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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.

UnLearning in ProgressOne of the reasons why many startups fail to cross the chasm is founder’s ability to unlearn and relearn.

If you have been working in corporate world, you were used to certain ways of conducting business, a certain respect that you commanded in the industry (especially with vendors).

And the moment you step out of your designation, you lose all of the softer perks associated with the designation.

When you start-up, you again have to build the same level of credibility – you were earlier respected as ‘Engineering Manager @ BIG firm’ and now, you need to build credibility as ‘Founder of an unknown company’.

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The University of North Carolina (UNC) believes it has come up with the Holy Grail of technology transfer - a standard license fee scheme in which one set of terms can be used for any deal, bypassing lengthy negotiations and getting the technology out of the lab more quickly.

Licensing schemes for transferring technology are the bane of university technology licensing officers and their corporate partners alike, with most licenses requiring their own special terms.

There have been earlier efforts, like the TurboNegotiator software developed by the US University-Industry Demonstration Partnership. The programme aims to help universities and industry quickly identify areas of agreement and areas that still need work, speeding the negotiating process.

Meanwhile, the Kauffman Foundation Experts’ Solution for University Technology Licensing Reform has argued that university technology licensing offices have, over time, become monopolies that slow commercialisation. It recommended that faculty choose their own licensing agents, saying the increased competition would speed up commercialisation of new technologies, while at the same time allowing universities to collect the same royalties as they do under the current system.

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The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors approved the investment of $599,800 in support of regional economic development. The investments are with seven early-stage technology companies and two established manufacturers.

BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Center staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:

1. developing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

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USTAR is publishing a new kind of annual report, one that’s in “bite-sized” pieces you might have time to read. We’ll be adding chapters over the next few weeks. Today’s edition covers the USTAR Technology Outreach and Innovation Program.

163 companies assisted. $9.73 million in capital raised.

The Technology Outreach program aims to expand the benefit of USTAR beyond the major research universities to the entire state. In 2009, Technology Outreach worked with 163 companies in 18 counties to help them connect with university research and expand their businesses. In particular, early stage technology companies face a challenge finding capital investment. Even in a tough investing climate, USTAR helped innovation-based startups secure $9.73 million in 2009

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Let's face it. Executives are under a lot of pressure to follow the latest management trends.

Columbia business school professor Eric Abrahamson, who has written about the diffusion of managerial innovations, calls this the "norm of progressivity": the expectation that you either follow the latest management innovations — even if they later prove misguided — or suffer a diminished reputation among your peers, the press, and your shareholders.

Thus it's little surprise that nearly every company now has some sort of experiment or program relating to open innovation. Open innovation means reaching out to take advantage of talent beyond the firm (or responding to such outreach opportunities). It's a terrific concept, borne out by several oft-repeated examples such as InnoCentive and GoldCorp.

But are companies, with all their good intentions, getting the most from open innovation? We suspect that the initial successes, encouraging as they are, represent only the beginning. What if open innovation were defined more broadly and more ambitiously? Could even greater value be realized? If so, what would the next wave of open innovation look like?

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BRUSSELS, February 4 /PRNewswire/ --


A new website goes live today that provides a forum for a much-needed debate around the role of private equity and venture capital in the real economy.

The site is part of a campaign by the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association "EVCA" ( to encourage an informed discussion about the real role of the asset class within Europe.

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Mplayit, maker of the mobile app catalog that lives inside Facebook, will release a report later today that lists the top games in their collection. Tetris, The Sims 3, and Wheel of Fortune are among the winners. So are Tap Tap Revenge and Rock Band.

On Mplayit, users can rate, comment, and recommend individual apps to their social network on Facebook and Twitter. They can browse friends’ app collections, and follow their interests.

The most interesting stat in the report is that while games account for only one in five of the 130,000 iPhone apps at Mplayit, they’re half the traffic. By contrast, games are only 30 percent of BlackBerry traffic and 20 percent of Android.

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US infantary in AfghanistanNot previously known as a driving force for green developments, the US Department of Defense (DoD) is increasingly looking for renewable energy technologies for use on its bases.

The Department has established programmes to help find and develop technologies from the private sector for its use.

The move is part of an overhaul of the DoD's energy use, announced in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Report, published this month.

"The Department will… speed innovative energy and conservation technologies from laboratories to military end users. The Environmental Security and Technology Certification Program uses military installations as a testbed to demonstrate and create a market for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies coming out of the private sector and DoD and Department of Energy laboratories… The Department is improving small-scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at military installations through our Energy Conservation Investment Program," says the QDR Report.

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Campus Philly Careers invites hundreds of regional employers to recruit for internship positions over the web

GREATER PHILADELPHIA –This March, Campus Philly’s career matching website will be the center of online talent recruitment for the Philadelphia region during its fourth Online Internship Fair. From March 15th-26th, the nonprofit invites area employers to recruit student talent for internship opportunities on, free of charge.

