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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.

MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning is researching how economic development organizations are working with small businesses to address market opportunities or needs related to global climate change and the “green economy.” The department is currently looking for economic development organizations to complete a brief, voluntary survey relating to "green" programs and activities. Please take 10 minutes to complete this brief, voluntary survey. Results will be shared with the economic development community and be made publicly available. Questions regarding this survey may be sent to Karl Seidman or (617) 253-3964 or Rebecca Economos.

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"I am investing in several ideas outside the foundation" Bill Gates noted in the annual Gates Foundation letter.

So where is one of the the worlds richest men investing his own money since leaving Microsoft?

Energy technology is one sector, an area where Gates has indicated he is spending a great deal of effort.

In the interview below, Gates told a reporter that he invested $20 million in Vinod Khosla's green business fund.

Author: CNET Video

[The Deal Professor by Steven M. Davidoff] The time for regulatory reform is nigh. The bulk of attention is directed at financial institutions and addressing systemic risk, but private equity is being caught in the regulatory wave. Current regulatory proposals have the potential to change the way private equity conducts business both domestically and internationally. Here are some of the significant issues:

The first possible regulatory change is the registration of private equity fund advisers. The current proposed House financial regulatory bill eliminates the “private adviser” exemption previously relied upon by many private equity funds to avoid registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other requirements under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

The House bill takes away this exemption and requires any adviser to a “private fund” to, among other items, register with the S.E.C. and become subject to S.E.C. examination. The House bill also creates a new exemption from these requirements for private equity firms with assets less than $150 million and venture capital funds. The Senate bill eliminates this exemption but then sets up a new exemption for private equity funds and family offices. Both these terms are to be defined by the S.E.C., as is what a venture capital fund is. The Senate bill also exempts funds with less than $100 million in assets under management.

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Today, Athena Alliance is releasing a new Policy Brief Intellectual Capital and Revitalizing Manufacturing which makes a number of recommendations to directly incorporate intellectual capital into a manufacturing strategy and best position the United States for accelerated job, productivity, and economic growth in the coming years.
The Policy Brief takes as its starting point the White House paper released last December -- A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing.  The Administration's Framework makes an excellent case that the federal government has a strong role to play in reinvigorating this important sector of the U.S. economy. It outlines the challenges facing manufacturing while describing the opportunities in new product areas. However, the ongoing transformation in manufacturing to a knowledge-intensive activity will require attention to all the inputs to the production process technology, worker skills, and  organizational structures. The Framework recognizes that the nature of the economy has changed and implicitly accepts this basic premise. Intellectual capital, such as patents from research and development as well as managerial know-how, the document states, is a vital component in determining costs, growth rates and the creation of new industries. But while patents and managerial know-how are important components, a successful manufacturing framework must embrace the full range of intellectual capital and intangible assets. 

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Ten middle-income non-BRIC countries have emerged from the worldwide economic crisis collectively as the third largest force in the global economy after the US and European Union, according to a report from consulting group A.T. Kearney.

Mexico, South Korea, Turkey, Poland, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Iran, Argentina and Thailand had a collective GDP (in purchasing power parity) of $8.8 trillion in 2008.

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When large waves hit the landscape the subsequent results change the landscape.

There is a swelling wave of social technology that is indeed changing the business landscape. From Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the host of other social platforms conversations from the masses, both on-line and off-line have become mainstream.

The subsequent impacts initially have a lot of people wondering what all this means while a few think and create where it is going. For businesses the critical issue remains one of “what will you do” as a result of all this on-line and off-line activity fueled by peoples interest in this thing called “social media“? To properly answer the question smart companies are stepping back from all the chatter and thinking through what is the best strategy for leveraging all this “social stuff” for the long term. At the same time most organizations are simply jumping in without thinking through the strategic implications and subsequently all they are doing is fueling the chatter with meaningless content.

