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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.

Watch PR 101 for entrepreneursThe right media coverage can be a boon for any company and even more so for a start-up. Just ask the London, Ontario-based voice-over company Voices.com who was recently mentioned in the New York Times article “The Do-It-Yourself Economy” by Thomas Friedman (author of many influential books such as “The World is Flat”). Friedman wrote about how the recession is encouraging companies to increasingly shop around the online marketplace for cheaper, faster and more convenient services and gave examples of companies like Voices.com who are profiting from this trend.

The coverage landed the company several large new accounts as well as thousands of new users. Website registration and sales increased by 53 per cent after the article ran.

That’s the power of PR at its best - the ability to create demand and open doors. Being mentioned by a key influencer via a topic of interest to the public can be more effective than advertising or marketing, especially if it comes from a credible source. But PR is about more than just media coverage and getting mentioned by the right people in the right places and at the right time - it is a hybrid of different communications that build bridges with influencers such as analysts, journalists, customers, bloggers, and investors among others. Not only must a startup build key relationships both offline and online, they must do so strategically, using key messaging about their company that resonates with these influencers and their audiences. And they often have to do all this with limited resources.

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This could be the year that venture-backed companies start to get their IPO groove back.

Last year marked the second consecutive year of unusually low numbers of initial public offerings launched by companies owned by venture-capital firms. There were eight such IPOs in 2009, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource. That amounts to just 15% of the 54 deals that priced, according to Dealogic. The proportion of venture IPOs could be skewed by the small number of deals last year as 2010 is being forecast as a much larger year for new issuance overall.

"Valuations have been getting better, and that's been making that [IPO] channel more attractive [to issuers] than it's been in a long time," says Scott Gehsmann, a global capital-markets partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Art by Mike LucasThis morning’s roundup of the latest venture capital news and analysis across the Web:

How Low Can We Go? - As expected, 10-year investment returns are falling faster than Pink in a robe. Research firm Cambridge Associates released its quarterly report this morning that shows returns from the past 10 years (the typical life of a venture fund) is at 8.41%, falling from 14.3% in the previous quarter and 40.2% a year earlier. Funds from 1999 have paid just 0.63 times the amount of capital paid in by limited partners, while 2000 funds have paid just 0.38 times. It’s worth noting there are still hundreds of companies out there that raised venture capital at least 10 years ago, so those numbers have the potential to go up - whether or not these companies will be able to exit at strong prices is an open question.

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During my introductory class of New Venture Management for undergraduates I explain the role the media has played in promoting entrepreneurs and the idea of running your own business. We discuss reality shows like American Chopper (Discovery Channel) and Ax Men (History Channel) and others like Shark Tank (ABC) and How Things Are Made (Science Channel) as well as ‘news magazine’ style shows like Donny Deutsch’s The Entrepreneurs and Bloomberg TV’s Venture.

The Wall Street Journal recently had a piece by Emily Maltby that looks into the trend of reality shows based on small businesses.

Small businesses have become popular fodder for reality television, where shop owners let viewers glimpse the daily dramas of their business operations in return for big publicity.

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#1 Babson College, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, Babson Park, MA
#2 University of Houston, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, Houston, TX
#3 University of Arizona, McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, Tucson, AZ
#4 Baylor University, Baylor Entrepreneurship Program, Waco, TX
#5 Temple University, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, Philadelphia, PA
#6 Drexel University, Laurence A. Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship in Technology, Philadephia, PA
#7 University of Dayton, Entrepreneurial Leadership, Dayton, OH
#8 DePaul University, DePaul Entrepreneurship Program, Chicago, IL
#9 City University of New York - Baruch College, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, New York, NY
#10 University of Southern California, Lloyd Greif Ctr for Entrepreneurial Studies, Los Angeles, CA
#11 University of Oklahoma, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Norman, OK
#12 Northeastern University, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Boston, MA
#13 Syracuse University, Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprise, Syracuse, NY
#14 Washington University in St. Louis, Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, St. Louis, MO
#15 Miami University, Miami Institute for Entrepreneurship, Oxford, OH
#16 University of Wisconsin - Madison, Weinert Center for Entrepreneruship, Madison, WI
#17 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Chapel Hill, NC
#18 Brigham Young University (UT), Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Provo, UT
#19 Xavier University (OH), Xavier Entrepreneurship Center, Cincinnati, OH
#20 Loyola Marymount University, Hilton Center for Entrepreneurship, Los Angeles, CA
#21 Ball State University, Entrepreneurship Center, Muncie, IN
#22 The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Management Program with Entrepreneurial Track, Tuscaloosa, AL
#23 University of Iowa, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Iowa City, IA
#24 Washington State University, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Pullman, WA
#25 University of North Dakota, Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies, Grand Forks, ND

Report from entrepreneur.com

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Ownership in the Innovation ProcessIf someone asked members of your Innovation Team about "ownership" of a current initiative, would individuals reply, "Yes"?

Or would the people involved point to the team leader, the CEO or someone else - someone other than themselves? Would they reply, "No, that's his"?

I spoke recently with a CEO of a consumer products company who expressed disappointment that an idea for an exciting new wrinkle in sunglasses technology had faltered. In doing so, others had beaten the company to market.

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altFriend--

I've [Ted Strickland] just finished delivering my third State of the State speech, and I wanted to share it with you.

