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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.

Last Wednesday night, Joel Kotkin--a futurist and (sub)urban historian--squared off in a debate against Christopher Leinberger, a developer, consultant and proponent of "walkable urbanism." The topic: "America 2050: What Will We Build." The pair tangled on four key issues: demographics; housing supply & demand; transport; and density. Kotkin was in hostile territory: a roomful of Manhattan architects and academics belonging to the Forum for Urban Design.

Demographics

Kotkin, author of The Next Hundred Million, is commonly labeled an apologist for sprawl, he’s more like its Gorbachev, seeking to reform an unsustainable institution from within. He believes that sheer population growth will save the economy as America adds another hundred million people in the coming decade, mostly through immigration. While China ages disastrously and Europeans die off, young immigrants will more than offset the earnings of the retiring Baby Boomers, replenish the heartland, and resuscitate our moribund construction industry.

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No, this is not a post about what who believes what about science (snore). This is a post about the economic and political assumptions that guide thinking about climate policy.

Andy Revkin helpfully points to a new report (PDF) from the Information Technology and Information Foundation, which seeks to expose 10 myths of global climate change. Here they are:

1) Higher prices on greenhouse gases are enough to drive the transition to a clean economy

Reality: Better price signals are helpful, but not sufficient in significantly reducing GHG.

2) The U.S. can make major contributions to solving climate change on its own

Reality: The energy needs of the rest of the world will result in them producing the lion’s share of GHG; any solution must be one that is able to be adopted by every nation in the absence of regulation or energy taxes.

3) Cap-and-trade is a sustainable global solution

Reality: As Copenhagen showed, a global agreement is not likely, and the only solution that can meet 50 the percent reduction of GHG is making non-carbon alternatives as cheap and functional as fossil fuels.
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Driving around the block over and over to find a free parking spot wastes everything: time, gas, space on city streets, patience. It would be great if we could know when parking spaces were freed up so we could head right to an empty one.

That's the idea behind Google's new Open Spot app. When you're leaving a parking space in the city, you can use Open Spot to record its location on a map. Fellow Open Spot users looking for parking can then look up recently vacated spaces in their area. The freshest spots show up as red pins; older ones show up as orange or yellow pins. To encourage people to get in the spirit of pay-it-forward information sharing, Open Spot rewards frequent users with "karma points." For now, the app is available in the United States, Canada, and, oddly, the Netherlands, for phones that run Android 2.0 or higher.

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Entrepreneur JamesPerhaps you noticed that Ohio recently lost a successful entrepreneur who moved his business to Florida, where taxes are lower.

Of course, like many entrepreneurs who relocate their businesses to low tax states, his decision was only partially influenced by taxes. Other factors, specifically his desire to build a global brand name, were more important. But Ohio taxes didn’t help.

Yes, I’m talking about LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat.

Basketball isn’t my forte, so I’m going to stay away from evaluating whether James would have been more likely to win an NBA championship if he’d stayed in Cleveland, gone to New York, or chosen somewhere else to play.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
B-340 Rayburn House Office Building


A luncheon briefing presented by ASTRA, The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America for the House R&D Caucus.
Congress continues to seek solutions to help the nation regain its lost momentum as the world’s most innovative and competi- tive country. Please join us and participate in a nonpartisan panel discussion with leading experts in business commercial- ization, small business and entrepreneurship, patent and intel- lectual property, and innovation measurement and assessment.
Topics covered will include:

  • Overview: Measuring the Decline of U.S. Science Leadership & Where We are Headed (Shelton)
  • Barriers to Commercialization of R&D Discovery: The University-Industry Interface — What’s Working and What’s Not (Darmody, Johnson)
  • Modernizing America’s Intellectual Property System: The Importance of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in enabling U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness (Graham)
  • “MIssing in Action”: The Role Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs Should be Playing in Reviving the U.S. Innovation Economy (Bendis)

Download the PDF for more infromation or contact Robert Boege at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

steve ballmer, kin oneThe most impressive thing about Microsoft's failed Kin cellphone project is how quickly Microsoft canceled it once the company had figured out it was a bomb.

After announcing the Kin 1 and Kin 2 social networking phones on April 12, Microsoft confirmed it was killing the Kin on June 30, just 79 days later.

It was the right move. And while it was a huge waste of money to develop and market the Kin right before killing it, at least it's no longer a distraction for the company.

If anything, companies should learn how to discontinue failed products faster, rather than letting them drag out for several months or years, as is all too common in technology.

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altThis past December I spent a week in Boston to try to get to know some of the local VC’s and entrepreneurs a bit better.  One of the meetings I had (organized by my good friend Jeff Yolen) was with New Atlantic Ventures held the at the CIC, aka the Cambridge Innovation Center (no prizes for guessing where it’s located).

