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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.

Born InnovatorsThese days, innovation and creativity are in high demand in the work world, making them something that a lot of people would like to have.

The reality is that some people are more creative and innovative than others, which begs the question: why? As the voluminous list of books and articles on the topic testifies, many factors influence human creativity and innovativeness.

But the one that intrigues me the most is genetics. Some people are innately predisposed to be more creative and innovative than others. In fact, as much 55 percent of the difference between people on standard tests of creative temperament is accounted for by our genes. In one study conducted by University of Minnesota psychologist Tom Bouchard and his colleagues, half of a sample of identical twins raised in separate households, often many miles away from one another, had the same scores on measures of creative temperament, while fraternal twins raised together only had the same scores 12 percent of the time.

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I read this week’s Wall Street Journal article “Fleeting Youth, Fading Creativity” (WSJ, Feb 20, 1010, p. W3) with fascination…

The article, by Jonah Lehrer, suggests the following:

  • Scientific & technical revolutions are often led by younger minds (think Newton, Watson, Einstein, Madame Curie, Jobs, Andreessen)
  • Certain fields lend themselves to innovation by younger minds, including Physics, Math & Poetry, Chess
  • There seems to be an inverted U-curve that describes human capacity for creative thought, with the top of the u-curve coming somewhere between the ages of 25 and 50.
  • The disciplines of  Biology, History, Novel-writing, and Philosophy might not peak until their late 40’s
  • Many individuals have increased their creativity later in life by switching fields of study (thus potentially applying learnings from one field to another in a “intersectional” manner (see my prior blog post on this called “Intersectional Creativity& Mash-ups”)

One key part of this argument I do buy is this: when we are young, we are likely to take more risks and we are likely to be less encumbered by rules bestowed upon us by marriage, work, community, church, etc. In other words the YOUNGER MIND, in general, does have the advantage of being FREE to make key connections that the older mind has to work harder to achieve amidst a cadre of society-driven rules which have been enforced for a longer period of time.

While I don’t disagree with the premise that certain professions require young/fresh minds to attack them, the author neglected to mention the wide variety of creative careers that have taken off for LATE BLOOMERS in many fields.

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This observation about the necessity of freedom seems obvious - and yet it is remarkable how often this truth is overlooked. I believe the connection between freedom and innovation is ignored in both capitalist and communist economies. Innovation can be squelched by the demand for short-term profits, or it can be smothered by central planners.

I think of this connection after reading an excellent column by Georgy Satarov. He picks apart a recent interview by a high government official, a government official describing in detail how the Putin-Medvedev administration is going to create some sort of engine for economic development and innovation. It won't happen. I have no idea about what is the future for Russia at this point, but it does not look very bright. The people running the country seem determined to close any possible space for democratic opposition. Without democratic opposition, there can be no peaceful change. And Russia vitally needs change. It plods on, its extractive industries subsidizing its maddening and oppressive inefficiencies.

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I’d like to share with you 10 young entrepreneur themed blogs that you should definitely be following. Feel free to leave suggestions… Enjoy!


Under30CEO is a great blog for “Leading Gen Y to stop doing sh*t they hate.”  Read start-up advice, start-up profiles, interviews with entrepreneurs and more.

Quick Sproutalt

Quick Sprout is one of the best young entrepreneur blogs out there. Neil Patel, the blogger, has founded many companies and will teach you a ton, while accommodating a vibrant community.

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Venture capital deals rebounding amid new optimismFor Silicon Valley, 2008 and 2009 were years of reckoning and transformation. The financial turmoil that seized the global economy hammered the venture capital industry, bringing a sharp decline in dollars and deals.

But after a steep drop in the first half of 2009, venture deals rebounded modestly in the second half and featured an encouraging resurgence in early stage investments. The pattern underscored recent surveys of venture capitalists that suggest the industry is approaching a new sense of equilibrium and confidence.

Nationwide, venture investments totaled $17.7 billion in 2009, the lowest since 1997 and down from $28 billion in 2008 and $30.5 billion in 2007. The MoneyTree Report, a quarterly review

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Google last week said it plans to build an experimental fiber-to-the-home network that would deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps. And this week FCC chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a goal of delivering 100 Mbps broadband to 100 million homes as part a “2020 vision” associated with the National Broadband Plan. However, amid what many perceive as good news for the wired broadband industry, the Telecommunications Industry Association and United States Telecom Association said they would not produce Supercomm, an industry trade show, due to “financial projections.” Translation: Wired broadband is in trouble. And it’s the fault of ISPs and Silicon Valley.

Despite a rollout of faster technology from some cable providers, and Verizon’s continued fiber-to-the-home buildout, the wired broadband world isn’t looking terribly exciting outside Google’s testbed project. A close inspection of the long-range FCC plan doesn’t have me overly inspired, especially as other areas of the world invest in 1 Gbps networks today.

Meanwhile, in the same time two-week period as all of this wired broadband news, the mobile industry’s largest trade show, Mobile World Congress, took place. It was chock-full of the usual mobile players as well as a who’s who of anyone in the tech scene. And issues associated with mobile broadband, from new networks to spectrum shortages (GigaOM Pro, sub req’d) and how to build applications for mobile handsets (GigaOM Pro),were all anyone could talk about.

