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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.

HomeSAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley may be the cradle for tech start-ups, but some foreign-born executives, engineers and scientists are leaving because of better opportunities back home, strict immigration laws here and the dreary California economy with its high cost of living.

Software engineer Vinod Kumar is staying with EMC but moving to his homeland of India after a decade in the Valley. Eric Diep hasn't given up entirely on the Valley. But most employees at his social-gaming start-up, A Thinking Ape, are in another office in his native Canada.

The 2-year-old company is shifting people to Vancouver, where it says engineering talent is more affordable, the government is more supportive and work visas are less hassle.

The talent-exodus problems don't end there. Fewer foreign students are coming to the Valley to earn engineering and science degrees, according to the Silicon Valley Index, which takes the economic pulse of the Valley each year.

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2010 ACA Summit, May 5 – 7 in San Francisco, CA

The Angel Capital Association’s annual conference includes best practices and networking with peers and “rock star” investors. The event attracts angels who invest in groups from around the world. ACEF offers a Pre-Summit agenda that includes several full- and half-day professional education workshops and seminars.

Exit: CoreNetwork Has Exit in Twelve Months with Pump Engineering, LLC


CoreNetwork of Toledo, OH recently completed a successful exit with Pump Engineering, LLC, doubling the angel group’s investment in about twelve months. This is the group’s third successful exit in six years.

C Corporation Versus LLC: Which Entity Should Angels Invest In?


Angel groups invest in LLCs and C corporations. Depending on investor objectives, there are advantages and limitations to each type of entity. These considerations are addressed from legal, accounting, and angels’ points of view.

(More articles on the Site)
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The Chinese government is offering to subsidize the creation of a trans-Eurasian rail system that would have direct, high-speed links between Beijing and London. It would be the largest infrastructure project ever attempted. Trains would also run to India, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia.

Wang said Beijing was already in negotiations with 17 countries over the rail lines, which would also allow China to transport raw materials more efficiently.

"It was not China that pushed the idea to start with," said Wang. "It was the other countries that came to us, especially India. These countries cannot fully implement the construction of a high-speed rail network and they hoped to draw on our experience and technology."

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So what makes one a ’successful’ entrepreneur?

Let me start with a premise: Success is generally measured alongside monetary health of a venture. Rightly so coz numbers are the bloodline of any business. So let me define a ‘successful entrepreneur’ as the one who has a venture which has a sound monetary health.

Over the last few years, I too have been in pursuit of a ‘magic potion’ that makes the entrepreneurs all that we worship. When I read about entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and many who dropped-out of college, it appeared to be one of the magic mantra of becoming a success story. Drop out, start a venture, rule the world – in three simple steps.

But after a couple of years, I realized that the ploy is far more complicated. Local society has a bearing on one’s entrepreneurial life too and therefore, following the Indian success stories made more sense than following the western ones. I came across the Naukri.com story and Makemytrip.com – both the entrepreneurs did their MBAs from the best Management Institute in the country – worked in a corporate for few years and then did their start ups.

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Economy Which WaySan Diego’s innovation economy obviously imploded last year—dragged down by general economic conditions that were hammered by the collapse in Southern California real estate, the breakdown of the capital markets, and a decline in tourism. Now there are signs that things are stabilizing, and might even be gradually improving, according to several reports released last week.

In a report on San Diego’s innovation economy, the Connect nonprofit group for technology and entrepreneurship found that 319 startups were launched in 2009—including 74 in the fourth quarter. That’s about 13 percent better than the 282 local startups that Connect counted in 2008, but still shy of the 332 startups formed in 2007. In its roundup of San Diego’s innovation economy, Connect also makes these points:

—The value of M&A deals in the San Diego area soared during the fourth quarter. Connect tallied 29 deals totaling nearly $1.3 billion that were closed, compared with 32 deals totaling $99 million in the previous quarter.

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On the flight from Toronto to Seoul I had a chance to read a Harvard Business Review back issue from December 2009. In it was a great article titled: The Innovator’s DNA. The article talked about the characteristics of great innovators – how they think. It boiled down to five key skills.

  1. Associating – the ability connect seemingly unrelated questions, ideas or problems from different fields. It is about finding the intersections of different disciplines.
  2. Questioning – innovators constantly ask questions. They question the unquestionable. They ask “what-if?, “Why?”, “Why not?” They get a kick out of messing with the status quo.
  3. Observing – scrutinizing everything from common phenomena to outliers. They watch, and in doing so, question, and associate.
  4. Experimenting – innovators experiment with ideas, intellectually, and in the real world. They go see for themselves, try new things, observe the outcomes.
  5. Networking – innovators devote time and energy testing ideas through a diverse network of individuals from different disciplines and backgrounds. They go out of their way to find radical opinions. They travel, visit people of different cultures and ways of thinking.