As they showed me around the CIC I was instantly envious.  I recently wrote a blog post about why I believe that startup teams in close proximity perform better.  I believe that first-time entrepreneurs also benefit hugely from working in close proximity to other companies.  VCs constantly share cross fund information and are therefore always getting dialed into what is going on in the industry. We know prices of deals, compensation, who’s doing well / poorly, etc.  Entrepreneurs need to share more information with each other.  I’m surprised how few people talk about valuations, term sheet terms, how much to pay recruiters, etc.  A tech lab is a perfect hub for this kind of cross-company fertilization.

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Chris Ralston, one of several art directors at Callahan Creek, 805 Mass., keeps his workspace organized so it functions like a well-oiled efficiency machine.Want to know if your workspace is organized? Give yourself the three-minute test.

“If you can find a particular sheet of paper or a file or piece of equipment — whatever it is you need — in three minutes or less, you’re organized,” says Marguerite Carlson, owner of Lawrence-based Organize U. “That’s a basic ground rule.”

Carlson, whose clients include hoarders and other disorderly clients, says a work area — be it a tiny cubicle or expansive office suite — needs to be clutter-free for maximum efficiency.

“Clutter messes with your mind,” she says, “and when you can clear the clutter, you really are clearing out your life.”

And the smaller your workspace, the more important it is to keep it well-ordered.

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http://www.mvrhs.org/social/Weintraub/pics/ireland-map.gifTAOISEACH BRIAN Cowen will this morning launch an ambitious €500 million plan on which the Government has pinned its hopes of making Ireland the “innovation hub” of Europe.

Mr Cowen will announce details of the “Innovation Fund” at a meeting with business leaders at the New York Stock Exchange today.

The fund has been Government policy since the smart economy framework was published in 2008 but has been delayed by the recession. Before his departure for New York yesterday, Mr Cowen confirmed the scheme will commence in September, with the State investing €250 million over five years, a sum which he said will be matched by private sector investment.

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The deadline for submitting an entry is August 27, 2010. Awards winners will be announced on October 27, 2010. EDA's Innovation in Economic Development Awards (Formerly the EDA Excellence Award Program) recognize innovative economic development projects or strategies of national significance. The awards are designed to showcase best practices and highlight outstanding results.
This year's award categories are:

  • Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs)
  • The entry advances the development of geographic concentrations of firms and industries that do business regionally, across sectors.

  • Innovation in Commercialization
  • The entry promotes the commercialization of university research and technology, business incubators and research parks to foster job creation.

  • Innovation in Global Export Promotion
  • The entry successfully promotes American goods overseas and manufacturing revitalization, bolstering competitiveness abroad and creating higher-skill, higher-wage jobs.

  • Innovation in Green Technology
  • The entry promotes innovative strategies in the development of environmentally-friendly technology, projects, or partnerships that attract substantial private capital investment and create higher-skill, higher-wage jobs.

    For information on the application process and selection criteria, download the Entry Brochure.

    Once you've read the Entry Brochure and are ready to submit your entry, Click Here for the online application form.

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    altTHE PREMISE for this book is simple. How has a nation of just seven million people, only a little more than 60 years old, surrounded by enemies and with no natural resources, produced more start-up companies and produced more Nasdaq-quoted companies than Europe, Japan, China, India and Korea combined? What magic dust does Israel possess to foster this entrepreneurial spirit?

    This book tries to answer that question, while also examining the potential threats to Israel’s future wellbeing. It has a lively opening with case studies of innovation from recent years including one about a young Israeli who has developed a car battery that could make electric vehicles financially viable.

    Instead of plugging in the car for hours on end to charge up, you would simply pull in to a battery swap station and go through a machine resembling a car wash. Your battery is dropped out and replaced by a newly charged one.

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    The Solarium, a new 8-story apartment building in New York City, is part of a new wave of green buildings in Gotham. Its exterior is made from 100 percent recycled material. The burnished floors are sustainably farmed bamboo. The apartments lack bathtubs in order to save water. Perhaps the most novel green accoutrement of the Solarium, however, is a small, black windmill perched on a short pole rising from the rooftop. Made by WindTronics, the windmill went live in April — it is one of the early beta units from the Michigan startup.

    The company claims a single windmill can supply as much as 30 percent of a household’s annual power needs if winds average roughly 10 miles per hour. That is a brisk steady breeze but even homes averaging lesser amounts (5-9 mph winds) can receive significant electrical outputs of 15 to 30 percent of annual power needs. The Solarium’s wind turbine will power light fixtures in common areas and a rooftop theater for residents. “It has no noise and no vibration,” says Cyrus Claffey, the CEO of Clareo Networks, a real estate technology and design company that researched and planned the project for the Solarium’s developers. “It is bird friendly. And it has a great design. Power kicks in at a much lower windspeed than comparable products.”

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