Read more ... Obama Administration’s Commitment to Building Advanced Biorefineries Can Create Green Jobs and Economic Growth with Additional Action

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Additional Congressional action is needed to follow through on the Obama administration’s recently announced initiative to rapidly build an integrated value chain for the bioeconomy, create jobs and kick start economic growth. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today released proposed policy options that provide needed incentives to support U.S. job growth incentivizing commercial scale biorefinery projects for production of advanced biofuels, biobased products and renewable specialty chemicals.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section, stated, “The economic recession created an extra hurdle for companies trying to build biorefineries for advanced biofuels and value-added biobased products. Industrial biotechnology solutions for advanced biofuels are ready, and companies have achieved significant successes in achieving research and development goals. Given the current economic climate, what is needed now is significant capital investment.

“The Obama administration correctly recognizes that large-scale production of advanced biofuels can be a significant driver of green job creation, energy security and greenhouse gas reductions. We applaud the policy initiatives announced yesterday, which call for federal coordination of programs to help integrate the complete biofuel value chain. This is a good first step in helping to stimulate the private investment needed to build new biorefineries. However, more needs to be done to de-risk investment in new technologies so that they can scale up to meet national goals. Congress can take action to ensure that these programs are adequately funded and targeted so that the effort will stimulate additional private capital investment.”

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WhatsnextIn Washington, the Biotechnology Industry Organization followed up on a shift in US biofuels policy with a call for four new steps it said would increase the pace of biofuels commercialization.

BIO called for:

• Revising the risk assessment process for advanced biofuels projects in the current Department of Energy loan guarantee program;
• Double funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to deploy cellulosic feedstocks; include eligibility for value-added biobased materials, products and chemicals;
• Funding the reverse auction for cellulosic biofuels already incorporated in law;
• Funding development and deployment programs for biobased products and renewable specialty chemicals.

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Microsoft losing its ability to innovate?Microsoft defends itself against innovation claims: Microsoft has hit back at an article written by a former vice-president that argues that the company has lost its edge in innovation and risks business failure as a result. The former executive, Dick Brass, who worked at Microsoft until 2004, wrote in The New York Times that Microsoft had become a “clumsy, uncompetitive innovator. Its products are lampooned, often unfairly but sometimes with good reason.” But Microsoft vice-president of communications Frank Shaw has hit back, saying: “For Microsoft, it is not sufficient to simply have a good idea, or a great idea, or even a cool idea. We measure our work by its broad impact.” [The New York Times] [PC World] [Microsoft blog]

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SO YOU’RE sitting down for your daily helping of soap opera, you don a pair of 3D specs in front of your 100-inch plasma TV and the mundane dramas of Fair City are transformed. Cars in Main Street seem to park themselves in your living room, pints at McCoy’s fly over the counter and threaten to poke you in the eye; Ray O’Connell’s moustache almost seems to tickle your chin.

It might take a few years for three-dimensional technology to reach Carrigstown, but the future is already on the way, if Japan’s consumer electronics giants are to be believed. Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba are all set to roll out 3D-TVs and accessories this year in a bid to capitalise on the global popularity of James Cameron’s sci-fi eco opera Avatar.

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The University of North Carolina (UNC) believes it has come up with the Holy Grail of technology transfer - a standard license fee scheme in which one set of terms can be used for any deal, bypassing lengthy negotiations and getting the technology out of the lab more quickly.

Licensing schemes for transferring technology are the bane of university technology licensing officers and their corporate partners alike, with most licenses requiring their own special terms.

There have been earlier efforts, like the TurboNegotiator software developed by the US University-Industry Demonstration Partnership. The programme aims to help universities and industry quickly identify areas of agreement and areas that still need work, speeding the negotiating process.

Meanwhile, the Kauffman Foundation Experts’ Solution for University Technology Licensing Reform has argued that university technology licensing offices have, over time, become monopolies that slow commercialisation. It recommended that faculty choose their own licensing agents, saying the increased competition would speed up commercialisation of new technologies, while at the same time allowing universities to collect the same royalties as they do under the current system.

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Gov. Jennifer GranholmGov. Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday laid out initiatives to help entrepreneurs and small businesses, making them a key focus of an address shepherding in her final year in office.

In her eighth State of the State address touching on a variety of economic development and job-creating efforts designed to lay a new foundation for the state, Granholm announced plans to spur small business development in the state, through expanded entrepreneurship training, improved access to capital, and revamped tax credits for investors that provide seed money to budding ventures.

“She has coalesced around, as we have been talking about for a long time, the issue of where jobs really come from. And that is small business,” said Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan.

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