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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.

Is China really the new emerging Asian innovation leader? No, not yet! For one simple reason: Japan – the former, and still reigning, Asian innovative champion!

In the midst of a veritable media blizzard regarding China’s newly-found innovative prowess (especially with respect to green technologies), and Japan’s -- Toyota’s -- recent embarrassing technical gaffes, it is important not to lose one’s perspective about what innovation really is, and why Japan, despite it’s stalled economy, is still the innovative powerhouse of Asia.

Thomas Friedman has made it fashionable to speak about the world becoming “flat”, and this might actually be happening – to some small extent – when we speak about invention; in other words a lot of people doing research. But, innovation is the ability to produce, apply and distribute these inventions. It is the ability to create positive change by turning new ideas into application. Richard Florida pointed out that “The world is spikey”; and the spikes are centered on the location of powerful multinational corporations with global reach and global brands. These MNCs can take products, processes or business model improvements and turn them into new practices that change the way an entire industry works, on a global scale. New ideas (a commitment to research) are simply not enough. Innovation requires this, for sure, but also the ability to apply these new ideas, and this is where the Sonys, Matsushitas and Nintendos of the world provide a Japanese advantage that China simply does not yet have.

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TIntangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st-Century  Organizationoday, 70% of corporate value is in intangibles. This is most clearly seen in mergers and acquisitions activity but is actually true for every company  This value comes from knowledge that is developed by people and turbocharged by IT. But because our management systems and accounting are still based on industrial-era customs, this value remains invisible, misunderstood and unrecognized.
We have been successful in helping our clients use intangible capital tools to negotiate with merger partners, gain financing, improve performance and build the value of their companies. In early 2008, as we began writing about what we saw as the coming recession, we knew that it was time to take our IC message to a larger market. That fall, we sold our book concept to Praeger and during the dark days of the recession we worked on the manuscript, hoping to contribute to the recovery. I'm happy to say that the book is launching this week.

Making the Most of Intangibles

Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st Century Organization is a practical handbook for every manager struggling to succeed and innovate in today's knowledge-based economy. It explains why intangibles are critical to performance, value and innovation. Why reputation is the new bottom line. And why intangible management skills and tools are critical to the future of your business.

Authors: Mary Adams (Author), Michael Oleksak (Author)

The stench instantly assaulted the senses, almost compelling a visitor to bolt from the bio-energy research lab.

"If it smells funny here, it's because we're turning poop into energy," said Mauricio Espinoza, spokesman for the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster.

In Akron, a Bridgestone executive envisioned the day when tires would be made from a new crop grown by Ohio farmers - Russian dandelions. "The 'green' technology you start to see in tires is a big part of our future," said Bob Handlos, vice president of product development, as he led a tour of the tiremaker's research center.

And in an old building on an Athens side street, Gov. Ted Strickland hoisted a shiny metal cylinder that can provide electrical power for a space satellite for a decade. Over the next four years, Sunpower will build 25 of the Stirling converters for NASA, said Mark Schweizer, the company's chief executive officer.

Handing the cylinder back to Schweizer, Strickland asked how much one costs.

"On the order of $1 million each," Schweizer replied.

"Really!" Strickland said. "Can I hold it again?"

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Everywhere innovation has become a buzzword: in academic journals, popular media, corporate promotional materials and government strategies. The use of the word has rapidly expanded from a noun to its various hyphenated transmutations. Thus, today we don’t only talk of the importance of innovation to societies, but often the importance of specific types of innovation too, such as green innovation, social innovation, open-innovation. The innovation jargon has expanded exponentially with colourful analogies ranging from innovation corridors, clusters, poles, and valleys, to “disruptive” , ‘radical’and ‘incremental’ innovations.

Not surprisingly then, the average policymaker finds herself lost in the maze of innovation studies jargon. Academics and researchers of innovation have produced a new genre of literature that is difficult to use in order to generate effective (policy) solutions. In fact, little in the way of standard public policy analysis finds its way into innovation policy work and hence too often the political, social, and economic feasibility of many recommendations is not taken into consideration.

Sami Mahroum

One reason for this is the tendency of many innovation policy analysts to focus primarily on the big picture, such as the industrial structures of nations, their business cultures, education systems, and legislative frameworks. As a result, governments are often offered recommendations requiring some major socio-economic changes, ranging from calls to overhaul existing educational systems to calls for centralising (or decentralising) governance structures. The malleability, risks and costs of such recommendations often go unnoticed, and the policymaker becomes either sceptical or dismissive despite the validity of many such calls.


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Fast Company Logo In 1968 Andy Warhol famously said, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." And every day it seems like he’s a little bit more on target.

We would more likely say that everyone is given the stage and a microphone, but what will you do to make sure people tune in for a full 15 minutes…or more?

