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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.

As startups multiply and venture funding gushes through the city, the war for talent in New York is getting red hot. Wired.com has a good post on the talent war.

Startups are finding it harder and harder to hire great engineers, as well as great marketers and product managers. They're competing fiercely with each other as well as, as always, big tech companies and big banks, for great tech talent. Even red hot companies like Foursquare can't get enough engineers and are having to open offices in San Francisco to recruit more talent (Facebook poached a Foursquare engineer earlier this year).

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That’s it. We’re putting a wrap on 2010. We’ll hit the ground running again on Monday. But, until then, we leave you with a handy list of our favorite and most popular posts from 2010, all ordered in a rather random way. If you crave a little more Open Culture goodies, you can always browse through our complete archive here, and follow us on TwitterFacebook, and RSS. Hope you have a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!

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Our soon ending year, 2010, has been fascinating. I've had the good fortune to move to a new place (Singapore), which has served as a springboard to experience different cultures and do work in countries like the Philippines and South Korea. I've also had the chance to experience the world of venture capital investing through the small fund that our team in Singapore manages on behalf of the Singapore government.

There are three important things I will take away from this year:

The West is overly discounting Asia's growth potential. I argued a few months ago that the innovation axis was shifting from the West to the East. Silicon Valley remains the global hot spot of innovation, and America continues to churn out innovative companies like Groupon and Bloom Energy. But Eastern companies and entrepreneurs are gaining traction. Chinese companies like BYD are well positioned to lead the electrical vehicle market. Indonesia features a vibrant Internet ecosystem, with emerging startups providing unique services to the local context. Singapore is positioning itself as the global exchange, where West meets East and where India and China are both reachable via relatively short direct flights. And India's nation of entrepreneurs is driving change in market after market. The period of growth that Asia is enjoying still involves a heavy dose of replication and leveraging raw resources, but Western companies that discount the region's innovation potential do so at their own peril.

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Entering a startup competition to win funding for your venture has a lot of benefits, even if you aren't victorious.

Thousands try, but only a few score the top prizes, which often include hefty cash prizes, mentorships, and exposure for your business.

To give you an idea of what it takes to win first place in a funding competition, we compiled a list of winners from several of this year's contests.

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What does it take to make that new habit stick past January 1? What are the key principles in transforming our lives to make conscious new habits become unconscious routines?

Kentin Waits over at Wisebread has put together five key steps that can give you a running chance at achieving those New Year’s resolutions and making them work all year long:

1. Make Them Realistic and Measurable

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The burn: Finding yourself stuck in an unfulfilling annual process cordially called “life.”

The diagnosis: Going through life without assessing performance, results, and direction only encourages monotony and mediocrity. Machines were created for mindless, rote tasks, not humans. In fact, what makes us unique compared to even the most sophisticated robots is our ability to reflect and ruminate.

Life should not be a mundane process – and nor does it need to be. With some thought, reflection, and planning life can become a journey of purpose and passion. But I assure you, this doesn’t happen without being proactive and very honest with yourself. Keep in mind:

If you do not confront your past, you are destined to repeat it.

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BEIJING - China's first national private equity "fund of funds", which invests in other funds, started operating on Tuesday, and one of its primary aims is to support the overseas expansion of Chinese enterprises.

Set up by China Development Bank (CDB) and Suzhou Venture Group, the Suzhou-based Guochuang Fund of Funds has 60 billion yuan ($9 billion) under management.

The first-phase investment of 15 billion yuan will mainly be raised among big Chinese companies and funds, such as the Social Security Fund, China Life Insurance Company Limited, China Reinsurance (Group) Corporation, and Huawei Technologies.

The initial investment consists of two parts, 10 billion yuan for private equity and 5 billion yuan for venture capital investment.

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The technology industry is littered with the carcasses of once-hot startups and obsolete giants.

As 2010 ends, several tech companies face once-in-a-lifetime challenges.

If they meet these challenges in 2011, they'll look back some day and raise a toast to how they persevered. If not, their investors and employees will feel the consequences.

Here are the ten tech companies with the most to prove in 2011.

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A University of New Brunswick student from Miramichi has been selected for a prestigious entrepreneurship program designed to help launch the careers of Canada's next high-impact entrepreneurs.

Ryan Brideau, currently a University of New Brunswick physics and economics student, will head to Toronto's Massey College in May to be part of The Next 36 program, an intensive entrepreneurial boot camp led by acclaimed business professors, Canadian entrepreneurs and business leaders.

"That's what I'm really looking for. I'm looking for people to push me," Brideau said.

This is the inaugural year for The Next36, and over 1,300 students registered to apply for the program.

The initial process itself was extensive. Applicants were required to submit two references, several essays, a list of awards and extracurricular activities, and a university transcript.

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VCs are good for much more than just their money. I have never gotten VC funding, but I have had many VCs help me.

VCs might get criticized for their lack of domain knowledge, but they have great general business knowledge, and a VC’s BlackBerry can be a distribution channel in itself. The tricky part is charming them into helping you. These steps will help you navigate your way into new worlds and go from outsider to VIP. Think of this as life-hacking and accelerated networking.

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The frenzy to own a piece of one of the white-hot Internet companies rumbling toward what is expected to be an eventual blockbuster IPO has caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulatory agency has sent information requests to people involved in the buying and selling of shares in Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and LinkedIn, according to the New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the inquiry.

SecondMarket, the most well-known private-shares marketplace, told the Wall Street Journal it had not been contacted by the SEC, raising the possibility that the agency’s focus could be on the slew of company-specific funds that have cropped up in recent months focused on buying up private-company shares on behalf of limited partners - often individuals who may not be professional investors.

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In the middle of the 19th century blackboards were all the rage. According to Pennsylvania State University engineering communication professor Michael Alley, it was common for universities and research institutions to proudly advertise that they had the only slate writing board in a 100-mile radius. Scientific lectures became more engaging than they’d ever been.

More than 150 years later, there’s still room for improvement. “People are not anywhere close to tapping the potential that a PowerPoint presentation offers,” Alley says. “We have a tool that can do an incredible amount, and people just waste it.” Who hasn’t been lulled into a somnolent state by some well-intentioned scientist presenting his research to a captive audience by reading a seemingly endless stream of bullet points?

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