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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.

boeing 747-8

Late yesterday, Boeing's 747-8 freighter prototype number three lumbered into the Spring sky above Everett's Paine Field on its maiden flight. It then flew about successfully for two and a half hours before swooping heavily down on the tarmac at Boeing Field in Seattle. The beast checked out okay during this trip, topping out at 30,000 feet an a maximum speed of 280 mph, and is the latest success for the new marque of jumbo jet. But what exactly is exciting about this airborne monster?

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vhs videoYou think the idea of user-generated content as a business model was invented in the Aughts? No way. Media outlets have been drawing on material created by amateurs, consumers and customers for generations and repackaging it for your entertainment.

Folksy as it may sound, our history is driven not strictly by the polished content produced by a class of citizens with a slew of degrees and many years of training - a surprisingly amount has been generated in a largely unfiltered form by the masses.

Necessity meant that user-generated content was packaged and presented through very structured channels. That's not that different from today, where the stuff that we produce is presented through some slick content management system on websites like Blogger or Square Space or through podcatching software like iTunes.

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The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, commonly referred to as “SOX”, was enacted in 2002 as a response to Enron and the Enron-like financial scandals of the time.  I’m in the enviable position of (1) being an ex-accountant and auditor, and (2) selling software that among other things is used to track compliance with SOX, which gives me some perspective on the impact SOX has had on companies.

Without getting into the boring details, SOX can (and has) be generalized as forcing companies to document their risks (i.e. “what can go wrong”) and ensure that they have controls in place to prevent, or worst case detect, when something does go wrong. While it was a response to accounting abuse, SOX is sometimes interpreted by companies or their auditors more broadly to include virtually anything that could go wrong with the business. It can reach into the HR department, legal, IT, operations – everywhere.

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As technology transfer managers from around the country prepare today to debate the role of academic researchers in commercializing their own inventions, two experts – one from each side of the aisle – have come together to propose an Academic Inventors’ Bill of Rights.

The authors of the initial draft are Alan Bentley, Director of Commercialization for Cleveland Clinic Innovations, and Dr. Renee Kaswan, founder of IPAdvocate.org (www.IPAdvocate.org), former research professor at the University of Georgia and inventor of the breakthrough product for dry eye, Restasis®.

Bentley and Kaswan are unveiling their Academic Inventors’ Bill of Rights in a poster presentation at the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Annual Meeting, which kicks off today in New Orleans.

Both believe that adopting a standard of minimal legal protections for the intellectual property of students and faculty will benefit faculty, students, society at large and universities in the long run.

“Most technology commercialization professionals understand the importance of building strong partnerships with our faculty innovators,” said Bentley. “The productivity of our industry has been called into question of late, partly because of isolated system failures in working with faculty. The creation of a standardized Inventors’ Bill of Rights that all academic institutions can adopt would be a powerful message to our faculty that commercialization is indeed a partnership.”

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Graduating students waited for the start of Harvard University's commencement exercises last June in Cambridge, Mass. Evidence suggests that students are beginning to take the more challenging business environment in stride.  Brian Snyder/Reuters/FileWith traditional employment looking so bleak a common question is this: "Are you seeing more students interested in entrepreneurship given the depths of this recession?"

This is a good question because historically we have seen a small upswing in student interest in entrepreneurship when the economy and job market soften. But this has become a much deeper recession and a more worrisome long-term economic climate. How are students reacting this time?

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You can learn a lot of things in the classroom.

A lot of the knowledge you’ll glean comes in the form of facts (or “laws”) on how and why certain things work. A few lessons involve behaviors, such as team work. On very rare occasions, one learns a life lesson.

But there are some things you’ll never learn in the classroom. Hopefully, this will fill some of the gaps:

Ethical Challenges Occur More Frequently Than You Expect – Some engineering programs and a large number of business programs offer courses on ethics, but while these courses might expose the student to certain predicaments, they seldom help the student develop the muscle memory necessary to respond to ethical dilemmas.

