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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.

Findings from recent researches carried out by Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, said Innovation is a top priority for companies seeking to grow in aftermath of the economic downturn, but flaws in managing innovation may hinder their progress”.

Additionally, nearly nine out of 10 respondents (89 percent) said that innovation is as important, if not more important, than cost reduction to their company’s ability to achieve future growth.

 

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Lahle Wolfe's article Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Successful Woman Entrepreneur? (About.com Women in Business) got me thinking about entrepreneurship in general.

I write about entrepreneurship from a research perspective in Thinking of Starting a Small Business?. Perseverance, initiative, competitiveness, and self-reliance all were rated highly by entrepreneurs themselves as the "necessary" qualities for success.

 

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Ben FranklinListening to the rhetoric about how the federal government needs to spend big to make sure the U.S. stays on technology’s cutting edge, I wonder if big carrots are better than baby ones.

Over the last 26 years, Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partners program has done a lot with a little state money. Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, recently praised the program, which provides young technology firms with small investments to nudge them ahead to where a venture capital firm may want to invest.

 

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TimeU.S. vs. China: Working Together on Global Warming?

Global warming is a problem that spans the entire world, but when it comes to figuring out how to stop it, the burden will largely fall on two countries: the U.S. and China. The U.S. is the world's largest historic carbon emitter, responsible for putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the past century and a half than any other nation. China recently surpassed the U.S. as the top emitter and will be responsible for more greenhouse gases in the future than any other country. "These two countries hold the key to sustainability or catastrophe," says Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

If that's the case, it might seem as if the world is headed toward catastrophe. Over the weekend, world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit made explicit what had long been expected — that a legal, global treaty to reduce carbon emissions was no longer possible at next month's U.N. summit in Copenhagen. The deadlock between the U.S. and China is a big reason: Beijing expects Washington to take the lead on cutting carbon, but the U.S. won't sign on to a deal that doesn't including measurable action from the Chinese. From that perspective, climate change is one more competition between the world's reigning superpower and its No. 1 challenger. (Read "Is There Any Hope for Agreement at Copenhagen?")

 

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Who wouldn’t like to get their startup going in a city by the sea, with great climate, surrounded by hills, and get around the city on trams or get to the beach through a beautiful suspended bridge? And you can also add to that great food and great wine…

No, I am not talking about San Francisco, California. I’m talking about Lisboa, Portugal. Although we do have a beach called California close by: the Californian coast was first explored by a Portuguese sailor at the service of the Spanish crown, who was a native of Sesimbra, a fishing town 30 km south of Lisbon where there is a place called California Beach.

 

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WSJOften criticized as fair-weather investors who come at the peak and exit at the valley of market cycles, corporate investors have an advantage over their venture capital peers when it comes to investing in Chinese start-ups: they can - and often do - invest in the local currency.

Delegates of the 28 selected firms for China’s ChiNext watch a screen showing the share prices during the listing ceremony in Shenzhen. Venture and private equity funds are now clamoring to receive approvals in China so that they can be classified as local investors and avoid onerous approval processes and restrictions on the types of investments they can make.

 

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Newsweek is running a story on a poll (co-sponsored with Intel) on public attitudes toward technology and economic growth. Not surprisingly, most people think technological innovation is an important factor in economic growth. Interestingly, more American's think technology will be more important in the coming decades than do Chinese (78% of Americans; 61% of Chinese). In somewhat of a surprise, the Chinese have a stronger belief than Americans that the US will remain the technology leaders in the future.

There was one part of the poll I found most surprising - and disturbing. When parents in the two nations were asked what was the most important skill their children needed to drive innovation in the future, the answers differed dramatically. 52% of American parents said "math and computer science"; only 9% of Chinese parents did. But 45% of Chinese parents said "creative approaches to problem solving" while only 18% of American parents did.

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NYTInnovation Report Card. A new report on Innovation for Development out of the European Business School ranks countries’ ability to propel innovation in ways that advance societies. (The United States comes in a respectable third, behind Sweden and Finland.) The study assessed countries using an index that ranked factors like education, social inclusion, and regulations and laws that made it easier to propel a good idea to the market. A summary of the situation in the United States presents a more positive picture than some other recent assessments:

 

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This post is the third about my trip to 3M. In the first post I examined 3M's culture, informed by its midwestern roots. In the second post I reviewed the concept of forward mapping and some of the opportunities and challenges of 3M's innovation exchanges. Today I'll recap and review the components that 3M believes make up its innovation success.

The seven factors or components of successful innovation, according to 3M, are:

• The relationship of innovation to corporate vision and business model
• 3M’s culture, which I’ve addressed previously
• Access to multiple platforms or technologies
• Networking
• Individual expectation
• Measured Accountability
• Connection to customer need

 

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From: Federal Technology Watch

The US Chambers Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) has released a report highlighting different methods of technology diffusion, the process of providing technology to other nations, while hailing intellectual property (IP) as a key to advancing green technologies to the developing world.

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Lorrie Vogel is the general manager of Nike Considered, Nike’s in-house sustainability think tank. She holds a degree in Industrial Design from Syracuse, and numerous patents. Her work in innovating around sustainability has helped put Nike on Fast Company’s Fast 50 list multiple times. Considering how aggressive Nike’s sustainability goals have been, it’s even more impressive that they are on track to meet their targets.

Sustainability is second only to performance when ranking the critical factors of a product. Nike is committed to making their entire collection as environmentally responsible as possible. Lorrie Vogel spoke at the Opportunity Green conference in Los Angeles, explaining some of the ways Nike is meeting these targets. In this phone interview, Lorrie expands on some of the points she touched on in her presentation. The conversation is split into two articles, in order to go deeper into the many changes that need to happen to increase use of recycled and organic materials in apparel and footwear. We begin with a discussion about materials, and conclude with the human element needed to ensure these changes occur in a timely manner.

 

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The Michigan Microloan Fund Program, managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, today distributed $200,000 to four young companies, including three in Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor-based Allinnova, Procuit and The Whole Brain Group and Birmingham-based Solarflex received the funds.

The Michigan Microloan Fund Program draws funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, which SPARK manages, as well as the Ann Arbor Local Development Financing Authority and Washtenaw County.

 

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