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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.

10 laws every entrepreneur should know - become an entrepreneurThere really is no choosing to become an entrepreneur; there are some who are simply born to bring new ideas, products and solutions to the marketplace and others who do not have an entrepreneurial bone in their body. But even those who have the skills and ambition to become an entrepreneur must be prepared to face the harsh realities of the business world and to gain the knowledge required to bring their brilliant ideas to fruition.

Before you quit your day job to devote your time to becoming a successful small business owner, there are 10 important laws you need to become intimately familiar with as you begin your journey down the road to become an entrepreneur. Ignore them at your peril because each comes with a sting in its tail for those who, intentionally or due to ignorance, abuse them..

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Everyone has heard about the entrepreneurs who got started in a garage. Well, N.C. State University is looking forward to the day when people are buzzing about the cool new venture that got started in The Garage.

The Garage, you see, is a new 2,000-square-foot incubator space for student entrepreneurs outfitted for the university by Linux software company Red Hat.

The Garage's eight rooms include three lab spaces - mechanical, electrical and woodworking - for creating prototypes. To foster collaboration, most of the rooms are covered with whiteboards, and there are also three Smart Boards, which essentially are electronic whiteboards. And don't forget the kitchenette.

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According to cognitive psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, creativity can be broadly defined as "...the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile" (2003). Creativity is all about finding new ways of solving problems and approaching situations. This isn't a skill restricted to artists, musicians or writers; it is a useful skill for people from all walks of life. If you've ever wanted to boost your creativity, these tips can help.

1. Commit Yourself to Developing Your Creativity

The first step is to fully devote yourself to developing your creative abilities. Do not put off your efforts. Set goals, enlist the help of others and put time aside each day to develop your skills.

2. Become an Expert

One of the best ways to develop creativity is to become an expert in that area. By having a rich understanding of the topic, you will be better able to think of novel or innovative solutions to problems.

3. Reward Your Curiosity

One common roadblock to developing creativity is the sense that curiosity is an indulgence. Rather than reprimanding yourself, reward yourself when you are curious about something. Give yourself the opportunity to

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Mr. "Rishi" Sowa lives on an floating island. That he made. From empty plastic bottles and a few mangrove plants. In Mexico.

From the blog:

From 1998 to 2005, Rishi Sowa hand-built and lived on the first Spiral Island, which floated on over 300,000 recycled bottles! It was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005. Rishi has now built an even better island at Isla Mujeres, Mexico, in a lagoon which offers shelter from bad weather! Rishi will continue to make improvements to the Island, so it will always be a eco-work-of-art in progress!
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Four Ways We Kill InnovationHarvard Business Review had a great post last week entitled “5 Warning Signs That Your Innovation Efforts are Going Off the Rails.”

I had to chuckle as I read the post – focused on how to make innovation efforts a partnership with the core business focus, instead of a competition. I didn’t chuckle because it was amusing. I chuckled because I’ve seen all five ‘warning signs’ touted as the foundations of the innovation effort, not as unwanted by-products. We’re often proud to be operating in a way that produces just these signs. How wrong is that?

Based on a number of status quo approaches, we set up innovation as a competitor to our current model. It’s time we changed those status quos!

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Voting Open - Top 40 Innovation BloggersVoting is now open in the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers Contest hosted by Blogging Innovation.

If you’re a first time visitor to Blogging Innovation, we have nearly 1,700 articles on site with the aim to make innovation and marketing insights available for the greater good. Please check out our search feature, jump to a category, or try a random post or two at the bottom.

People who vote (or who nominated someone) will be entered into the prize drawings for a range of great prizes (more than $10,000 worth), including:

  1. 3 signed advance copies of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire by Braden Kelley (get it before its October launch date) – priceless
  2. 1 ticket to the World Business Forum (October 5-6, 2010 in New York City) – $2,500 value
  3. 1 ticket to the Future Trends 2010 conference (October 18-20, 2010 in Miami) – $2,500 value
  4. Signed copy of The Power of Pull by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown and Lang Davidson (signed by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown)
  5. 1 ticket to the EPIC 2010 conference (October 27-29, 2010 in New York City) – $2,500 value
  6. 1 ticket to the World Innovation Forum (June 7-8, 2011 in New York City) – $2,500 value
  7. Four copies of “Personality Poker” by Stephen Shapiro – $104 value
  8. One 10-pack of Personality Poker cards from Stephen Shapiro – $125 value

Note: Rich Bendis is in the running.  Show your support and vote!

