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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.

David Lerner If you’re in the mood for a really enjoyable film, I recommend Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. In it he uses the latest movie-making technologies to animate 19th century London in all its dark immensity and brooding menace- from the elegant halls of parliament to the ornate rooms of masonic temples to the labyrinthine sewers beneath the city. The sets and staging in and of themselves are a masterpiece and are simply breathtaking. I think the production designer should be nominated for yet another Academy Award.

I also came to this film with a sensibility that I did not have when I first encountered Holmes as a young boy reading Conan Doyle. I was of course neither an entrepreneur nor an early-stage investor. Not surprisingly, this time, soon after leaving the theater something I had never considered before really hit me. I was struck by the realization that Sherlock would have made an amazing venture capitalist!

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Sir Richard Branson's new submersible, dubbed the Necker Nymph, received widespread media attention. The sleek watercraft is made by Hawkes Ocean Technologies. Image source: Hawkes Ocean TechnologiesI know it’s easy to call for innovation to drive economic growth at any point in history.

And the context of the times can always be sticky. If the United States was flush with venture capital or excess dollars in 2010, it would make the answers and next steps so much easier.

Of course, we are all familiar with the economic times.

The Economist, the august, market-oriented publication, recently reminded readers in the United States of words that always merit attention: Jobless recovery.

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The grand hope today seems to be that venture capital and entrepreneurship can be salvaged by blue-ribbon panels, government initiatives and grand central plans. The buzzword of choice, "clustering," is a notion that has been around a long time in business supply chain circles, but is fairly recent to the venture capital realm.

In the United States, clustering came about spontaneously as VC activity coalesced into geographic focal points for businesses and their financiers with specialized expertise — think medical technologies in Boston, and IT and semiconductors in Silicon Valley.

The generally accepted premise is new clusters can sprout up from grand plans involving flashy incentives such a new government-funded business centres and targeted grant money. Governments are pouring tens of millions of dollars into these nascent clusters in the hope they catch on. This hope is not based on reality.

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Reverse Innovation is a Popular TrendThanks to a number of spectacular successes obtained by blue-chip companies in recent years, Reverse Innovation is becoming a popular trend. Examples include GE's portable ultra-sound equipment designed in China and sold worldwide, LG's low cost air conditioner designed in India and sold worldwide, Renault's Logan low-cost model designed for Eastern European markets and now selling on Western Europe, etc.

In an enlightening article, Vijay Govindarajan outlines a historical perspective from globalisation to reverse innovation, and highlights the key driver behind this evolution: the revenue gap between developed and emerging markets. But there are other drivers that may be less visible but no less powerful.

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President Ma Ying-jeou has identified a draft bill to promote industrial innovation as a major strategy in the effort to develop Taiwan into a global innovation center, an Asia-Pacific trade and economic hub, and the operational headquarters of international enterprises.

In his meeting with Premier Wu Deh-yih on Feb.6, Ma gave a directive for an all-out effort to be made to pass the bill, which failed to clear the legislative floor before the last session closed at the end of 2009.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the issue: United Daily News: President Ma has said that the provisions of the draft statute should just benefit large enterprises.

The day after a meeting with the president, Premier Wu said the bill, which is meant to fill the void left by the invalidated Statute for Upgrading Industry, will also include provisions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and traditional industries.

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Mike Michalowicz is the author of the book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, a great book for first-time entrepreneurs. He’s launched three multimillion-dollar companies, including Obsidian Launch, a company that partners with first-time entrepreneurs to grow their concepts into industry leaders.

In terms of resources, Mike explains that when you have a company with a staff of five people, you’ll find a way to use them. You might not use them efficiently, but you’ll use them. The same thing goes for money, or for any other resource.

