to a retail store can be a difficult process — so difficult that one University official described it as the “valley of death” for nascent technologies.

But the state is now trying to turn the downhill slide in the University’s technology commercialization into an upward climb.

On Friday, the state’s Science and Technology Initiative Advisory Commission met for the first time in St. Paul to begin outlining a new statewide science and technology economic development plan.

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Gen-Y entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the shift in the way business gets done today. Still, a few critical “rules-of-thumb” still hold true, one of which is the value of experience. It’s crucial that younger entrepreneurs understand how to negotiate this knowledge gap to avoid pitfalls and accelerate their success.

Partnering with one or two close mentors as well as a network of less frequently consulted mentors should a critical part of your business-building journey. Having the advice of someone with years of experience in a similar industry means you’ll be able to accelerate the change you are trying to affect within your business landscape.

Even after launching my idea as an intern and witnessing first-hand its market potential, I did not feel ready to take on the risks involved with starting a company, so I sat my idea on the sidelines for a while. Only after I met my mentor, who has since become my most influential adviser, did I take the leap and start my company. My mentor provided me with the business fundamentals and life lessons that helped me build the confidence to successfully navigate my start-up journey.

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Recently, I received a copy of a colorful white paper by Rod Stevens, called "The New Urban Workplace".  It's looks at why major corporations are moving back to the city, and should be interesting reading for anyone interested in the battle for brainpower and the importance of place.

Click here to download a free PDF copy

What is the big ideaWhen Emami launched Fair & Handsome, after market research revealed that 30% of fairness cream users were men, a big budget ad campaign with a movie star was merely a cherry on top. The category itself was on a tipping point, just about to explode, and Emami got there first. “The product spoke for itself,” says Aditya Agarwal, director, Emami. This fresh category is a gold mine as many big players including Hindustan Unilever, L Oreal, Garnier and Nivea have sunk in their teeth after Emami. On the brand valuation chart, Fair & Handsome is already worth `100 crore and has 80% market share. It’s one cool idea that launched a category. “Genuine innovation has a breakthrough quality,” says Rajiv Narang, CMD, Erehwon Innovation Consulting, “It is unique to the industry and has a transformational impact on the market.”

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Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham today offered an overview of how he has seen the angel and startup world evolve in the last year. Among other trends, he argued that the traditionally structured venture round is becoming irrelevant.

Speaking at AngelConf today, the angel investing event hosted at Y Combinator’s office in Mountain View, Calif., Graham compared the traditional venture model to the classic children’s book Are You My Mother? Startup entrepreneurs raising funding are like baby birds, asking every venture capitalist, “Are you my lead investor?”

Now, however, more venture rounds aren’t being led by a single investor, and they don’t have an official close date or amount, Graham said. There may be an official lead, but that’s in name only, and they don’t dominate the process like they used to. This benefits the startups because the lead investor has less power to screw them over. Even if the investor is well-intentioned, the startup isn’t held back if the lead isn’t moving fast enough to raise money. And rather than distracting itself with intense fundraising, a startup can keep raising money in the background as needed.

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Team Creativity At Work I and II: Creative Problem Solving At Its BestTo identify the factors that hinder your creativity at work, rate the items below on a scale of 1 to 5, where ‘1’ means you never do this, and ‘5’ means you always do this.

____ I buffer myself from interruptions during creative thinking.

____ I exchange ideas with other people.

____ I avoid quick negative self-criticism of my own new ideas and proposals.

____ I avoid assuming boundaries that box my creativity.

____ I allocate enough time for incubation.

____ I state positive things about a new idea before I state the difficulties to be overcome.

____ I exhibit lots of spontaneity and humor.

____ I review and discuss how the climate and my habits in my work affect my creativity.

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1) Dennis Crowley — CEO Foursquare

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, involving an application for mobile devices and a game intended for registered users. Through mobile websites, text messaging, or device-specific applications, people are able to update their location and connect with friends, while earning rewards for their online activity. The company is “so hot right now” because it is in the process of adding on a new promotion. Barbie, the iconic fashion doll manufactured by Mattel (NYSE: MAT), will be used by Foursquare to advertise location-based scavenger hunts. Text, photo and video clues for the hunts will be provided by Barbie through the use of Twitter. This promotion, officially happening on July 20th, 2010 is an example of how Mattel has been able to expand into the digital and social media world of the 21st century.

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DOE has allocated $30 million for a competition for businesses to pursue commercial applications of work that derives from, extends, or logically concludes effort(s) performed under prior SBIR agreements.  Small companies previously awarded Phase II grants through DOE's Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) or the Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR) are eligible.  Successful applicants may receive up to $3 million over three years to research, develop and deploy new technologies. Applications are currently being accepted through August 4, 2010, in select technology areas within clean energy.

Remember the first time you rode a rollercoaster? You waited in line with trepidation, smiling nervously to your family, friends or those around you, hoping that no one could sense the butterflies in your stomach. As you got in the car and strapped in for your ride, you wondered how secure the safety belt really was. You were scared and excited about what would come as the car slowly inched up the hill before the first big drop. You wondered if it was really such a good idea getting on this ride, and maybe even said a quick prayer. When the car started downhill and picked up speed, you let out your best Hollywood scream as you sped over bumps and turns and flipped head over heels. You alternated between feelings of delight and feelings of horror and everything in between. You felt more terrified and exhilarated than you ever had before in your life. By the time your car slowed down and stopped at the terminal, your cheeks were flushed by the rush of it all. You barely knew where you had been, but you were happy you did it and wished it weren’t over so quickly. As a business advisor, I know that the emotional rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship can be tough, but just like an actual rollercoaster, there are unexpected twists and turns, thrills and excitement to be gained from entrepreneurship that make it all worth the ride. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve already established a business of your own, here are some things to keep in mind on your ride.

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Aug 4 (Reuters) - With a sprinkling of seed capital, Chile is courting a flock of young technology entrepreneurs to spur local innovation and turn the South American country into a satellite for Silicon Valley.

By October, Chile hopes to attract 25 budding tech companies through Start-Up Chile, a pilot program promising to slash red tape, help with $40,000 of overhead and connect innovators with top local talent and venture capital.

New President Sebastian Pinera, who made a fortune as a credit card entrepreneur in the 1980s, has pledged to turn around declining productivity and increase the Chilean economy an average of 6 percent annually during his term.

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