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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.

Michael Schrage, writing on Harvard Business Review, has a message for you: You probably won’t be retiring at age 65. You can read the piece to find out why, but his bigger message is this:

The skills you need to do your job today aren’t the ones you’ll require to continue working after retirement age. Schrage asks,

“Based on your current skill set and competences, what do you think your workday will look like when you’re 70? Are you comfortable with the probability that you will be managing employees younger than your grandchildren? Temperamentally, do you think you’ll add more value as a mentor, a partner, or part-timer? More important, what will your (much) younger boss think?”

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Companies are using so-called innovation camps to come up with $100 million ideas. Paul Sloane reports from Amdocs' recent four-day event

Many large companies face the problem of how to find viable innovation opportunities that might result in significant new revenue streams. One approach that can deliver results is an intensive innovation camp. I recently helped facilitate such an event for Amdocs, a $3 billion company that provides software and services for most of the world's leading service providers, including AT&T (T), Sprint Nextel (S), and Vodafone (VOD).

This is the second such event that Amdocs has held. Organized by the company's chief scientist, Tal Givoly, its format is loosely based on gatherings such as Kinnernet or FooCamp, with emphasis placed on unleashing energy and creativity from the attendees. Last year's camp generated an idea known as Tera-play, which has become integral to Amdocs' products. It focuses on helping clients cope with the reality of a world in which trillions of devices—most of them not phones—are connected to the network and it addresses the systems, processes, and infrastructure to support this world.

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G20 leaders urged to invest in “green” economy(eTN) - In what the United Nations calls a “continued push to keep the poorest and most vulnerable at the forefront of international discussions,” Ban Ki-moon, UN’s secretary general, over the weekend urged leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) to scale up investment in clean energy and green economy as part of the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"The risks -- and costs -- of inaction on climate change grow each year. The more we delay, the more we will pay," he told leaders of the G20 industrialized and developing economies at a working luncheon Sunday in Toronto, Canada.

Mr. Ban has reportedly been participating in the two-day meeting to “try to keep the world leaders' focus on promotion of development in poor countries, despite the global economic slowdown.”

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Working at a startup should be a labor of love. The hours can be long and the pay can be modest, but for many people, the culture can’t be beat.

Most startup founders are incredibly passionate and dedicated – and these qualities permeate the entire organization. In fact, startup companies often engender an entrepreneurial culture that lives long after the early days, inspiring employees to spin out and create entirely new companies with what they have learned.

A key challenge for startup executives, though, is filling their staff with competent, motivated employees that share their vision and passion – and not people who want to punch in at nine and punch out at five, with a two-hour lunch in-between.

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Opassed out desk office sleepne of the toughest challenges of an entrepreneur in building a startup is the fact that there are so many things that you don’t know how to do, or don’t like to do.

Things like raising money, building a business plan, or hiring and firing people.

These aren’t fun, especially for a visionary. That’s when the curse of procrastination steps in.

The result is that certain things just never seem to get done. Jan Yager, in her book, “Work Less, Do More” talks about procrastination as a primary obstacle to efficient time management.

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently signed legislation approving a new tax credit to encourage angel investment and extending the state's R&D tax credit one more year. The Innovation Development and Economy Act (SB 2093) allows eligible angel and early-stage institutional investors to take a 25 percent tax credit on investments in small, technology firms. Up to $2 million may be claimed on an individual investment for a $500,000 tax credit. The program is capped at $10 million and will be effective on Jan 1, 2011.

Passed unanimously by the Illinois General Assembly, SB 3655 extends the state's R&D tax credit for one more year. The provision allows for a tax credit equal to 6.5 percent of qualifying expenditures that increase R&D activities in Illinois. These expenditures include, for example, technological and experimental research whose purpose is to develop new or improved components, functions, performance, reliability or quality.

SB 2093 is available at: http://ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/96/PDF/096-0939.pdf.

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utahEven the sober Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says 46 states are facing a Greek-like crisis. These state governments must inaugurate an austerity regime to cut spending by $112 billion for FY2011.

FY2011 begins on Thursday.

States have already cut over $300 billion from budgets in the past two years to make up for rising costs and disappearing revenue. For California and New York, this means some of the bloodshed is over. For other states, it's getting much worse.

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On a day when the Dow and the Nasdaq were in the red, Tesla Motors, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric-car startup, saw shares of TSLA climb slowly but steadily. Shares in the company’s initial public offering were priced at $17 last night by the offering’s four underwriters, but the first trades today went for $19. The price just this second, at 8:30am Pacific, is hovering in the $17-18 range.

Tesla’s debut marked the first IPO of an automaker in the U.S. since Ford’s 54 years ago. The company’s stock priced at $17 a share last night, exceeding the expected range of $14 to $16, with the potential to rake in $226 million and value the company at $1.6 billion. After an IPO, underwriters have the challenge of matching investor demand with supply of shares to set an opening price for trading. In Tesla’s case, that didn’t register until more than two hours after Tesla CEO Elon Musk rang the bell to open the Nasdaq.

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Share – share with colleagues. Share with customers. Even share at times with would be competitors. Innovations depend on it. Dare to share.

Create stuff together – collaboration is a fundamental element to innovation success.

Don’t cry over spilled milk – accidents happen. Sometimes great innovations are the result of accidents.

Flush the toilet when you’re done – not everything that you create is useful. Sometimes it’s best to just flush it away and wash your hands.

Take snack breaks – nourish yourself – mentally, physically, and spiritually. It will give you added energy and boost your long-term innovation success.

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As a small business owner, you know the importance of blogging. You also know how important it is to get coverage from other blogs. But getting blog coverage means knowing how to pitch. It’s about making your email to that blogger stand out and make them want to hit the Reply button instead of just directing you to trash. And that’s not always easy.

As a blogger and a SMB business owner, I’m constantly getting and sending out pitches. And there’s an art to it. Here are 5 Dos and Dont’s of pitching bloggers for coverage.

  1. Know Who To Contact: Businesses quickly get in trouble when they create a rudimentary press list and then mass email everyone on it. This is something you really want to avoid. You want to create a PR linkerati list that will help you identify the most important outlets when you need them. Do some research to find the most relevant blogs in your niche, and then segment them by what types of stories they cover, what their audience likes, and the topics they’re interested in. You don’t want to contact EVERYONE when you have something to say, you only want to contact the people most interested.
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thumbs up flickrOne of the things I have the privilege to do outside of work is serve on the board of a Christian church in Brookline called Highrock. The church was founded less than 2 years ago, and it’s been a pleasure watching this “startup” develop.

I’ve also been able to see the operations of a few other non profits over the years.

Many are well run by unbelievably talented and inspirational people. But there are a few best practices I’ve seen that I think could be very helpful, especially for startup non-profits.

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samsung solar guruSamsung has launched ‘Samsung Guru E1107’ phone that runs on solar powered battery.

The phone, targeted towards Rural India provides 5 ~ 10 minutes talk time for an hour of charging and has an inbuilt Torch as well.

Samsung E1107 Features

  • 3.86cm (1.52) LCD provides comfortable viewing of menus and text.
  • Mobile Tracker – Automatically sends SMS to a specific number set in advance when mobile is lost or stolen and the SIM card is replaced.
  • Enhanced Security – Send emergency SOS messages to pre-designated contacts.
  • An interesting feature is Fake Call, that sets off a ringbones so users can pretend they have an incoming call. [more]
  • FM Radio/Torch
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