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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.

The recurring question I hear from so many people in business is: “Why aren’t more startups generated by the university system?” It’s not an easy question, certainly not one to be solved in a single blog post. As I considered the many facets of academia that influence the actions of its researchers such as government policies, university culture, funding agency metrics and so forth, I realized that the obstacles and challenges faced by professors are similar to those of most any startup.

Academic scientists must in fact be entrepreneurial minded in order to maintain the funding they need to not only survive, but thrive in academia. The outsider would be mistaken, however, if they consider the lack commercialization from academia as a sign of a lack of entrepreneurial muster. Considering an academic lab as a startup in its own right, most researcher professors make a wise entrepreneurial decision by remaining focused and not spinning out one of their ideas into a new company.

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LYON, France, March 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Founded by EMLYON School Business and KPMG S.A., the World Entrepreneurship Forum is the first global Think-tank dedicated to entrepreneurs, creators of wealth and social justice. It benefits from the high patronage of Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic and gathers annually more than 100 international personalities, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, political leaders and experts selected from 40 countries.

Creation of the first "World Entrepreneurship Centres"

Argentina and Singapore are the first countries where regional chapters of the World Entrepreneurship Forum will be created. These chapters, directed locally by members of the think tank, will gather throughout the year local entrepreneurs and decision-makers who will debate global issues with their vision and experience of the local reality. These centres will be places of identification and observation of the best practices, and they will feed the debates carried out on a global level.

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The $50 million angel tax credit passed by the Minnesota legislature Monday will no doubt provide much needed early stage capital for young start-ups. But the law’s biggest benefit may not be dollars and cents but rather how outsiders see Minnesota and how Minnesota sees itself.

By passing the bill quickly in the legislative year and with such overwhelming bipartisan support in the face of a $2 billion budget gap, lawmakers have instantly established Minnesota as a credible place to innovate and embrace risk, investors and entrepreneurs say. That’s quite a departure from the traditional rap on Minnesota, a high tax state whose 19 Fortune 500 companies had made its residents and leaders complacent and timid.

“People always whispered about these things but were too scared to say anything,” said Peter Bianco, director of life science business development for Nilan Johnson Lewis in Minneapolis. The angel credit will spark “an awakening that changes people’s attitudes and help us get out of this funk.”

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What might future explorers of the solar system see? Find out by taking an interactive tour through the eyes of Hugo Award-winning artist Ron Miller. Text and narration by Ed Bell.

Artist Ron Miller takes us on a journey to eight of the most breathtaking views that await explorers of our solar system.  The scale of these natural wonders dwarfs anything Earth has to offer.  What might we see and feel if we could travel to these distant domains?  By interpreting data from probes such as NASA's Cassini, which is now exploring the Saturnian system, and MESSENGER, which goes into orbit around Mercury in March 2011, the artist's eye allows us an early visit to these unforgettable locales.

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The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it is investing $37.5 million in joint research initiatives with organizations in China over the next five years. After this sum is matched by private organizations, about $75 million will go toward U.S. efforts to improve energy efficiency, clean coal technologies, carbon sequestration and green vehicles.

Specifically, the money will be used to construct a U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, which will have branches in both countries. China will kick in another $75 million to develop technologies it can use to cut carbon emissions and become more energy efficient. With electric cars rolling out en masse in both countries in the next two years, this kind of research is more critical than ever.

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Are You Fit to Work From Home?This is part two of a three part series on start-up success. The first blog post was about developing a life plan before writing a business plan. This post is about being a successful home-based business. Part three will be about the top reasons why start-up businesses fail and how to avoid that fate.

When you are starting out in business it is best to keep your overhead expenses as low as possible.  One great way to do this is to work from home.  Your spare bedroom, basement or kitchen table will do just fine as an office until you are making enough money to pay for professional office space.

One of the key considerations in working from home is – can you handle it? One really is the loneliest number.  I have a few tips for evaluating whether you are fit to work from home.  Sometimes when you work from home, the people closest to you might not take your work seriously.  I remember when I first started my business, my boyfriend who is now my husband of more than a decade, would call in the middle of the day to ask me to grab his shirts from the dry cleaners. (By the way, he’s been getting his own dry cleaning, for years now.)