If you were to tell anyone in 1968 that by 2010 we would all be carrying around pocket-sized telephones, with built in movie cameras that would allow us to click a few buttons and show the world our “masterpieces” they would look at you like you came from…well, the future.

Ok, so it’s a bit melodramatic, but we do have the power to create masterpieces and movies-- all in our pockets. The problem is, even though we have the greatest network in history at our fingertips—how can we get people to pay attention? How can you stand out in all the noise that’s being generated every second?

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As the economy pushes more corporate workers out into freelance work, technology is making it easier and cheaper for them to thrive.

Over the past 12 months, a couple of related developments have made it much easier for solo entrepreneurs to keep up on work while on the go, as well as manage relationships with distant clients and partners. For one thing, connections to speedy 3G wireless networks have become widespread among lightweight netbooks and smart phones, making it much easier to get online whenever necessary and tap into powerful applications over the Web.

At the same time, software developers have started offering up more of those Web-based programs—saving solo entrepreneurs from the difficulties of running complex software on their own computers and often allowing free access for small users.

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I recently wrote a piece about how Entrepreneurs Should be Respected, Not Loved.  The premise was that some leaders are too enamored with the approbation of their peers than making the tough decisions in the business that are bound to upset some people.

The corollary to this rule is “decision by indecision.”  This is one of my favorite lines to remind entrepreneurs because it is the sort of garden variety mistake that is so common in everyday life.  It is the anthesis of JFDI.  And I use it so often that my wife must be sick of hearing it.  But that’s mostly because it’s so prevalent.  It affects us all in everyday life.  Decisions by indecision are those where having not made up your mind early enough your options are constrained or gone altogether.

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The Huffington Post is now five years old.

In another five years, the Huffington Post will likely have blown past the few remaining news sites that are still bigger than it is -- the New York Times and CNN, for example -- and become the largest independent news site in the world.

Don't believe it? Let's go to the numbers.

Two-and-a-half years ago, according to Comscore, the Huffington Post was visited by 1.2 million U.S. uniques a month. That compared to 11.1 million at the main site of the New York Times, 5.8 million at the Washington Post, 2.8 million at the Wall Street Journal, and 2.6 million at the LA Times.

chart of the day, monthly uniques for news sites 2007-2010
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bloombergFor the past six months, prominent players in the New York City technology community have loudly – and increasingly – asserted that NYC is “hot,” or “exploding,” or “insert any other dramatic adjective here.”

The individuals making these claims are as smart as they are savvy, and are astutely aware of the value of increased attention on the blogosphere. Although provocative, these declarations have generally lacked hard evidence and usually have been inspired by biased anecdotes from a select few.

I set out to go beyond one-off observations by analyzing concrete macroeconomic data about technology entrepreneurship in NYC. As part of this process, I conducted 35 interviews with local investors, start-up founders, and government officials. It might be a long list of some of the who’s-who of New York, but it is unfortunately far from exhaustive.

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Anthropologist and Babson Entrepreneurship Professor Lisa DiCarlo discusses her off-shore undergraduate course, “Social Responsibility Through Eco-Enterprises in Turkey.” Her research areas include transnational migration, consumption and sustainability, entrepreneurship and creative economy, and the intersection of ethnographic research and social entrepreneurship.

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Despite receiving some bipartisan support, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 failed to attract enough support to pass in the House on Wednesday. As a suspension, the bill required support from two-thirds of the House, but fell short in the final tally, 261-148. The reintroduced bill contained a 50 percent cut in the funding path from the previous version and shortened the authorization period for its programs from five years to three years. The future of the COMPETES Act is unclear, but Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) plans to continue work on the bill.

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On May 19-21, the leaders of ICF's Top Seven Intelligent Communities will share success stories from around the world in creating and retaining the talent that powers an innovation economy.  In 2010, the Building the Broadband Economy Summit theme is about talent and how to keep it. BBE 2010 will offer case studies from Smart21 and Top Seven Intelligent Community leaders who have grappled with this challenge and developed innovative strategies to close the education "last mile."  Confirmed speakers include:

  • Premier Shawn Graham of New Brunswick, Canada, ICF's Visionary of the Year
  • Vice Chairman Christopher Zimmerman, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Mayor Larry O'Brien of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Mike Galloway, Director of City Development, Dundee, Scotland, UK
  • Professor Cheol-Soo Park, SungKyunKwan University, Suwon, South Korea
  • Toomas Sepp, City Secretary, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Dave Carter, Head, Manchester Digital Development Agency, Manchester UK
  • Deputy City Manager Dana McDaniel, City of Dublin, Ohio, USA
  • Mayor J.M.L.N. Mikkers, City of Veldhoven in the Eindhoven Region of the Netherlands
  • Anette Scheibe, CEO, Electrum Foundation & Kista Science City AB, Stockholm Sweden
Who Will Be Named The Intelligent Community of the Year on May 21?
On the final day of BBE2010, ICF will name its Intelligent Community of the Year from one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2010.