“While the site is live all year, employers can feel confident that local talent will have a presence on the site during our two-week fair,” said Alethia Calbeck, Campus Philly’s director of employer partnerships. The fair will be supported by a marketing campaign to encourage students to post their resumes on the site and actively search for internship opportunities.

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Carmen Scott Dawson was living the good life. He was No. 1 in sales nationally for his Washington, D.C.-based, multi-national communications company, living with his buddies in a $2 million-plus home, and enjoying everything that comes with being young and successful. Then he developed Lyme disease, which went undiagnosed, rendering his hands useless and severely hampering his ability to walk.

Now, almost a decade later, when Dawson talks about what he does, he says proudly: “I’m a disabled entrepreneur.” Back in his hometown of Erie, Dawson is building his own communications and business development firm, AdVanz LLC, and looking to build entrepreneurial resources and networks for minorities, the disabled, immigrants, urban poor, and veterans--populations not always immediately associated with entrepreneurism, but many times among the most well-suited.

AdVanz has served as the state’s director for National Entrepreneurship Week the last three years and also for Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2008. Last week he launched a statewide entrepreneurial mentoring and technical service campaign called UnleashPA, which will run through Feb. 27, the last day of National Entrepreneurship Week. Dawson will be identifying and enlisting 100 mentors to be part of a statewide entrepreneurship leadership team. His Adreamz Institute and Training Center, established through the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institutes, is the first of its kind in North America. Dawson also unveiled his UnleashErie program, with programs at the Booker T. Washington Center and the Urban Erie Development Corporation, among others. He hopes to replicate the program throughout the state, and his supporters include Team PA Foundation CEO Rich Hudic.

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In its third year, the Kansas Pipeline Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program continued its mission to provide some of the state’s most promising startups with the right foundation for further growth.

Executives from eight Kansas businesses were chosen from hundreds of applications and put through a series of quarterly three-day education sessions on subjects ranging from ways to organize their finances to how to improve how they communicate their business to customers and potential investors.



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The United States of Science: President's Budget Marks a Turning Point for ScienceWhen future American economic and science historians assess the course of the nation in the early 21st century, they might well identify February 1, 2010, as a landmark date. The reason is the juxtaposition of numbers in the Obama administration’s federal budget for fiscal year 2011, beginning this October. One set of numbers tackles the threat posed by ever-rising federal deficits to our country’s long-term stability, and the other set provides the financial wherewithal for sustained economic recovery based on science and education.

Behind the numbing fiscal calculations in the budget, the president faces up to the reality of a national government that must bring down a fiscal deficit that stretches as far as the eye can see. What is truly sobering is the possibility that our long-term budget challenges might lead to a crisis of confidence in the U.S. economy that could at some time not only wreak more havoc on the financial markets, but lead to the kind of unrest that fosters political extremism and international conflict. The steps taken by the Obama administration in the FY 2011 budget are the right way to go. The new budget will boost our economy in the short term to ensure tax revenues rise amid a broad economic recovery while also trimming government spending where it is least effective to bring down the deficit over the medium to long term.

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Patents ‘ American GreatnessWe all know what a patent is in general, but how much do you really know about patents and how they have shaped America? Our advances in technology here in America have surpassed that of all other countries combined. Many do not like to hear that, but it is a fact, and it has more to do with how America moved ahead of other countries economically than any other factor and still does today.

In this article, I will cover many of the advances made by American Inventors throughout our relatively short history compared to other countries.

Not all inventions that helped make America great were originated in America, but even those that were not invented and patented here, were put to better use here, like a way to produce steel in large quantities for instance. Originally patented by a British inventor named Henry Bessemer. He invented the Bessemer Converter or the Bessemer Process.

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Register now for the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance 2010 Annual Conference, to be eld on Thursday and Friday, March 25 and 26 in New Orleans, LA. The Annual Conference is the premier training and networking event for anyone interested in developmental venture capital. An introductory workshop precedes the conference on Wednesday, Marc 24. Attending this event provides an in-depth look at leading funds and best practices in the industry, and serves as the ideal entry point to the conference as a whole. Go to our website for more information:

The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA) is the network for the rapidly growing field of community development venture capital (CDVC) investing. CDVC funds provide equity capital to businesses in underinvested markets, seeking market-rate financial returns, as well as the creation of good jobs, wealth, and entrepreneurial capacity. homeThe Guardian's Dan Roberts speaks to Harvard's Josh Lerner about entrepreneurship and venture capital

In an extended interview, Josh Lerner, professor of investment banking at Harvard Business School, discusses the role of government in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

The Guardian's head of business Dan Roberts also asks him about the role of Asian economies, teaching business ethics and if the global investment banking system is in need of reform.

Prof Lerner's book Boulevard of Broken Dreams is out now.

Have a listen to the podcast, and post your comments on the blog below.

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President Obama and NFTE award winnersPresident Obama may be talking tough with Wall Street, but on one issue they both agree: They like the nonpartisan Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurship among youth in low-income communities.
President Obama and NFTE award winners

NFTE, founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a businessman and teacher from the toughest, most crime-ridden schools in New York City, has tapped into goodwill from all sides of the political spectrum for a cause that counts.

