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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.

Debates about women in technology are like merry-go-rounds: There’s a lot of movement and excitement but you always end up back in the same place.

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington argued that in Silicon Valley (and by extension, the tech business in general) success is based on merit alone and that nobody is keeping women down. The problem, as far as he is concerned, is simply that women just don’t want to start companies. These are arguments I’ve heard before — and that are, at best, naïve.  Merit alone is rarely enough to ensure success and women are starting more companies than ever (if not in technology). But instead of getting mired in arguments and counterarguments, I’ll make some suggestions on how to change the situation for the better.

I’ve written before about how to get more women into technology. How do we maximize the female assets already out there?

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Cover of the National Science Board report Preparing the Next Generation of STEM InnovatorsThe development of the nation's human capital through our education system is an essential building block for future innovation. Currently, the abilities of far too many of America's young men and women go unrecognized and underdeveloped, and, thus, these individuals may fail to reach their full potential. This represents a loss for both the individual and society. There are talented students with enormous potential from every demographic and from every part of our country who, with hard work and the proper educational opportunities, will form the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) innovators.

The purpose of the STEM Innovators project was to explore ways that the country can foster the development of our next generation of leading STEM professionals, entrepreneurs, and inventors, who will form the future vanguard of discovery in science and technology. The Board's rationale for this project was twofold:

  1. The nation's economic prosperity, security, and quality of life depends on the identification and development of our next generation of STEM innovators; and,
  2. Every student in America should be given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.
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John Osher, developer of the low-cost spin toothbrush, was a successful entrepreneur because he thought differently. William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, breaks down the three most important factors in Osher’s success in this entrepreneur thought leader lecture given at Stanford University in 2007.

The key to improving your fortunes, he says, comes down to:

* Reflecting on your experience to improve your understanding.
* Looking at the situation differently to successfully innovate.
* Scanning your environment to find new opportunities.

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Tidal turbine technology company Openhydro, pictured, raised €15 million last year
Photograph: Alan Betson and Trevor McBride
If the Republic is to be a hub for green finance, a new economic model needs to be put in place, writes SUZANNE LYNCH

IN THE coming weeks a major initiative on the “Green IFSC”, mooted earlier this year, is due to come before Cabinet. Led by a group called the IFSC Clearing House Group, the initiative will outline a strategy for Ireland to position itself as a hub for green finance.

The notion of a “green economy” has been held up by policymakers and industry leaders as the great hope for enterprise and jobs. Last November, the high-level action group on green enterprise, formed by Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan, concluded green jobs in Ireland could account for 4 per cent of total employment by 2020.

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Now that September is here, venture capital activity will pick up as usual. That's not to say that tons of VC deals were done over the summer; since they were.

Here are a few of the companies who raised venture capital in August that I found really interesting.

JiWire: JiWire has created an advertising network which reaches users at wi-fi hotspots. The company raised $2.1 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Panorama Capital and Comcast Interactive Capital.

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A new survey from the Pew Internet research group says that applications on cell phones don't mean a thing to the vast majority of Americans.

Of all cellphone owning adults, Pew says 29% are using apps. More important for cell phone owners is taking pictures, text messaging, emailing and a number of other activities.

chart of the day apps
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Financing a new business is never easy in today’s credit crunch times. The lending market is getting tight especially for the new and upcoming entrepreneurs, as no one is willing to take the risk of lending money for starting a business. However, it does not mean your new business venture cannot qualify for any financial support. Still there are several opportunities available for funding a new business. Less is known about angel investing as compared to venture capital, due to the privacy of their investments. However, these are the key points to consider in order to make the right choice.

Investment size

The range of venture capital funding is larger than the one of angel investors. Angels act alone or in organized groups and invest their own money. Venture capital firms are corporate entities that pool money from a range of investors to make larger investments.

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Earlier this week, we flagged a digital archive of comic books from the Golden Age. Now we stumble upon this nugget from the same era: A video archive that showcases the complete Superman animated cartoon series from the early 40′s, all in Technicolor. Based on the original DC Comics character, these 17 episodes appeared on American movie screens (before the showing of feature films) between 1941 and 1943. And they were taken seriously as an art form.

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As promised in an earlier post, I now have the capability to add a standardized metropolitan-region field to any entry in my tbed database. Consequently, I’ve spent a few hours a week for the last several months revisiting my roughly 1,700 entries, adding, dropping, and revising as necessary to account for the ebb and flow of state and federal programming.

One of the categories I try and track is “national centers,” a broad rubric under which I’ve included major university-based, tbed-oriented research centers sponsored by federal agencies such as NSF, DOE, NASA, parts of DOD, and NIH. There you can sample a dense acronym soup: ERCs, MRSECs, STCs, NSECs, CTSAs, and so on. In the course of my data validation, I made some new observations about one particular acronym: I/U CRCs, the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers program of the National Science Foundation.

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17 September 2010: Revolutionary artificial foam which captures and converts the sun's energy more effectively than living organisms, has won The Earth Awards 2010.

The Photosynthetic Foam won the $50,000 prize after being selected from over 500 entries from around the world. The team pitched to an audience of leading CEOs and investors at a Dragon's Den style Summit held in partnership with the Financial Times at Marlborough House, London.

University of Cincinnati Professors David Wendell's and Carlo Montemagno's Photosynthetic Foam is a more land efficient means of producing biofuels because it is not reliant on soil as it is a synthetic material.

The UC Professors' manufactured system of photosynthesis means that all captured energy is converted to sugars, unlike natural plant photosynthesis where a large amount of energy is used to maintain the life of the organism. In short, the foam is a far more efficient and versatile energy production platform, presenting new opportunities for developments in the field of renewable energy.

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After building a 7 figure income from scratch in the past 24 months, there are 5 Components of Successful Entrepreneurship that I feel are critical in order to truly succeed in today’s marketplace.

I shared this information on my sister in law’s Internet Radio Show called Nothing But the Truth with Anh Vu on Money Mondays, so just in case you missed the show LIVE, here are my notes:

#1 – Know Exactly Why You Want to be an Entrepreneur

Your reasons for wanting to be successful have to be much more than just “making money”.

Now of course making money is great but you must know exactly why you want to make a lot of money.

It could be that you want more free time for yourself, or time w/ your spouse, or kids.

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Cambridge, England's position as the Silicon Valley of the UK seems to have "weathered the economic downturn well" according to a report today in the Economist.

Cambridge, one of the largest clusters of its kind in Britain, or Europe, is home to the Cambridge Science Park, and in many ways, the region is a dead ringer Silicon Valley.

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