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Inspiring Corporate Entrepreneurship to Fuel InnovationIt's been said that successful people either are entrepreneurs - or think like entrepreneurs.

Look around your company. Are you surrounded by entrepreneurs? Is your team comprised of people who take ownership of any project or task that comes across their desk or inbox? Do they embrace challenges, possess the process, and take responsibility - for successes and failures alike?

Some may come away thinking that 'corporate entrepreneur' and 'employee' are contradictory. They believe that entrepreneurs take the ultimate risk - ditching the security of the day-job, as it were, and facing the personal, financial and psychological challenges of business ownership.

That's one definition. Another would be 'corporate entrepreneurship'. This realm is inhabited by people who - though they receive a paycheck signed by someone else - see the organization (or at least their small domain within it) as their turf. This is the most valued type of employee.

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Erika DeBenedictis' research to help spacecraft quickly and more easily travel to other planets has earned her a top student science award from Intel.

The 18-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., took home the $100,000 first prize from Intel's 2010 Science Talent Search, an annual contest that challenges students to envision solutions to the scientific problems of today and tomorrow.

DeBenedictis' goal was to design a software navigation system that could help spacecraft more easily journey throughout the solar system. Her research discovered that gravity and the movement of the planets could create low-energy orbits to propel ships faster and with less fuel required.

Sponsored by Intel and run by the Society for Science and the Public, the talent search also awarded prizes to other enterprising students.

The top three winners of the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search with top award winner Erika DeBenedictis in the middle, David Liu in second place on the right, and Akhil Mathew in third place on the left.
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altNBIA President & CEO David Monkman testified Wednesday, March, 17, before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. During the hearing, “Business Incubators and Their Role in Job Creation,” Monkman advocated for the need for greater awareness and support for business incubation in the United States – especially as Congress examines ways to create jobs and turn around the struggling economy. To read his full written testimony

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steve jobs ipad apple APWhat are Steve Jobs' favorite tech sites?

Well, he has Engadget, Gizmodo, the New York Times tech section, and the Wall Street Journal bookmarked in Safari on his iPad, according to a source who saw him demo it.

Our source was in one of the meetings with Steve when he visited Manhattan on his media tour with the iPad in February.

Steve has other sites bookmarked, but these are the only ones that stuck in our source's mind.

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SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- After some lean times, venture capital is trickling back into Canada from the U.S., and that pace could quicken thanks to a new piece of tax reform proposed in Canada's annual budget.

Over the last two years, U.S. venture capital in Canadian companies has plunged by more than half, to $475.7 million in 2009 from $954 million in 2007, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

While this decline tracked a broader trend in venture capital over the same period, experts say the problem for Canadian firms was exacerbated by tax regulations that punish foreign investors who later want to sell their shares in those companies. For years, U.S. venture firms that wanted to invest in start-ups had to deal with a piece of Canadian tax law called section 116. When foreign investors wanted to sell their shares in a corporation, they had to pay a 25% tax on their gains or fill out cumbersome paperwork to get an exemption. It could often take weeks or months before a firm could get ahold of its funds, say lawyers and venture capitalists.

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XI’AN, China — For years, many of China’s best and brightest left for the United States, where high-tech industry was more cutting-edge. But Mark R. Pinto is moving in the opposite direction.

Mr. Pinto is the first chief technology officer of a major American tech company to move to China. The company, Applied Materials, is one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent firms. It supplied equipment used to perfect the first computer chips. Today, it is the world’s biggest supplier of the equipment used to make semiconductors, solar panels and flat-panel displays.

In addition to moving Mr. Pinto and his family to Beijing in January, Applied Materials, whose headquarters are in Santa Clara, Calif., has just built its newest and largest research labs here. Last week, it even held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Xi’an.

An Applied Materials research lab in Xi’an, China. The Santa Clara, Calif., company is the largest supplier of the equipment used to make semiconductors, solar panels and flat-panel displays. More Photos »
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