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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.

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ford announced today that it has broadened its Advanced Research and Innovation community through open collaboration with local university professors and students on its industry-leading in-vehicle connectivity system, Ford SYNC.

Through the open innovation model, Ford is deepening its collaboration efforts in high-impact research with academia's brightest minds. As part of this initiative, Ford will receive strategic insight that will enhance the in-car experience for drivers, and drive demand for new features in Ford vehicles.

 

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Some prominent economists tell us we are starting to come out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, but many worry the uptick won’t last.

Since December 2007, Americans lost $13 trillion in household wealth, and our country is swimming in red ink. Today, the federal debt is $11.4 trillion and growing because of a new round of federal spending. Some economists project it could reach $17 trillion in the next decade if Congress and President Obama continue at their current pace.

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There is no better example of the benefits afforded by federal funding in the fields of science and technology than the recent near sweep of the Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine by Americans, the majority of who relied upon substantial public support to make the breakthroughs that are today benefiting the nation and the world.

Of the nine Nobel winners in chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine, eight are U.S. citizens and at least six of those leveraged federal research dollars to reach their pinnacles of success.

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I regularly teach classes on entrepreneurship and new venture development, and more than occasionally drop in to provide my perspective on topics of interest to those forming or funding technology-driven, high-growth companies. Since I have been spending a lot more time up in front of students (and, thus, getting peppered with great questions), I have been giving a lot of thought to what passes for “entrepreneurial strategy” courses (or sections of courses). To me, it seems that the bulk of entrepreneurship pedagogy has, in a relatively brutish way, simply ported over the issues relevant in a typical strategic management class and attempted to convert those topics into material appropriate to the new venture setting. The more I think about it, the less persuaded I am that this is helpful for students; and I continue to have my suspicions that this approach forwards the research frontier.

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Fifteen invited university teams, representing four continents and eight countries, will descend upon Austin on October 30-31st for the 7th Annual Idea to Product Global Competition. The teams will present their breakthrough technology commercialization plans and compete for over $52,500 in cash prizes that may be used to advance their innovations, as well as a chance to enter the Global MOOTCORP® competition. Each year, the competition draws a large audience from Austin’s technology and entrepreneurial community. The even is in the AT&T Conference Center.

The competition will debut three themed championship tracks and a technology showcase where you can see the teams’ innovative technologies. Which technologies will become the next cure for cancer? Which technologies have a potential to revolutionize the battery technology? What technology will answer the world’s changing energy demands? What technology will drastically improve quality of life for less-privileged communities around the world?

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If you want a Small Business Administration loan, you better act fast -- in a couple of months, the agency will run out of the $375 million in economic stimulus funds that made the program more attractive to lenders.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enabled the SBA to increase its guarantee on 7(a) business loans to 90 percent, up from its usual 75 percent to 85 percent. The stimulus bill also allowed the SBA to reduce or eliminate fees on 7(a) loans and its 504 loans, which are primarily used for real estate.

 

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A plan that proposes a $100-million, five- year pilot federal program to accelerate the commercialization of university-developed technologies was praised by a top White House Office of S&T Policy (OSTP) official last week at a Capitol Hill briefing organized by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

The plan is contained in a 14-page white paper, IMPACT: Innovation Model Program for Accelerating the Commercialization of Technologies, prepared by Univ. of Southern California vice provost for innovation Krisztina Holly (also known as ‘Z’). It outlines an initiative that would use federal funding to coax existing university research results into the US commercial marketplace through ten local demonstration sites or centers. Each center would be funded at a level of $2-million per year for five years to “nurture a culture of entrepreneurship within each university, create and enhance the innovation ecosystem around each university, and provide the resources necessary for researchers to effectively translate their ideas into societal impact.”

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In fighting technology, neo-Luddites claim to be protectors of the general well-being. What they're really doing is safeguarding their own interests

More than 50 years ago, noted economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote, "The resistance which comes from interests threatened by an innovation in the productive process is not likely to die out as long as the capitalist order persists." He might have been more prescient if he had said that such resistance would actually strengthen over time.

A growing array of neo-Luddites (they get their name from Englishman Ned Ludd, whose followers sabotaged textile factories at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution) views new technology as a threat, not as progress. A host of organizations—ranging from liberal groups such as the ACLU to conservative ones such as the Eagle Forum—is fighting innovations like mobile commerce, smart IDs, behavioral targeting on the Internet, and the use of IT in health care, decrying them as threats to privacy and civil liberties.

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Welfare Reform For Start-Ups - The EVCA is preparing to ask European governments to withdraw funding for start-ups in favor of raising a pan-European fund of funds, according to our colleagues at Private Equity News. The goal is to “produce a more sustainable sector” by weaning companies off public funding and drawing more private capital to finance innovation.

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SAN FRANCISCO - EDITOR'S NOTE -- One in a series of stories assessing how last fall's financial meltdown and the Great Recession have changed our lives.

Our economy sure could use the Next Big Thing. Something on the scale of railroads, automobiles or the Internet -- the kind of breakthrough that emerges every so often and builds industries, generates jobs and mints fortunes.

Silicon Valley investors are pointing to something called cleantech -- alternative energy, more efficient power distribution and new ways to store electricity, all with minimal impact to the environment -- as a candidate for the next boom.

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My big insight about innovation these days would make Nobel Prize winner, Niels Bohr, proud.

"Now that we have met with paradox," explained Dr. Bohr, "we have some hope of making progress."

Innovation is full of it -- paradox, that is.

On one hand, organizations want structures, maps, models, guidelines, and systems. On the other hand, that's all too often the stuff that squelches innovation, driving it underground or out the door.

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The smell of high-tech regulation is increasingly in the air these days and many lawmakers and some activist groups now have the mobile marketplace in their regulatory cross-hairs. Critics make a variety of claims about the wireless market supposedly lacking competition, choice, innovation, or reasonable pricing. Consequently, they want to wrap America’s wireless sector in a sea of red tape. Two important new studies thoroughly debunk these assertions and set the record straight regarding the state of wireless competition and innovation in the U.S. today. These reports are must-reading for Washington policymakers and FCC officials who are currently contemplating regulatory action.

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