Across the country, Americans are grappling with the worst economic climate in 80 years. In Ohio, too, we've seen the devastating effects of a crisis caused by failed Washington policies and Wall Street greed.

But while the Wall Street recession has knocked Ohio down, we're not staying down. The state of our state is unyielding. With a long-term approach that focuses on creating jobs from the bottom up, Ohio can emerge from this global recession stronger than ever.

Read the full State of the State address here to learn how we're building an Ohio that can lead once again. 

DAVID WILHELM, CO CHAIR OF THE OHIO THIRD FRONTIERS PROGRAM AND FELLOW BOARD MEMBER OF NASVF WITH ME, SUGGESTS THAT GOVERNOR STRICKLAND UNDERSTANDS THE ROLE OF INNOVATION IN THEIR STATES ECONOMIC GROWTH AS WELL AS ANY GOVERNOR OR POLITICAL LEADER.

I TEND TO AGREE, RICH BENDIS
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Screen shot 2010-01-29 at 6.00.51 PMBig news for late on a Friday afternoon: Tesla Motors, the darling of the burgeoning electric car market, has filed for an initial public offering worth $100 million. If it pulls it off, electric vehicles will have officially gone mainstream.

Tesla was one of several companies in the cleantech sector named as likely IPO candidates at the start of the year, along with Silver Spring Networks in the Smart Grid space. With solar system maker Solyndra also filing in December, it looks like green might be one of the most active areas for public exits in 2010 — just as the Cleantech Group predicted.

But this isn’t your average public sale. Eyes have been fixed on the company’s success since its inception, both because of its sexy product and its notorious CEO, Elon Musk — who has been pushing toward this IPO for years. For this reason, its success could boost business for the whole electric car market, including competitors like Fisker Automotive, Th!nk North America, Coda Automotive and even General Motors with its Chevy Volt. However, if the filing languishes, or it doesn’t exceed $100 million, it could dampen excitement for the next generation of advanced vehicles.

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The Objective and Challenge:

Can Gainesville transition its current economic focus to a more competitive, knowledge-based economy for all of our citizens? How can we engage the University and other knowledge providers – public and private sector alike – to transform the way we do business, retain students and graduates, and expand the resources necessary to enhance our quality of life?

Can we overcome limitations – in both mindset and the way we measure success – by adopting new metrics?

Can we tell our story better – about our successes, assets and individual endeavors? Yes we can. And we will.

THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A COMMUNITY THAT WORKED TOGETHER TO DEVELOP A NEW INTEGRATED INNOVATION BASED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR THE NEXT DECADE.

RICH BENDIS
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USAJobs - The Director, Technology Innovation Program (TIP) serves as the executive responsible for managing and leading this critical program for NIST. The TIP was established as part of the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) to assist United States businesses and institutions of higher education or other organizations, such as national laboratories and nonprofit research institutions, to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need.

The Director plans, organizes, directs and controls the activities and programs of the TIP. He/she formulates its programs, policies, and procedures and ensures that they are carried out. The incumbent is responsible for the successful management of all program thrusts in the Technology Innovation Program. The TIP is funded at $69.9 million for FY2010. The incumbent must have a clear understanding of business dynamics that shape company investment and marketing decisions. The incumbent must have a clear understanding to apply the relationships between technology and the economy. He/she submits results of the Program to other agencies of the government, industrial organizations, professional societies, and technical committees. The incumbent is responsible for initiating the Program's policies and procedures concerning administration, including fiscal management and staffing policy with respect to both the number of personnel and the maintenance of high standards of professional quality.

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Gabriel InstituteHiring people is usually thought of as a supply-side activity. You know what you need and you try to get the best for the least. No argument there. But taking it to the next level, you can also hire for fit with your organization’s unique culture. Since your culture is a function of how people interact, you’ll need to measure your candidates’ ability to team in the distinct way your company requires.

Teaming Characteristics
The biggest challenge in any job is often something other than the knowledge, skills, and talents we hire for. It’s the way we expect people to work together. That’s true whether we’re talking about a development team, a short-t rm project staff and the client, or a sales person and their prospect. It’s all about the teaming characteristics needed to nurture, secure, and maintain those relationships.

Personality traits have been extensively measured and applied o business situations, but they focus on the ‘components’ of an individual—not on the holistic aspects of ‘teaming’, which predict how well a person will work with others in a given context. Someone with great teaming characteristics can get along ith almost anyone, in almost any situation. But even those who don’t enjoy chit-chat can still have fine teaming characteristics. It’s all a matter of what the environment demands vs. what (and how) a person is oriented to contributing.

INNOVATIVE TEAMS THAT WORK WELL TOGETHER AND HAVE GOOD LEADERSHIP WILL PERFORM MUCH BETTER THAN DYSFUNCTIONAL ONES. HERE IS A WAY TO DETERMINE IF YOUR TEAM MEMBERS HAVE THE RIGHT CHEMISTRY BEFORE MAKING EXPENSIVE HIRING MISTAKES.

RICH BENDIS
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The Three Ps a Successful Entrepreneur Needs to Raise Venture CapitalWho are the successful entrepreneurs who have been awarded venture capital funding? Are they just lucky? Did they hit on a timely idea? Were they well connected? Was it a combination of all three?

Neither luck, a great idea, nor networking is dependable enough to set an entrepreneur apart from the rest of the pack. Instead, here are three “p” qualities that an entrepreneur needs to assure at least a modest chance of acquiring venture capital funding.
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