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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.

(Washington, DC) –Today, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) willintroduceThe America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. The bill is expected to be considered under suspension tomorrow. Bills considered under suspension cannot be amended and need to pass with support from two-thirds of those present, rather than a simple majority.
The bill is identical to H.R. 5116 with two exceptions: it reduces the authorization period from five to three years, and it adopts language from the Motion to Recommit banning the use of the authorized funds to pay the salary of federal employees disciplined for looking at pornography at work. It includes the 52 amendments to H.R. 5116 adopted on the House Floor.
“The reintroduced America COMPETES Reauthorization Act is a 50 percent cut in the funding path from H.R. 5116 as introduced. While I certainly would have preferred the stability a five-year authorization would have given our science agencies, I am willing to compromise with the Minority, in the interest of getting a good bill through the House and to our colleagues in the Senate. This legislation is too important to our nation’s scientific and economic leadership to let it fall victim to political gridlock,” said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).  “The bill has a less steep funding trajectory than the 2007 COMPETES, H.R. 2272, which passed the 110th Congress 367 to 57, with the support of 143 Republicans, 101 of whom are serving in the 111th Congress.”  
For more information on the Committee’s work on COMPETES, please visit our website.

Recently we have noted here and here that the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act--one of the nation's key vehicles for keeping the nation competitive--seemed to be proceeding well, with the addition of several important updates, including language embracing the Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Hubs, a related pilot for clean energy regional consortia, and a new regional innovation clusters title.

Well, we spoke too soon. Hours after an amendment to add the Regional Energy Innovation Consortia program to the America COMPETES Act as a pilot program passed on the floor of the House by an encouraging vote of 254-173, a mischievous amendment that linked a hard-to-vote-against ban on federal salaries going to workers who look at pornography on government computers to major cuts in the bill prevailed and has now thrown the whole bill into uncertainty.

Thanks to the amendment by Ranking House Science & Technology Committee Member Ralph Hall (R-Tex.), Science & Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) has at least for now had to yank a bill that has now been shorn of the needed hubs, consortia, and clusters elements as well as critical funding increases for core innovation agencies.

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It was September, 2005. I was fresh off of a workshop with a media company where the company's CEO noted, "Trees don't grow to the sky forever." The company's core business was strong, but the CEO told the group it had to innovate to sustain success in an increasingly turbulent environment.

A couple of days later, I was talking to my colleague Matt Eyring. He said, "So Scott, you've been a big supporter of Apple over the past few years. What do you think about buying some stock?"

"Trees don't grow to the sky forever," I told Matt.


Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft.

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Long live the Rust Belt.

I [Author] am still trying to process the mammoth Brookings "State of Metropolitan America" report. I plan to dig deeper into the chapter about educational attainment. For now, the big story is how Brookings has boldly served up a novel perspective on US geography:

In fact, my Brookings colleagues and I identify seven categories of metropolitan areas based on their population growth rates, their levels of racial and ethnic diversity, and the rates at which their adults have earned college degrees. Together, these indicators say a lot about not just these three dimensions of metropolitan populations, but also factors such as development patterns, age, household structure, economic history and trajectory, and income inequality. Associating metro areas in this way breaks them out of their traditional regional boxes, bringing together areas as far flung as Allentown and Jacksonville, Portland and Atlanta.
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Graduation season is upon us, and everyone from President Obama to John Grisham is delivering commencement speeches across the country. TIME looks at some of the most successful people to never receive their sheepskins.

The Harvard Crimson called him "Harvard's most successful dropout" — the rest of the world just calls him ridiculously rich. For more than a decade, Bill Gates has been one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, men in the world. The son of an attorney and a schoolteacher, Gates entered Harvard in the fall of 1973, only to drop out two years later to found Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen. In 2007, more than thirty years after he left Harvard, the co-founder of Microsoft would finally receive his degree (an honorary doctorate) from his alma mater. At the commencement, Gates said, "I'm a bad influence. That's why I was invited to speak at your graduation. If I had spoken at your orientation, fewer of you might be here today."

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The FT reports that Google, Intel and Sony will announce a “significant breakthrough into consumer electronics and the broadcast industry” later this week with the launch of a so-called “Smart TV” platform.

In case that sounds familiar, that’s because Bloomberg and the WSJ reported as much on April 29, apart from the apparent name of the Web TV platform that would be making its debut at Google I/O.

Google’s developer conference will be held May 19 – 20 in San Francisco.

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Airplanes powered by coal -- at first blush it sounds about as attractive as the toddler chainsaw. But Accelergy in Houston says it has come up with a way to convert the ubiquitous rock into an economical, clear, and arguably clean form of jet fuel.

