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.
The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has taken the next step in setting up the UK Innovation Investment Fund (UK IIF), a venture capital fund of funds to support the UK's technology companies. Capital for Enterprise Ltd. will release the Request for Proposals (RFP) for prospective Fund of Fund managers for the UK UF. The RFP is a key milestone in delivering the fund as it sets out the parameters for the fund and details the information expected from prospective Fund of Fund managers. The RFF will ask potential Fund Managers to target the sectors of the future, such as life sciences. Low carbon, digital and advanced manufacturing. Success in these sectors is key to the UK Government's industrial strategy to create highly skilled jobs as Britain emerges out of the global downturn . The RFP will also ask Fund Managers how they will raise money from private sector investors to create the largest technology Fund in Europe.
Who would have believed that the country with the highest mobile subscription rate worldwide (138% as per World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness report), the broadest high-speed mobile broadband coverage and the densest network of public internet access points in Europe is the small nation of Lithuania, sandwiched between Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Kaliningrad and the Baltic sea?
Prompted by comments I heard on numerous occasions (including geeky ArcticStartup and TechCrunch events), and equally inspired by the enthusiastic entrepreneurial community in Lithuania, I thought I’ll share a few facts.
Managers wondering how to make their organisations more innovative should look at Davila and company’s fine book, Making Innovation Work, not least because it contains many real-world examples.
As a lifelong fan of the Marx Brothers (I loved them at age eight, and I love them in my forties), I was delighted to read his take on Groucho Marx and in particular his assessment of their act as not being about innate creative talent or effortless idea-generation at all but about hard graft and a willingness to try things out.
Happy Friday! The Commerce Department will establish a new Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help small businesses grow faster, part of the Obama administration's new $100 billion innovation agenda announced earlier this week. The administration is especially interested in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs as statistics suggest businesses less than five years old accounted for nearly all private sector employment growth from 1980 to 2005.
The new office will report directly to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and help coordinate the federal government's efforts to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into actual products, companies and jobs. It will also focus on education, training and mentoring issues; improving access to capital for small businesses; and help create government-backed incentives for entrepreneurs and potential investors.
Locke will also lead a new national advisory council on entrepreneurship and innovation, stacked with various experts in the field.
Innovation can only be encouraged, managed, tracked and measured if it is a core element in organizations growth aspirations. So it needs to be fully integrated into the strategic-management agenda and the executives top down need so as to create the conditions that allow a more dynamic innovating environment to emerge by setting out and providing the context. The very same people must be explicit in their steps to foster an innovation culture where trust, ideas are valued, these can be freely expressed and can help oversee risk collectively.
The quick news is the informal conference committee hasn't done its job and no SBIR Reauthorization compromise was produced. SBIR (this time along with STTR and the DOD's CPP) has been extended again -- a mere month to October 31st. Gee. Is anybody surprised? We have a do-little-but-argue-and-sling-mud Congress. Maybe Dr. Dolittle is in charge.
Remember the Dr. Dolittle story? In the charming Hugh Lofting series of children's stories he was a doctor who eschewed human patients for animals, and he spoke their language. He lived in a fantasy world. Sort of like our Congress. But that's not why I'm raising this metaphor.
I have two reasons, actually. The first is his name -- irresistible!
IBM keeps pushing into emerging markets in an effort to encourage startups and technology adoption around the world. Today, it is announcing it has opened a Linux innovation center in Kazakhstan, the nation made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy movie, Borat.
It’s rare that a venture-backed startup in cleantech these days doesn’t have an eye on government funding opportunities via the stimulus package. As Battelle Ventures’ General Partner Kef Kasdin told us in an interview, “Why rob a bank? There’s money there Because that’s where the money is.”
But startups, for the most part, haven’t been big winners in stimulus awards so far. A123Systems, a later-stage battery startup based in Massachusetts (which went public on Thursday) snagged one of the largest grants in the first round of funds allocated under the Department of Energy’s highly competitive battery manufacturing program, but many more smaller companies didn’t make the cut, at least in that round. Kasdin thinks startups can do better.
Venture-capital firms remain on the prowl for new businesses, but it's more of a stroll than a hunt.
Venture-capital investing fell to $3.7 billion in the second quarter, down more than 50% from $7.6 billion in the year-ago period, according to the latest MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Although that second-quarter sum represented a 15% jump over the prior quarter, the number of deals remained flat at 603, PwC said.
Industry Minister Tony Clement's review of the sale of Nortel Networks Corp.'s enterprise-solutions unit to Avaya Inc. under the Investment Canada Act is a flaccid gesture that masks Canada's larger failure to actively court, develop or retain flagship innovators.
The review was triggered because Nortel's accountants deemed the book value of the assets to be above the act's $312-million threshold. Avaya has yet to make the concrete job commitments that would reassure Mr. Clement that the deal is of "net benefit" to Canada (the criterion for approval). Avaya spokeswoman Lynn Buckley said that Avaya was "committed to maintaining" two Nortel research facilities, but would not comment on a report last week that up to 400 of 1,000 jobs were at risk.
More than 50 years ago, noted economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote, "The resistance which comes from interests threatened by an innovation in the productive process is not likely to die out as long as the capitalist order persists." He might have been more prescient if he had said that such resistance would actually strengthen over time.