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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.

US NewsEight million may finally be enough. That's the approximate number of jobs lost since the recession began at the end of 2007. The latest government data show that after 23 straight months of job losses, the unemployment rate has finally stopped rising and started falling. That's the most hopeful sign to date that the tsunami of layoffs is abating. If the trend continues, it will confirm an end to the devastating recession.

But an end to job losses won't solve the unemployment problem. The U.S. economy needs to add more than 100,000 jobs per month just for the unemployment rate to stay even and more than that to get back to an economy that feels healthy. And there's little sign of new jobs popping up in significant numbers anywhere. To understand why, I spoke recently with Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes entrepreneurship. Schramm participated in President Obama's recent "jobs summit" and advocates government incentives to help create and nurture small businesses. Excerpts from our conversation:
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Speaker PelosiWASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the House passed the Tax Extenders Act of 2009, which will help to create jobs and cut taxes for American middle-class families. The House passed the bill by a vote of 241 to 181.

"Today, Congress took another positive step forward in our drive to create more jobs, strengthen our economy, and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity. By passing the Tax Extenders Act, we are placing our working families at the center of our economic recovery.

"This legislation is good for businesses, good for homeowners, and good for our communities. The bill extends research and development tax credits for American companies, encouraging them to invest in innovation and clean energy, and create the high-tech jobs of the 21st century. It provides property tax relief to 30 million families, ensures our men and women called to serve overseas do not face a pay cut here at home, and offers some security for millions of parents, teachers, and consumers by extending deductions for college tuition, classroom expenses, and state and local sales taxes.

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Business WeekLast night the Plain English Campaign award ceremony was held in London. The 30th time these gongs have been doled out, individual prizes include “Golden Bull” awards, “for the worst examples of written tripe” as well as the “Foot in Mouth” award, “for baffling quotes by public figures.” The latter was won this year by none other than Peter Mandelson, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. His crime against coherence? This statement, uttered in defence of Gordon Brown at the time of the MPs’ expenses scandal:

“Perhaps we need not more people looking round more corners but the same people looking round more corners more thoroughly to avoid the small things detracting from the big things the Prime Minister is getting right.”

Er. Congratulations, Lord Mandelson. Here, see some of this year’s other winners, including Coca-Cola Enterprises and American Airlines.
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Science ProgressJonathan Sallet, co-author of the report, “The Geography of Innovation: The Federal Government and the Growth of Regional Innovation Clusters,” testifies today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. He explains in his written testimony that Congress should support the Economic Development Administration, which can build effective collaborations between businesses, universities, and local governments that create jobs and invest in an innovate future:
I believe that the federal government can maximize the benefits of science and research parks, an integral part of sparking innovation and creating jobs in the US, by supporting regional innovation clusters to promote a comprehensive, long-term economic growth and development plans across regions in the United States.
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It looks like the innovation issue may really be gaining some attention in Washington. David Brooks, the in-house conservative political columnist for the New York Times devoted today's column to the subject. He even mentioned in passing the Obama white paper (see earlier posting). While supposedly looking at the recommendations from the paper, interestingly enough he ignored that paper's central conclusion: that we need an activist innovation policy - complete with ways of addressing grand challenges. Brooks instead took the tack of advocating a set of high level government interventions. The included reforming education, increasing R&D spending, a National Infrastructure Bank, support for regional innovation clusters and rebalancing exchange rates. He also through in a few of the standard conservative positions: cut the deficit, lower the corporate tax rate and "Don't make labor markets rigid. Don't pick trade fights with China." (Although I'm not sure that "rebalancing the exchange rate isn't picking a huge trade fight with China.)
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NYTBANGALORE, India — In the United States and Europe, people worry that their well-paying, high-skill jobs will be, in a word, “Bangalored” — shipped off to India.

People here are also worried about the future. They fret that Bangalore, and India more broadly, will remain a low-cost satellite office of the West for the foreseeable future — more Scranton, Pa., in the American television series “The Office,” than Silicon Valley.

