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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.

apple_tabletYes, my [Tom Slater] headline is a bit facetious. But even if Apple’s tablet doesn’t save the planet, its users will be cutting carbon in three major industries. Music, books & printers could all be, to some extent, displaced by lightweight mobile computing like the Apple tablet.

The iSlate is expected to be a touch screen computer with similar features to the iPod Touch but larger, about 10-11″. I say expected because everything is a rumor at this point — though Apple has invited journalists to see their “latest creation” at a press conference on January 26 & 27.

So how will the iSlate help? For one thing, every time a real, physical CD (remember those?) is purchased, it is the product of an extensive supply chain. Raw oil is processed into plastics. Plastics are turned into CD blanks. CDs are burnt en masse and liner notes are printed with a variety of synthetic inks. The product is shipped (usually) in little plastic jewel cases which are as fragile as they are infuriating to open with scraps of tape sealing them shut. It is all done on costly machinery in large rooms with fluorescent lighting and the product is transported in a diesel burning truck. Toxic materials, electricity and transport can all be eliminated from this industry by going digital.
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Gartner_mobileappsAccording to a new report from Gartner, worldwide revenue from mobile applications will total $6.8 billion in 2010, an increase of 60% over the $4.2 billion spent in 2009. Growth in revenue from mobile apps can be expected to continue at a rapid rate, as more consumers purchase smartphones and more apps become available. Gartner predicts that in 2013, 21.6 billion apps will be downloaded, generating nearly $30 billion in revenue — more than a fourfold increase over 2010.

Gartner forecasts that 82% of all downloads will be free in 2010, and that the share of free apps will increase to 87% by 2013. This leaves mobile advertising to make up for the loss in share for paid apps — Gartner claims that in 2010, 0.9% ($0.6 billion) of mobile app revenue will be generated by advertising.
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Berlin Fashion Week - Hausach CoutureGudrun Flieger tucks into a steaming bowl of bean stew at a soup kitchen in the well-to-do Berlin district of Charlottenburg. The 63-year-old pensioner has been a regular guest at the church-run meeting point since losing her job as a fitter at an electrical factory which went bankrupt in the late 1990s.

"Without the soup kitchen and state help I'd be lost," she says.

At a pawn shop on Karl Marx Strasse, in Neukölln, one of Berlin's poorest districts where one in four people are unemployed and half of all children live in poverty, an elderly woman in her 70s, dressed in a fur coat, hopes to pawn a family heirloom – a gold watch – to help cover a heating bill.
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altComparing Germany's Ruhr Valley to the Rust Belt is old hat. These two regions jump to the fore when we discuss industrial decline in Germany and the United States. However, the analogy is still instructive as we struggle to find a functional contiguous geography that might lend itself revitalization:
Germans often think of the region as a single entity, and taken together, it would in fact be the country's biggest city, with more than 5 million inhabitants. But the valley has less the feel of a city than a small, densely populated island: In some areas of the region, cities bleed into each other, while in other places there are wide stretches of agriculture that act as buffers between municipalities. Residents often have attachments to their local towns and develop rivalries against their neighbors. “When there's a soccer game between Dortmund and Bochum, you should probably stay off the local trains,” Willi Kaiser, a resident of Essen, said.
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Adeo Ressi’s Founder Institute is going international. This Spring, the startup mentorship program will be expanding to Singapore, Paris, Los Angeles, and Denver, meaning that the Founder Institute is now active in nine cities worldwide. Interested entrepreneurs can apply starting tonight, with an early application deadline of February 15 2010 and a final deadline of February 28. These four new programs will start simultaneously this spring.

Ressi, who founded the program, says that the Founder Institute is the first incubator program to expand beyond the United States (though there are other entrepreneur-focused programs like Seedcamp). As the Institute grows, it comes closer to Ressi’s goal of training 1000 founders a year. Conservatively, he think that this year the nine programs in aggregate will graduate over 700 founders and 500 companies, though he wouldn’t be surprised if the tally is more like 750 companies.
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BusinessWeek Logo Leaders who demand proof that a new idea will work inadvertently stifle innovation. There's a better way to react to brainstorms

Once upon a time there was a very big bank. Its CEO wanted to better serve its best customers and hired some consultants to tell him what to do.

