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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.

Last September I was on a panel with Guy Kawasaki talking about Twitter. He said at the time that he Tweeted 4 times for every story that he wrote. FOUR TIMES! The exact same Tweet. I couldn’t believe it. His rationale was that he found that his audience was tuning into Twitter at several different times during the day and he found that four was the optimal number to convert enough of the people reading his posts into traffic back to his website.

I asked him whether he was worried that he was turning off potential followers who didn’t want their streams flooded every day with Guy Kawasaki Tweets.  He argued that anybody who followed enough people wouldn’t really notice much of a difference and if they followed so few people that they were significantly flooded then they were the wrong followers for him [on this point I'll never agree - I strive not to overwhelm any followers].  At the time I had a small enough group of people I followed that if anybody was in overdrive on posting for a day I always noticed (as I pointed out in Point 2 in this post).

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The U.S. Senate passed the 2,300-page financial reform bill today (vote was 60 to 39) after more than a year of deliberation. The Obama administration is casting it as a major victory — protecting average consumers from Wall Street excesses.

For the most part, senators voted along party lines, with only three Republicans breaking ranks to support the legislation, one of the highest domestic priorities for the Democrats.

The bill, to be signed by President Barack Obama this weekend, blocks major banks from growing irresponsibly, empowers the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Reserve to break up foundering businesses, and places hedge funds and credit rating agencies under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Large companies will now be required to have shutdown plans at the ready so that if they fail, they don’t take other segments of the economy down with them.

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10 commandmentsIf you expect to succeed in the thrill-a-minute, roller coaster ride of a startup, let me assure you it takes more than a good idea, a rich uncle, and luck.

In fact, the idea is often the least important part of the equation. Investors tell me that they look at the people first, the business plan second, and only then at the idea.

If you want some tips to beat the insurmountable odds, take a look at the following concepts, adapted from Richard C. Levy’s book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cashing in On Your Inventions.”

He was talking about inventions, but I think his concepts apply perfectly to any entrepreneur starting a business.

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New ARPA-E projects in 18 states will accelerate innovation in clean energy technologies, increase America's competitiveness and create jobs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced 43 cutting-edge research projects that aim to dramatically improve how the U.S. uses and produces energy. Funded with $92 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), today’s selections focus on accelerating innovation in green technology while increasing America's competitiveness in grid scale energy storage, power electronics and building efficiency.

“These innovative ideas will play a critical role in our energy security and economic growth,” said Secretary Chu. “It is now more important than ever to invest in a new, clean energy economy.”

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The United Nations Environment Program and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century today reveal in a pair of new reports that despite an overall financial downturn in 2009, global investments in sustainable energy increased worldwide. Core clean energy investments from private and public sources totaled $162 billion.

Policies that favor the development of a green economy and businesses in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency also increased: more than 100 countries enacted some type of policy target and/or promotion policy related to renewable energy by early 2010.

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Sandwiched between two floors of dead fish at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, Kyle Luckenbill is creating art.

As the Academy's curatorial assistant resident dead fish paparazzo he photographs and x-rays the institution's 3,000 species-defining specimens as part of a National Science Foundation grant.

"We didn't really plan an exhibit with the project, but it was one of those things where it was sort of a no-brainer," Lukenbill says.


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spark your creativityWhere should you turn to when you need an idea to set off an entrepreneurial endeavor or escape the shackles of writer’s block? If this was the 20th Century, you might have no choice but to sit around and think for a while, hoping that something might spark your creativity and an idea will just pop into your head.

But this is the 21st Century, and there are tons of websites out there that can give a much-needed spark to your creativity. Here are five of the best.

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Office of Technology Transfer Partnership Intermediary Network (OTTPIN) is a web portal deal management tool for Technology Managers that provides a single location for viewing patents, leads, and the deals and opportunities managers currently have in progress.

OTTPIN is a web portal that specifically fosters interactions between Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) Partnership Intermediaries (PI), facilitates Patent Pipeline Reload Meetings, and assists PI employees in tracking technology transfer and transition agreements, leads, and deals. In addition to viewing patents and leads, OTTPIN is particularly useful in helping managers document leads, upload documents, assign and track action items, set and receive reminders, and share information.

OTTPIN supports a number of DoD Partnership Intermediaries, located across the U.S. from Alaska to South Carolina, by creating the collaborative software used to help manage deal flow. The OTTPIN system provides functionality common to each PI in a web-based environment that accommodates different time zones and working hours.

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If you are an entrepreneur that is looking for investment capital to grow your startup, it is easy to get excited when a potential investor asks for your business plan. And why not? This angel investor or venture capitalist may be able to provide just what you need to make your dream a reality.

Before you get too excited, take a breath. Bear in mind that you are intending to enter into a business relationship with an investor and just as you would qualify any potential business partner it is also important to qualify your investor. There are several things to consider before you start handing over the requested documents like your business plan, financial statements, etc.

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(Reuters) - British scientists could be invited to compete for cash prizes to discover new technologies as a cost-effective way to support research in an era of lower public spending, Science Minister David Willetts said on Friday.

Willetts is responsible for around 5 billion pounds of annual research and development funding but faces a sharp reduction in a government spending review in October unless he can persuade treasury officials to look elsewhere for savings.

The new coalition government is seeking cuts of around 25 percent in the budgets of all departments apart from health and international development to reduce a 156 billion pound budget deficit. Willetts said he believed money spent on research made economic sense, but it had to be used as effectively as possible in straightened times.

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A startup makes a new entry in the race to build the virtual personal assistant.

Smart phones promise a lot of computing power and connectivity: We can search the Web and communicate from anywhere. But it can be hard to make full use of all these capabilities on small screens with tiny buttons. Now comes a new wave of applications that combine speech recognition and artificial intelligence to help people carry out simple tasks on their mobile devices.

The latest such service, from Vlingo, a company that makes voice-recognition applications, tries to go beyond earlier apps by combining a user's spoken commands with personal data and information stored online . Called "SuperDialer," the service can, for example, let a user say "Call pizza" and subsequently see a list of nearby pizza places drawn from both the user's address book and the Web.

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ebay Four Steps to Go Green Like eBay   Starting With EmployeesIn a recent interview, Annie Lesroart of eBay, shared with us how eBay implemented a fast, ambitious and effective strategy to go green. From forty employees, the program expanded to hundreds of thousands of eBay buyers and sellers (including people who don’t even work at eBay!) How did this happen? And how can it happen for you?

by Chris Jarvis, Senior Consultant for Realized Worth, Follow Chris on Twitter @RealizedWorth

The change began over pizza and soda. A group of employees from a company known for its innovation and leadership could not help but notice the irony of the styrofoam cups in their hands. Turns out that styrofoam constitutes as much as 30% of landfills worldwide. A discussion ensued around what it means to be green, each of the employees deciding something had to be done. Without approval, mission or mandate, and with very modest ambitions, these employees formed the “Green Team.

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