Even as the rest of the world has come to admire, envy and fear India’s outsourcing business and its technological prowess, many Indians are disappointed that the country has not quickly moved up to more ambitious and lucrative work from answering phones or writing software. Why, they worry, hasn’t India produced a Google or an Apple?
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NYTWas coal a curse to Pittsburgh? Did cars destroy Detroit? Does the dominance of a single industry destroy the innovation and entrepreneurship of a region?

If it does, then the economic crisis may have actually helped New York by enabling the city to avoid an over-concentration in finance.

For decades, economists have debated the “ Dutch Disease” and other ailments associated with too much success. The discovery of natural gas in the North Sea supposedly helped to de-industrialize the Netherlands by raising exchange rates and making Dutch manufacturing less competitive internationally. Almost 15 years ago, Jeffrey Sachs found a negative correlation between resource abundance and economic growth in the developing world, perhaps because those resources fueled conflict and enabled dictators.

Can some types of prosperity imperil cities as well as countries?
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SKANEWhat are the preconditions for Skåne being able to compete on an international scale and achieving sustainable growth over the long term? What capacity does the region have for de- veloping new knowledge and new innovations? These are just two of the questions investiga- ted by the analysis presented in this report of the region's conditions for growth and its capaci- ty for innovation.

With the support of VINNOVA, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems, Region Skåne is working over the long term to enhance the innovation capacity and competitive potential of the region. Part of this work has involved the completion of an exhaustive analysis, and an international peer review of the regional innovation system is to be undertaken. The work is of pilot type and is based on approaches and methods that, as far as we know, have not previ- ously been applied, either in Sweden or anywhere else in the world.

 

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alldaybuffetThe world of business is changing. Consumers are demanding more — more value, more quality, more responsibility — and more companies are striving to keep up.

As information becomes more transparent, people are starting to realize that brands are not siloed and that businesses touch many parts of our world and society. A bank is no longer just a bank; it’s an international institution that can directly affect our daily lives (and livelihoods), which mean its operations are important to us.

The more a business remains an opaque brand, the bigger the disconnect between what it says and what it does. What’s happening between the product factory in China and the glossy ad in Wired Magazine? The second there’s a misalignment of mission and action; it’ll invariably lead to consumer mistrust, resulting in people heading elsewhere to fill their needs around genuine authenticity.
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GoogleWhat did we learn reading Ken Auletta's book "Googled: The End Of The World As We Know It?"

For one, we learned that at one point in Google's history, Sergey Brin wanted to start a hedge fund.

His thinking was Google had better access to data, and would therefore produce superior returns.
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There is a lot that a venture capitalist considers before signing a check for a start-up company. In addition to presenting a solid business plan, a step-by-step commercialization strategy and a solid understanding of the market, Mark Suster, partner of GRP Partners in Los Angeles, suggests on BusinessInsider.com that there are five skills that an entrepreneur must have before he signs a check.

Suster lists tenacity as the first must-have skill, adding, “Tenacity is probably the most important attribute in an entrepreneur. It’s the person who never gives up — who never accepts ‘no’ for an answer. The world is filled with doubters who say that things can’t be done and then pronounce after the fact that they ‘knew it all along.’ Look at Google. You think that anybody really believed 1999 that two young kids out of Stanford had a shot at unseating Yahoo!, Excite, Ask Jeeves and Lycos? Yeah, right.”
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Young EntrepreneurTaking the plunge and becoming an entrepreneur is akin to making a giant leap into the abyss. You might be the most orderly, anal-retentive organizer or logistician and may have a clear picture in your head about how you are going to achieve independence and satisfaction. Do you know how to make God laugh? Tell him you have a plan and in this case tell him that you are going to be a successful entrepreneur! The unfortunate truth, as those who have been down the road before you will testify if you ask them seriously, is that you are in for some adventure. Your plan is nothing more than a constant work in progress and you will certainly end up putting more time, effort, emotional and physical work into your own business than you would working for anyone else.
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