Mariotti discovered that the best way to put at-risk kids’ feet on the right path -- the path to real ownership and success -- is by teaching them how to become business owners.

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EconomyMoneyAs one looks around the economic landscape I am struck by the devastation. One number stands out above all others. One in five males between the ages of 25 and 55 is out of work! That is a staggering number. The numbers are not going back to anything “normal” anytime soon according to the IMF. Financial crises followed by recessions do not return to normal levels of employment for over a decade. Why you might ask? The answer I guess is that the levels of debt need to be worked down. Everyone owes everyone money and none pay anyone. Second, the recession destroys real capital. In this situation it was housing. It will take years to work off the excesses of the housing crisis.

So what does entrepreneurship have to do with the recession? If we take what we know today, entrepreneurs and innovation play a vital role in the economy. But can they help us in the great recession? In other words, what policy should we be pursuing to move the unemployment rate below 10 percent and back into the neighborhood of 5 percent? We know that new firms are important. They create most of the net jobs. However, only a small percent, perhaps 4 percent, create almost all of the jobs in any given four-year period. And this seems to hold up in different times, different countries, and different industries.

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tzleft.holly.krisztina.courtesy.jpg(CNN) -- On Monday, President Obama introduced his  much-anticipated federal budget for fiscal year 2011. And as America reviews the plan, few issues will be as critical as how it addresses job creation.

Fortunately, an opportunity to solve our job crisis lies right under our noses.

Currently, the federal government is investing nearly $50 billion a year on university research -- yet barely a dime on university programs to help translate the most promising ideas into new businesses and employment opportunities. That's like turning up the water pressure but never opening up the faucet.

Thought leaders in academia, industry, and the public sector have collaborated to develop a policy proposal called IMPACT, which I recently presented at a forum on Capitol Hill. This proposal would expand our country's capacity to harness innovation to create real impact -- impact in the form of high-paying jobs.

Dear friends,
I wanted to share some great news. As you may know, the Federal budget came out on Monday. In it, theres a significant item that I believe will dramatically improve job creation by supporting university innovation.

Currently, the federal government invests nearly $50 billion a year on university research -- yet very little on university programs to help translate the most promising ideas into new businesses and employment opportunities.

In a recent column for CNN, I outlined a specific policy proposal for how the federal government can catalyze economic growth and societal benefit with ideas spawned at major research universities. The IMPACT proposal, which I authored last summer at the urging of the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, is an initiative that would translate the most promising innovations into new products, services, and start-ups; increase engagement of faculty and students in the innovation and entrepreneurship process; and enhance regional innovation ecosystems around universities.

So, the great news is that the proposal made it into the National Science Foundations budget as an expansion of their Partnerships for Innovation program! In the FY 2011 budget, $12 million will be invested in a new NSF Innovation Ecosystem competitive grant program.

The key to the program is that it is modest in cost yet big on impact, because it leverages the resources we already have in higher education. It focuses on what a university does best -- generating groundbreaking ideas, teaching lifelong innovators, and serving as a nexus for the local community. Ultimately, we hope that it scales to every corner of the country.

We know first-hand that these initiatives create jobs and economic prosperity. For example, in the last two years 16 USC spinouts raised at least $148 million in financing. These companies employ approximately 500 full-time employees, more than half locally in Los Angeles.

Now that the proposal is in the federal budget, I could use your help. Please spread the word with your colleagues! We need to gain more awareness and popular support behind the idea as Congress prepares to consider the budget in the coming months.
Thanks for your help!


The CNN article can be found here:
Impact Paper can be found here:
The White House OTSP Budget Highlights can be found here:
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Innovation Metrics of Leading CompaniesI have often shunned the idea of metrics for innovation as it has been very difficult finding companies being good at this.

However, I believe it is important to work this out in order to raise the innovation productivity and in this post I share some input from a couple of large corporations based on a discussion on LinkedIn last year.

The discussion was started by Jimm Feldborg, who is R&D Manager at Grundfos in China. Jimm pointed out that a good start is to understand whether your indicator is a:

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Middle Eastern Technical University President Ahmet Acar.Aiming to promote the concept of “business angels” in Turkey, a leading university in Ankara has established Turkey’s first business angel network association to support early-stage technology entrepreneurs.

“Our aim is to develop the business angel sector in Turkey and boost technology-based economic development. Turkey should be a technology producer, not a consumer, an important precondition for the welfare of the country in the medium and long run,” Middle Eastern Technical University, or METU, President Ahmet Acar told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Once used in the art world to describe wealthy individuals who provided money for theatrical productions, the term business angel, also known as an investor angel, now refers to qualified, experienced and affluent businesspeople who provide capital, expertise, managerial assistance and a network for early-stage entrepreneurs to solve their initial financing problems and help establish their firms in the marketplace.

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