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The New Technology Economic ModelThe saving of Luton and indeed of Britain, (restoring our 'Great' prefix) would be the New Technology Economic Model, a 'model' which has been identified around the world with USA, Canada and Malaysia taking a keen interest. The basic principle is the use of technological innovation to drive the economy. Today, the US has an economic stimulus package in basic R&D, biomedical research facilities and essential broadband infrastructure as a response to their economic environment. A major research university can provide a huge economic boost to a regional economy with the University of Calgary (Canada) benefiting Alberta economy about $50 million per year circa 1994, including faculty and professional staff knowledge transfer. Spin-off companies commercialise intellectual property from university laboratories and are significant drivers of innovation appearing to effectively transfer technology out of universities, leading to job and wealth creation. However to contribute to economic growth, they must survive and succeed. Canada reports over 80% of their spin-off companies are still in business five years from start-up.

It is generally recognized that developed countries are moving to economies based on commercialising intellectual property and other intangible assets. In these new economies, concepts such as patents, copyrights, customer relationships, brand value, unique institutional designs, the value of future products and services and their structural capital (culture, systems and processes) are critically important to a region’s businesses. Economic performance is determined by a region’s effectiveness in using its comparative advantages to create and expand knowledge assets and convert them into economic value.

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PricewaterhouseCoopersCities of Opportunity presents a rich view of city life at an important point in time. While many significant challenges remain the worst of the economic downturn may have passed. Growth is returning to many parts of the world. Forward-looking action on key social and economic issues can make major advancements for many. As the home to most of the world’s population and intellectual and economic capital, cities will be at the forefront of progress.

Central Park, New York CityEducation, energy, transportation, waste and water, health care, sustainability and urban migration are just a few of the areas where significant gains can be made if wise policies are pursued by the world’s leading cities.

It is in this light that Cities of Opportunity takes both a quantitative and qualitative look at the emerging picture of city life in 21 capitals of business, finance and culture worldwide. To a great extent, the successes and shortcomings that surface in the study substantiate the central thesis of our research: the more well-balanced a city is for both businesses and residents, the better it will fare.

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It takes more than ensuring educators and students have access to technology when schools begin the work of developing a 21st century strategic school plan. As innovative educators, students, leaders, and families, are well aware, technology is just a tool. In and of itself technology does not equate to either innovation or greater effectiveness. In fact poorly used technology generally results in substandard instruction. In some cases this further results in dropping technology-(rather than learner) driven programs and support. This is important to remember when developing a strategic school learning plan. What's most important is learning always come first.

I've heard one too many educational leader, teacher or parent proudly state that they are part of an innovative school as evidenced by the fact that they have laptops or Smartboards in every classroom. That is not impressive. What is impressive is when the conversation begins with how student learning is enriched in new ways and learners are engaged with innovative tools and ideas. I was recently asked by a school leader for feedback on how to ensure their school's strategic planning could help ensure educators were preparing 21st century learners for success. Here is what I shared.

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Ciarán Ó CatháinEnterprise Ireland launch their latest call for innovation vouchers tomorrow, 1 April. Each voucher is worth €5,000 and allows small companies to contract a third level institution to undertake research to solve a business problem or identify new opportunities.

According to EI, the objective of the initiative is ‘to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers and small businesses and create a cultural shift in the small business community’s approach to innovation’.

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Last June, President Obama announced in Cairo, Egypt that the U.S. government will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship to identify how we can deepen ties between leaders, foundations, and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Muslim communities around the world. Throughout April leading up to the April 26th summit, I will comment on the state of entrepreneurship in some of the nations participating which I will be attending in the hope of prompting further observations from readers.

Egypt is one the first countries that comes to mind when I think about entrepreneurship and the Muslim world. For the fourth time, Egypt ranked among the top 10 global reformers in the 2008/09 period, according World Bank’s Doing Business in the Arab World 2010 report. The report considers the country to be a comprehensive reformer; Egypt implemented at least 19 reforms, covering 8 or more of the 10 areas measured by Doing Business.

In its reform efforts, Egypt is inclusive, involving many relevant players of an entrepreneurial economy. This was evident at a very well attended launch of last year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week in Egypt, which included the Minister of Education, the President of the Financial Supervisory Authority and a wide array of business, cultural and academic leaders tapping the expertise of several organizations, such as the Middle East Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the local universities, and the development agencies.  The event discussed how to build an entrepreneurial environment through education, cultural change and pro-entrepreneurship policies.

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candles earth hour 2010Another Earth Hour has passed by this weekend. Electrical systems across the globe were shut down to observe, for an hour, that energy is precious. In this moment, we also acknowledge that as humanity, we have the power to do better for ourselves. One great thing about Earth Hour is the photos. If you haven't yet, check out the brilliant photo essay at on Earth Hour 2010.

If you haven't taken initiative to shut down your computer yet, read on to get a refresher on how better computing resource utilization creates a better world.

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