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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.

EurActiv LogoTapping into Europe's multi-billion euro public procurement market will be a central component of the EU's forthcoming research and innovation plan, but risk aversion in the public sector remains a major barrier to change.

The construction, healthcare and communication technology sectors are among the areas where public authorities can have a major influence on market developments because they are often the largest single purchaser.

Experts and policymakers at a conference in Brussels agreed that public procurement should be used to promote innovation, but there were concerns that the culture in the public sector is not well suited to commissioning innovative projects.

John Connaughton, a UK-based management consultant working on public procurement projects, said the process of winning government contracts can be lengthy and often favours established firms rather than dynamic start-ups.

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Zebrafish engineered to have their hearts glow red. Credit: Dr. Juan Carlos Ispizua Belmonte, Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The small, unassuming zebrafish, which has become a stable in biology labs across the globe, can perform an impressive feat of regeneration--it can withstand losing 20 percent of a ventricle, a chamber of the heart, growing it back within a month. Two new studies published yesterday in Nature show the animals regrow their hearts by triggering cell division of adult heart muscle cells rather than via stem cells. If researchers can elucidate the chemical signaling involved in the process, they may be able to find ways to stimulate heart repair or regeneration in humans. While recent research suggests that human hearts do have a limited capacity to generate new cells, heart muscle tends to form scars after heart attack rather than healthy new tissue.

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A source close to Yahoo's strategic planning recently complained to us that Yahoo has "a fundamental innovator's dilemma."

Shadow SilhouetteWhat he meant is that while Yahoo has flat traffic, flat revenues, and increasingly limited growth opportunities, it can't innovate it's way out of the problem with bold new products because it has to fund, protect, and iterate on "a big existing business that is, let's face it, very profitable" -- display advertising on and the company's other media sites.

So while there is, at Yahoo, "a core group of people who still want [and] believe that Yahoo can change things," these product directors and line engineers increasingly find themselves working not for a tech company, but for a media company content to serve ad impressions against an already huge Web audience.

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Chicago Sun-TimesNo company can generate as much hype around a product launch as Apple. But that’s perfectly OK because no company is also nearly as successful at producing a new product that can justify almost any level of excitement that precedes it.

They don’t do it with every product launch, but bloody hell: they’ve done it with the iPad.

It’s a computer that many people have been wanting for years: a slim, ten-hour computer that can hold every document, book, movie, CD, email, picture, or other scrap of data they’re ever likely to want to have at hand; with a huge library of apps that will ultimately allow it to fulfill nearly any function; and which nonetheless covers the dull compulsories of computing (Mail, the web, and Microsoft Office-style apps) so well that there will be many situations in which this 1.5-pound slate can handily take the place of a laptop bag filled with hardware and accessories.

In fact, after a week with the iPad, I’m suddenly wondering if any other company is as committed to invention as Apple. Has any other company ever demonstrated a restlessness to stray from the safe and proven, and actually invent things?

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Home PageSocial enterprises – businesses that provide goods and services to undeveloped segments of the society – are increasingly recognized as effective tools against poverty. Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid Foundation – a Royal foundation, established in 2001 to make a positive impact in people’s lives by providing innovative solutions to critical social and economic challenges in Saudi Arabia – and Acumen Fund – an international not-for-profit venture fund that invests in enterprises delivering critical goods and services to low-income customers – are partnering to recruit a Saudi national for Acumen Fund’s Fellows Program. Fellows receive an opportunity to work with high impact social entrepreneurs for one year.

The partnership aims to raise the profile of the development sector and promote social entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the long run, the partnership hopes to build an entrepreneurial bench of professional talent with strong operational skills, experience in low-income markets, and the moral imagination to build enterprises that meet the needs of low-income customers in Saudi Arabia.

Read more ... Carl Dietrich, co-founder of a company that has built a flying car, gets a lot of calls from Dayton these days.

In fact, Dietrich said he’s a bit “overwhelmed.”

“We appreciate the interest, we really do,” said Dietrich, chief executive of Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia.

The “interest” revolves around whether Terrafugia will base its manufacturing in Ohio and particularly, Dayton.

The question arose publicly in mid-February when a Massachusetts journal wrote that Terrafugia “would move into a manufacturing facility in Dayton, Ohio.” The Boston Globe also reported that the company was “very close” to coming to terms with Ohio investors that would herald an Ohio move.

“It was a lesson for me to know that you have to be ... extremely careful with what you say,” Dietrich said with a chuckle. “It was not my intention for that to be picked up.”