They practice, practice, practice and over time become confident in their creative skills. Innovators are willing to take risks. They want to make a difference in the world.

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Manor Labs Innovation IncubatorBack in October of 2009, Manor, Texas launched an initiative in collaboration with Stanford University’s Peace Dot project that positioned the entire city of 6500 residents as an open innovation platform. Called Manor Labs, the program seeks to turn the town into a real-world incubator for change, exploring the ways that emerging technologies can bring efficiencies to city agencies and raise overall quality of life for the residents. The idea is to eliminate the barriers associated with taking new processes from the concept stage and scaling them up to work within the framework existing institutions. The theory being that there is no virtual model that can replace the results gleaned from testing out feasibility in an actual setting.

To that end, Manor Labs is a truly global initiative that encourages proposals and from developers and thinkers from around the world who are interested in trailing their solutions for improving everything from public works and city development to mobile information technology. Manor’s CIO explains the solicitation process in the video below:

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Brainstorm iconThis weekend, the nation was transfixed by drama, as one side, then the other, seemed sure to win, and then finally a dramatic upset occurred. No, not health care, but the NCAA basketball tournament, where, for the first time ever, a No. 1 seed (Kansas) lost in the first round to Northern Iowa, on a three-point shot at the final buzzer. I am not a sports fan, but my boyfriend pointed out that the really interesting thing about the game was the name of the all-American lad from West High School in Iowa City who made the winning shot -- Ali Farokmanesh.

Ali's father, a former player for the Iranian Olympic volleyball team, came to America for an education and stayed here. Ali, says one of his teammates, is "one of the hardest workers I've ever met." He has never seen his grandparents, or Iranian aunts and uncles.

Elsewhere in the NCAA, St. Mary's, a small Catholic university, knocked out second-seed Villanova.  The big star? A 6' 11" garrulous, trash-talking, self-described "slow white guy" -- Omar Samhan.  Omar's father came here from Egypt, he grew up in California, and when it was time to go to college, his Muslim parents, who Omar describes as "pretty liberal," let him "go where I wanted and had the best chance to play."

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strongest insect beetle weightEven if a grown man could pull 95,000 kilograms, he still would get shown up by the newly crowned world's strongest insect—proportionally speaking.

Researchers recently discovered that this honor should go to the Onthophagus taurus dung beetle, whose strongest males can pull some 1,140 times their own body weight, the research team reported in a press release. (Consolations to the rhinoceros beetle, which has frequently been given the title for pulling about 850 times its weight.) The findings came about as part of a study published online March 23 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Insects are well known for being able to perform amazing feats of strength, and it's all on account of their curious sex lives," Robert Knell, of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London, and lead author of the study, said in a prepared statement.

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The recently published InnovationTools 2010 Innovation Climate Survey contains some excellent insights and indicators that innovation is once again on the upswing – at least among a large chunk of respondents.

But it also underscores a persistent misunderstanding of what innovation really is and why it’s different from creativity, ideation, invention or product development. There’s also an over-emphasis on the front end of innovation – the ideation phase – when most breakthrough innovation typically occurs at the back-end – the commercialization phase – where invention becomes market disruption.

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Ending months of speculation, Google on Monday stopped censoring search results in China.

The company has done so by redirecting searchers who arrive at Google.cn, its search site in China, to Google.com.hk, which relies on servers based in Hong Kong.

Google's chief legal officer David Drummond, in a blog post, explained that figuring out how to keep the company's promise to stop censoring Google Search, Google News, and Google Images on Google.cn was difficult.

"We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement," he said. "We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced -- it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services."

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Life Plan Before Business PlanThis blog post kicks off a three part series on Start-up Success for Small Business Trends.  This first blog post is about a step in business planning that is often overlooked.  Part II, we’ll look at “Working from home?” and Part III will be about the “Top reasons why start-up businesses fail and what you can do about it.”

Many people dream about owning a small business. You may be one of those people who have had a “notion” for years that someday you would be president of a company, successful beyond your wildest dreams. Turning that dream into reality is an evolutionary process. It involves not only having a solid business idea but also knowing the “business of running a business.” You will need to get your arms around stuff like accounting, marketing, and operations, but before you dive into crunching numbers for your business plan, consider this:

It is my strong belief that would-be entrepreneurs need to develop a life plan before they ever write a business plan. Why, you ask?

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