At the time, the very big bank served its high-net-worth customers at stately private banking offices in downtown branches. The consultants discovered that many of these wealthy customers—lawyers, executives, and partners in big professional services firms—were unattractive customers. They chose plain-vanilla services and were both demanding and price-sensitive.

But the consultants found another high-net-worth segment that was underserved: entrepreneurs and partners from smaller firms. These folks had diverse needs, such as mortgages for their homes and investment properties, and investor agreements for multipartner ventures. But they didn't want to bounce from one banking specialist to another to get a deal done, or drive to a fancy branch filled with high-backed chairs and wood-paneled walls, paid for with their fees. Instead, they wanted integrated, personalized service in their neighborhoods, with no divide between their commercial and personal banking services.
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When NBIA’s longtime chief executive Dinah Adkins retired from the association in August, she took with her tremendous institutional memory, a contact list that spans the globe, and fond memories of the people and places she has known through her work here. But she left behind far more in the form of a legacy of contributions that have shaped the business incubation industry. Adkins’ name has been synonymous with business incubation since 1988, when she assumed management of the association. Even before that time, she was an industry pioneer, working in the field since 1982 and becoming a founding member of NBIA in 1985. Under her leadership, the association has grown to nearly 2,000 members representing more than 60 nations. This growth is due in large part to innovative programs Adkins introduced, novel concepts she championed and strategic decisions she made.

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PERSONALLY WORK WITH DINAH. SHE WAS A TRUE PROFESIONAL IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD AND ALWAYS HAD KEPT HER MEMBERS AND THIER INNCUBATION INDUSTRY THE ASSOCIATION'S FIRST PRIORITY. WE WISH HER A HEALTHY AND HAPPY RETIREMENT WHICH IS WELL DESERVED. --Rich Bendis

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In my last post, I described the trend among angel groups in the US to fund more angel-only deals, primarily because of the changing world of US venture capital. I did so without really describing the characteristics of angel-only deals.

Perhaps I should start by describing angel deals. Oh…I did that in the January 6th New Zealand Herald. See What Start-ups Need to Know to Speak the Language of Angels.

Angel-only deals are startups that can achieve positive cash flow and grow organically using capital raised from angels without any follow-on venture capital investment. Since angels rarely invest more than $1 to $1.5 million in total in any deal, these are startup ventures that can achieve positive cash flow with less than, say $2 million, and usually less than $1 million in equity investment.
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Jess Wells They say that the only common trait among successful entrepreneurs is that they were raised in families headed by successful entrepreneurs, where kids watched first-hand as someone believed in their own ideas, had the courage to take a risk, rode the cash-flow roller coaster, and enjoyed it enough to succeed.

Today, the National Women's Business Council, which advises the Small Business Administration, estimates that in 2008 there were 7.2 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned businesses in the United States, employing 7.3 million people and generating $1.1 trillion in sales. It's estimated that women are starting businesses at twice the rate as any other group of entrepreneurs.
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Pretending to be a CustomerIt's a challenge to objectively examine your own website as if a prospect or customer seeking information would. There's an approach you can follow to get ideas flowing though: Look at a direct competitor's online presence, trying to shoot holes in it based on how a customer might view it.

You should really be able to get into it by answering a few questions:

* What misleading or out-of-date information is presented?

* What's not compelling about the website?
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Garden CityThis is where towns/cities focus on job creation through local small businesses rather than trying to lure an existing business to move there. I’m [Author] looking for a list of curent projects.

The State of Florida has invested in Economic Gardening and launched the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and is deploying the program in six regions through a pilot program. The areas participating include Orlando, Naples, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Jacksonville. check out www.GROWFL.com
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Somewhere along the line some marketer coined the term “point of difference” when advising companies how to stand out and we’ve been running with it ever since. We hear it at every turn – in order to attract customers SMB owners need to establish a POD and what separates them from their competitors out selling similar services. They need to find what makes them unique. Some call it an angle. To me, it’s always been about creating experiences that customers will remember, want to talk about and remain loyal to. It’s about creating something that stands out and has meaning.
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