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Video: Should a Start-up Focus on Going Global Right Away?
Randy Komisar, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers - 3 min. 19 sec.
According to Komisar, globalization needs to be part of the tool set for every entrepreneur doing a start-up today. This doesn't mean immediately going global, but understanding the global market and having a plan for the future, he adds.

Video: Globalization: Acting Local to be Global
Janice Roberts, Mayfield Fund - 3 min. 42 sec.
Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, expands its operations in China and India to locally participate in the companies it funds. Roberts notes that this enables Mayfield Fund to understand the unique opportunities offered by different geographic locations.

Video: Challenges of a Global Company
Scott Kriens, Juniper Networks - 3 min. 13 sec.
One of Juniper Networks's biggest challenges is efficiently operating a global company. CEO Scott Kriens challenges the audience to obtain the skill set necessary to work in a global team environment.

Video: Entering a Global Market
Gil Penchina, Wikia - 4 min. 36 sec.
Wikia CEO Gil Penchina discusses the steps that entrepreneurs should take when entering a new and unfamiliar global market.

Bikes at Stanford U.Plenty of colleges offer cyclists places to lock up their bikes. But an institution will need to do more than buy a few bike racks to qualify as a "Bicycle Friendly University" under a program being unveiled this week by the League of American Bicyclists.

The program is designed to help institutions develop holistic policies on biking. A 90-question application requires colleges to assess how much support they offer cyclists—for instance, by providing bike maps of the campus and including information on cycling in freshman orientation.

Applying for a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum designation through the Bicycle Friendly University program will be "an education in itself," says Bill Nesper, director of the league's Bicycle Friendly America program. The campus program aims to encourage colleges to evaluate how useful on-campus bike paths can be, whether university parking policies and fees encourage or discourage cycling as an alternative to commuting by car, and how serious campus police are about bike theft and safe cycling.

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Why Do So Many Women-Owned Businesses Struggle to Make It to $1 Million?Bloomberg Businessweek recently featured a fascinating interview with Nell Merlino, the founder of Make Mine a Million. The program, which Merlino founded in 2005, had a goal of helping 1 million women-owned businesses reach 1 million in sales by 2010.

Merlino didn’t achieve that goal, but she’s looking at the positive side: “We’ve raised $10 million and helped women generate $100 million in revenue and create 6,000 jobs.”

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Developed by New York Academy of Sciences, The Yaroslavl Roadmap 10-15-20 describes the innovation policies, successes, and challenges of four countries—Israel, Finland, India, and the U.S.—and Taiwan Province, China. Based on analyses of how those regions developed innovation economies, and on a study of the current state of Russia’s economy compared to the priorities of President Medvedev, the report offers 15 specific recommendations. It also highlights 20 pitfalls for Russia to avoid.

The blueprint and learnings could equally be relevant to India. Even though India figures as one of the countries studied here, the gaps are very evident.

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The product you've built, the team you've assembled, the customers you've won, the growth you're predicting - all crucial for winning investor support. And you can have all those pieces in place and still blow it during your pitch. This can happen because of your demeanor or something you say.

"Startup killers" is how Cynthia Kocialski describes them. "When speaking to someone about the new product or the business proposition, there is often the moment when you know that you have lost your listener," she writes in a blog post titled "How to Lose an Investor Before You Finish Speaking." "One misspoken comment and everyone wants to leave as soon as possible. They've made their decision and they want you to stop wasting their time."

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Corporate venture capitalists often invest in start-up companies to identify the right businesses to purchase later. In fact, according to David Benson of Brigham Young University and Rosemarie Ziedonis of the University of Oregon, 20 percent of acquisitions made by the companies with the largest corporate venture capital operations were in businesses that their venture capital arms had previously invested.

Benson and Ziedonis find a surprising pattern in these purchases. In a forthcoming article in Journal of Financial Economics, they report that when companies purchased startups in their venture capital portfolios, shareholder value was typically reduced by $63 million.

This didn’t happen when the companies bought businesses in which they had not invested. In these acquisitions, shareholder value typically increased by $8.5 million.

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