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Market Size
The angel investor market in 2009, on the heels of a considerable contraction in investment dollars in 2008, exhibited a modest decrease in investment dollars but little change in the number of investments.  Total investments in 2009 were $17.6 billion, a decrease of 8.3% over 2008, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.  However, a total of 57,225 entrepreneurial ventures received angel funding in 2009, a reserved 3.1% increase from 2008, and the number of active investors in 2009 was 259,480 individuals, virtually unchanged from 2008.  The small decline in total dollars, coupled with the increase in investments resulted in a smaller deal size for 2009 (a decline in deal size of 11.1% from 2008).  These data indicate that while angels have not significantly decreased their investment activity, they are committing less dollars resulting from lower valuations and a cautious approach to investing.  Significant changes did occur in the critical seed and start-up stage investment landscape.

Download the Full Year 2009 Angel Market Analysis Report
Director, Jeffrey Sohl     


[email protected] is now accepting idea submissions from innovators who want to take their cutting-edge approaches to expanding economic opportunity to the next level. To date, we've received a number of applications from innovation leaders across the country and we are thrilled with the response we've seen.

We'd like to hear your idea! Are you ready to work with [email protected] to help bring your idea to scale? Are you interested in playing key roles at the go-to event of the year, the 2010 Assets Learning Conference? If so, click here today to start filling out an application for one of these exciting programs:

  • Innovators-in-Residence are individuals who are prepared to take a proven concept to the next level during a virtual or in-house residency with CFED. This highly competitive program will offer one or more opportunities for a 12– to 24– month residency including a stipend of up to $50,000 and CFED support and resources.
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Canada’s federal budget, presented March 4, 2010, has been passed by the House of Commons. The 451 page document describes cuts to the public service and foreign aid, in addition to limited spending on the military and EI premiums. Stimulus programs continue, however little new money has been announced. The plan is to reduce the $53.8B deficit to $1.8B by 2015.

Despite aggressive cost cutting measures, new money for innovation has been provided. Post- doctoral training was highlighted as a key investment. Granting agencies and Genome Canada received additional funds. Innovation projects such as TRIUMF, NRC clusters, RADARSAT have received substantial investments. Regional development organizations have also received funding to support innovation and job creation across the country.

Excerpts on Innovation from the Canadian Federal Budget 2010
Compiled from budget (Source: Ministry of Finance, Budget 2010)
Budget 2010 makes targeted changes to improve Canada’s productivity growth through innovation by:

  • Providing $45 million over five years to establish a post-doctoral fellowship program to help attract the research leaders of tomorrow to Canada.
  • Delivering $222 million in funding over five years to strengthen the world-leading research taking place at TRIUMF, Canada’s premier national laboratory for nuclear and particle physics research.
  • Increasing the combined annual budgets of Canada’s research granting councils by an additional $32 million per year, plus an additional $8 million per year to the Indirect Costs of Research Program.
    • $16 million CIHR
    • $13 million NSERC ($8M research and $5M strategy for partnership and innovation)
    • $3 million SSHRC
  • Providing Genome Canada with an additional $75 million for genomics research.
  • Doubling the budget of the College and Community Innovation Program with an additional $15
    million per year.
  • Providing $135 million over two years to the National Research Council Canada’s regional innovation clusters program.
  • Providing $48 million over two years for research, development and application of medical isotopes.
  • Providing a total of $497 million over five years to develop the RADARSAT Constellation Mission.
  • Launching a new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Innovation Commercialization Program with $40 million over two years.
  • Renewing and making ongoing $49 million in annual funding for the regional development agencies to support innovation across Canada.

Download the full PDF Here

Prepared by: Robert Merson

Clay Christensen: How to Bring Disruptive Innovation to Health CareDisruptive innovation seems to have bypassed the health care industry.

Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen’s theory predicts that entrenched companies, products and services are often “disrupted” from below by competitors who are able to meet the needs of most current customers with products that do less (but just enough) and are much, much cheaper.

So why has health care been on this rampant march of incredibly escalating costs that seem impervious to competing forces? Where are the disruptive innovators?

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cisco korea

Cisco has just signed up to what sounds like a bizarre and confusing thing: It'll be a partner in developing a whole "smart city" in Korea. Weird. But if you think about it, with networks connecting up everything, it may be a model for where you'll live in the future.

We're talking about Incheon, in South Korea. It's going to transform the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) into a "high-tech, globally competitive and environmentally sustainable smart connected city" which sounds terrifically grand. Yet the ultimate goal, to "support continued innovation in Korea" is even loftier--while being perfectly believable, given the amount of high-tech innovation and manufacturing Korea already fosters.

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