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The story of downtown Rochester's revival goes through Nashville, San Antonio, and Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh joins such cities as Nashville, Tenn., and San Antonio as examples of downtown revival. But in Pittsburgh, the work is ongoing and retail remains the city's Achilles' heel, [Mike Edwards (CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership)] said.

"We don't have a defined retail district, which is one of our objectives this year. But, as most experts will tell you, retail follows rooftops."

And in that area, Pittsburgh lags other cities its size, with only 5,000 downtown residents. The strong market is office space, with 45 million square feet downtown, 92 percent of it occupied, and a work force of 140,000.

Once again, Pittsburgh is a model for urban redevelopment. I think it is a good one for Rochester to follow. That city also seems to be on the rise, in relatively good position as we make the turn upwards from the bottom of the Great Recession.

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There was a leap in the pace of launching new technology companies in the second quarter of 2009, CONNECT’s newly released Second Quarter 2009 Innovation Report shows.    Start-ups were up 53% with 102 companies launched. In the first quarter of 2009 only 66 compa- nies were created. The increase over second quarter last year was 34% with 76 companies launched in the second quarter of 2008.

The CONNECT Innovation Report (CIR) is the first to provide an economic indicator of the strength and impact of the innovation economy in San Diego. Published each quarter by CONNECT, San Diego’s technology and life sciences accelerator, the Report includes:

  • New innovation start-ups
  • Venture capital investment
  • Mergers and acquisition activity
  • New patent applications and patents granted
  • Research grants
  • Research employment and wage

Overall, San Diego accounted for 14% of new technology businesses started in California, in the second quarter of 2009, ranking third after Los Angeles (LA) and Santa Clara counties. LA had 140 start-ups and Santa Clara had 117.

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Famous Entrepreneur Trading Cards – Checklist Released, New Cards Added!Famous Entrepreneur Trading Cards Launch In Support Of Kiva Charity

33 Top Business Bloggers Team Up To Unveil “Entrepreneur Heroes” Series has partnered up with bloggers Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Darren Rowse, Tim Ferriss, Chris Brogan, Tom Peters, and others to create a line of famous entrepreneur trading cards called “Entrepreneur Heroes” – the profits from the sale of the cards go to support entrepreneurs in Africa through Kiva, a micro-financing non-profit organization. So far over 825 new business owners in Africa have been helped!

Get the Ultimate Entrepreneur Collector’s Item

The Entrepreneur Heroes trading cards are instant collectibles. Each of our top 33 business bloggers were asked to pick who their favorite famous entrepreneurs were and gave reasons why. A trading card was then created for each entrepreneur chosen and includes an artistic picture on the front, an inspirational quote on the back, a true story / fun fact about the entrepreneur and other personal information. If you’ve ever collected cards of your favorite sports stars, the Entrepreneur Heroes trading card series gives you a chance to collect your favorite business founders from Steve Jobs to Richard Branson to Benjamin Franklin.

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BOSTON (February 8, 2010) - - The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is pleased to announce the results of the fifth edition of the Young Entrepreneurs Initiative (YEi). YEi’10 rewards 10 innovative entrepreneurs based in the U.S. who wish to settle in France.

Since YEi’s launch in 2005, a total of 174 applications have been submitted, thirty-four of whom applied this year with a common purpose: expand their innovative development in France. Candidates come from all over US, from California (12 candidates) to Massachusetts (9 candidates), from Illinois to Florida, New Jersey, and other states, the YEi’10 candidates show great maturity and cover a wide spectrum of innovative fields. A third of the applicants originate from the life sciences industry (35%) and another third from IT (32%). The winners for this year are:

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Iraqi dinars. Photo Courtesy Raving Barwari © Kurdish Herald 2010Unofficial estimates place the unemployment rate in Iraqi Kurdistan right around a daunting 50%, where most people would conclude that the glass is half empty. Highlighting more economic weakness, the U.S. Department of State’s latest Human Rights Report on Iraq cited that the national minimum wage in Iraq is under 10,500 dinars per day for skilled workers and under 5,250 dinars per day for unskilled workers. At the time of the 2008 report, this translated to roughly $7.00 and $3.50 per day, respectively, with the average worker earning a meager salary of approximately 1.875 million dinars ($1,250) a year.

The notion that Iraqi Kurdistan is, at the moment, economically weak is not in dispute, but the policies being suggested to fix this problem are. Some say that the government should do more to help the working class earn a wage that provides a reasonable standard of living, while others say that government action would only deepen the structural instability. But there is too much talk over what the government can do and not enough talk over what the market can do.

To the Kurdistan Regional Government’s credit, they have done a lot to motivate and pave the way for businesses to create branches in the region, but they have ignored a principal component of a country’s economic machine: entrepreneurship. It is not enough to promote policies that encourage already established businesses to expand their operations into Iraqi Kurdistan when there is an abundance of innovation and ingenuity within the region’s own borders that goes largely ignored and unutilized. The developed world has learned the hard way that one of the most effective methods of increasing employment is to allow people to employ themselves to do work in areas where they have the market-determined ability, and Iraqi Kurdistan has all of the ingredients for this recipe. The government has the responsibility of ensuring that the right economic policies are put in place to help these individuals get the most important thing they need to start their businesses: capital.

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