The company will initially try to sell fuel to the U.S. military -- the Air Force has already begun initial testing -- and has also started to field inquiries from China and some commercial aircraft and engine manufacturers. Biomass can also be substituted for coal, or at least part of it, in the recipe, depending on the desired characteristics of the final fuel.

The Department of Defense will likely set its standards for synthetic jet fuels in 2013, and CEO Tim Vail claims that Accelergy's fuel will be able to meet those standards.

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There has been a lot talk in the past year about job creation, entrepreneurship and economic recovery. Under the economic pressures, it became more important to than ever to examine closely how to unleash the entrepreneurial potential of various groups in society. We know for example that women are under-represented among business founders in high-tech and other high-growth fields despite their increasing participation in science and engineering. Fortunately, we are better prepared every day to inform policy. Today, I examine some of the most recent findings on the factors that affect the survival and growth of startups founded by women.

With women representing over half of the population in the U.S. and the majority at U.S. colleges and universities, it is important to explore whether successful, high-growth women entrepreneurs differ from successful men entrepreneurs. The Kauffman Foundation has recently released a new study, "Are Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?" which suggests the answer is both yes and no.

Read more ..., the drugs that shaped the pharmaceutical industry of the 1970s and 1980s, were largely abandoned by most major drug companies in the mid 1990s. Big pharma’s exit from the vaccines business was based on a variety of factors, including 1) the rising costs of manufacturing biologics as compared with small molecule drugs, 2) diminishing market sizes in the developed world, 3) a lack of innovation in vaccine R&D, and 4) the increasing frequency of lawsuits brought against drug companies by persons who were allegedly harmed or injured by their use. By the early 2000s, there were only five major vaccine manufacturers in the world: Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, sanofi-aventis, Novartis, and Wyeth (now Pfizer). However, government-imposed limits on the liability of vaccine manufacturers; improvements in vaccine research and manufacturing capacity; the growth of emerging markets in Asia, South America, and elsewhere; and the advent of so-called therapeutic vaccines have rejuvenated the vaccine business. In 1992, the size of the global vaccine market was estimated to be $2.96 billion. This grew to almost $23 billion in 2008, and the size of the worldwide vaccine market is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2018.

While renewed interest in vaccines has spawned a multitude of start-up companies with novel and intriguing technology platforms, the industry is still dominated by the so-called “big five” vaccine manufacturing companies (mentioned above). One of these companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has long been recognized as a leading manufacturer of prophylactic childhood and adult vaccines. Since 2008, GSK has garnered regulatory approval and launched a number of new vaccines, including two highly touted, multivalent subunit vaccines. One, called Synflorix, is a vaccine designed to prevent pneumococcal disease. The second, called Cervarix, is an anti- human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer vaccine.

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A reader asks: My co-founder and I are ready to hire a couple of key employees, and one of our advisors suggested we set-up a stock option plan and offer that as an incentive. What is a stock option and what are some of the issues we need to worry about?

Answer: The formal answer here is: An employee stock option is a security that gives select staffers the right to buy a certain number of shares of the company’s common stock at a predetermined price at some point in the future. The answer that might mean more to you, though, is: Options are a way to give employees an incentive to work harder to ensure the company succeeds, since as the stock price increases, their options gain value.

Because it provides employees with this opportunity to benefit directly from any gain in the company’s value, stock options are quite common in startups. From a founder’s perspective, they’re appealing since they avoid any cash outlays and align the interests of the owner and workers.

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CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- IKEA, the world's largest home furnishing retailer, has released its 2009 Sustainability Report (September 1, 2008August 31, 2009), which recaps and highlights its progress in many areas including integrating sustainability into all IKEA strategies as well as the entire product life cycle. This integrated way of thinking is rudimentary in order to tackle some of the environmental challenges that our world faces today. Aptly named 'The Never Ending Job,' the report explains IKEA's continued focus on identifying good resources and using more efficient materials. The report can be found at

"IKEA is obsessed with making more from less, and we don't like to waste resources of any kind. This will continue to be our compass in years to come, and we will stimulate new thinking and innovation in our sustainability work," stated Mikael Ohlsson, President and CEO, IKEA Group.

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You gave up your cushy job and stepped out of your comfort zone in pursuit of your dream of becoming an entrepreneur. And now that you have realized your dream and are ready to scale-up and take the next step, are you facing hurdles as far as HR is concerned?

If your answer is yes, don’t worry – it’s what every entrepreneur faces at some point or the other during operations expansion.

When you started out, the entrepreneurial energy kept the company going. Being a small team, everybody knew what everybody else was doing and there was ‘collective will’ to make things happen.

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