However, when you have scarcity you become very disciplined and get the most return from the few resources that you have. Mike argues that this is the best way to grow a business. He adds that he’s an advocate for the scrapper entrepreneur: the people who are willing to dumpster-dive to get their business to succeed. Here’s a quote from Mike:

“I discovered that it does not take money to make money. In fact, it is the lack of money that forces innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. And when you are a startup entrepreneur with no money, you start finding new, unexpected ways to get things done. Ironically, if you had a fat wallet, you would be blinded to the innovations you could bring about.” (Source.)
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DefenseNewsTEL AVIV - Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is revamping its corporate culture, emphasizing accountability and fiscal discipline in a bid to boost efficiency, growth and its competitive standing in the world market.

With a record backlog exceeding $8 billion and an advanced technology portfolio spanning the full spectrum of aerospace and defense, the state-owned company is Israel's largest exporter and its undisputed flagship of industrial strength.

Two years of streamlining efforts are changing both day-to-day business practices and overall development and investment strategy, executives here say. For example, IAI has overhauled its pricing process and imposed draconian guidelines on oversight.

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It’s great to get recognition for your small business and it’s even better if that recognition comes with great prizes. This list of competitions and awards for small businesses is updated every two weeks and brought to you as a community service by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com.

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BERLIN and MUMBAI, India, February 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovation by Germany's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry is a key to rapid economic recovery. Europe's largest market and a propeller of cutting-edge technology, Germany's IT industry is responsible for 80 percent of German innovations in all industries. Left relatively unscathed by the downturn, ICT has continued to perform well worldwide. Germany Trade & Invest will be presenting the latest in ICT innovation at this year's NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2010 from February 9 - 11 in Mumbai, India.

Germany is leveraging its strong position in ICT innovation to boost future growth. The industry posted over EUR 133 billion in revenue in 2008 and holds 19 percent of the European ICT market. To secure this position Germany has boosted funding for research and development projects. The government's High-Tech Strategy supports the ICT industry with over EUR 1.5 billion reserved for ICT R&D projects. Over EUR 15 billion is additionally available for project grants and research funding to further promote innovation.

The ICT industry has an umbrella effect on other sectors, which is evident in the number of patents the industry registers. These innovations contribute to industries such as automotive, medical technologies and logistics industries. With 1,800 patents in 2007, Germany was behind only the USA and Japan.

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Julia Goines of Pediatric Bioscience in Davis tests blood samples in her research on autism. The company grew out of breakthrough work done at UC Davis.From biofuels to pharmaceuticals, Sacramento-area inventors have created scores of promising scientific breakthroughs, many of them in the well-funded laboratories of UC Davis.

Turning those inventions into jobs and wealth is hard, however. Starting a high-tech company in Sacramento means overcoming the region's risk-averse mind-set, a scarcity of big-money investors and the allure of the Bay Area's tech-friendly landscape.

In at least one respect, though, the climate for entrepreneurs seems to be getting better. After decades of indifference, the University of California, Davis, is laboring to convert its massive portfolio of scientific research into products that could help transform the Sacramento economy.

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The new brand name Xfinity will first appear in Comcast ads around the time of the Winter Olympics in 11 markets, including Seattle. PHILADELPHIA — The Comcast cable guy and his truck are getting a new look.

The Philadelphia cable giant last week said it would rebrand its TV, Internet and telephone services as Xfinity on Friday to signal to customers that this isn't the same old company.

Comcast will remain as the corporate name, but the company will emphasize Xfinity in advertisements and on 24,000 service trucks and thousands of employee uniforms.

The new brand name will first appear in Comcast ads around the time of the Winter Olympics in 11 markets, including Seattle, and will then appear in Comcast's cable franchise areas in other parts of the country.

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Dr. Steven BerglasImportant reminders for all the mothers, corporate soldiers and baby boomers looking to launch.

There is a swelling class of first-time entrepreneurs, and they need help.

This class includes, among others, mompreneurs (women who saw business-building as a way to bolster their retirement stash and waning self-esteem from being out of the workforce for years); homepreneurs (recently laid-off cubicle warriors, or just those fed up with their 90-minute commutes); and boomerpreneurs (50- to 70-year-old careerists driven to pursue lifelong dreams while they still have the health and gumption to do it).

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