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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.

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Microsoft ( MSFT - news - people ) has adopted a tough mantra for an age of austerity, arguing that innovation must take a back seat to cost-cutting and productivity gains when it comes to selling technology.

'Things have come down. I see them staying down and slowly growing,' Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, said today in a speech to British business leaders.

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The White House's plan for $130 billion in innovation funding is admirable but lacks detail, and here's why the money could be wasted, says Jeneanne Rae 

Recently, the Obama Administration issued A Strategy for American Innovation: Driving Towards Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs. Reading it would inspire anyone to think that this Administration has a good handle on what needs to be done to shore up America's many weaknesses and keep the U.S. out in front in terms of economic as well as scientific leadership. It details where our country stands on important issues such as R&D investments, workforce skills, physical infrastructure, energy, and health care, among others. It puts forth a fairly clear and comprehensive vision for the results the Obama Administration wants to drive and provides a breakdown of where approximately $130 billion in government funding might be spent over the next several years to support this first-of-a-kind innovation agenda. Bravo!


Seeing a codified assessment and vision made my heart sing, but at the same time made me nervous. Not only is its lack of executional detail scary, but the rate of concurrent change called for shows a level of naivete that seriously undermines the plan's intention. If the health-care debate is any indication, I predict much of Obama's innovation funding will be wasted. Here are a few reasons why:

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Cheaper health-care goods and services will be created in the developing world, then sold in the U.S. That’s a big idea that Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE, has been pushing lately.

He explained it at great length in a recent Harvard Business Review piece that used the phrase “reverse innovation” to refer to creating new products in developing countries, then exporting those innovations to the developed world. (Here’s an example of how the company did that with portable ultrasound machines; here’s a WSJ article on how wider use of ultrasound in India has been fraught.)

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How do you harness the creativity of your workforce? In this age of Twitter, Facebook and other so-called Web 2.0 tools, technology seems like an obvious way to get employees to collaborate. Ditto your suppliers, customers and other interested parties.

But collaboration, high-tech or otherwise, isn’t so easy to manage. Renowned business strategist Gary Hamel is one of many business leaders to comment on the challenges of sparking workforce creativity. In his book Leading the Revolution, Hamel dedicates a chapter to Design Rules for Innovation. He notes that a company’s intent on generating sustained wealth must create “an open market for ideas…a dynamic internal market for ideas within the organization.”

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KAUST is an example of an ambitious attempt to construct a new site of knowledge production, albeit one that is significantly deterritorialized given the globalized nature of the forms and quality of the knowledge communities being targeted, and the cultural-politics of Saudi Arabia. KAUST is thus a unique experiment in how to organize an institution to facilitate innovation in scientific knowledge production, a secure and efficient compound (hence Saudi Aramco’s involvement), a defacto sovereign wealth fund, a demonstration effect for new approaches to higher education in Saudi Arabia, and many other things (depending on standpoint). Regardless of standpoint, though, KAUST is an experiment worth watching, discussing, debating about, and learning from.

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Change.org is a network focused on providing discussion and insight around the most important issues of the day, and helping people find ways to participate in tangible, meaningful action. In an effort to bring you even more of today's leading thinkers, we're launching the Changemakers Network, which will identify the activists, politicians, creatives, and other people who have the greatest influence to spark social change.

Right now, you can nominate and vote for people to be a part of this network. Being a part of the Changemakers Network will give these leaders access to blog and share messages with Change.org's network of more than a half million members and thousands of blogger and nonprofit partners.

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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)[email protected] announced today that it has partnered with Wipro Technologies, the global IT services business of Wipro Ltd.(NYSE:WIT),to create a global innovation tournament. The objective of this tournament is to select the best and the most innovative technology-based tools that have the ability to help companies gain a competitive advantage by increasing revenues, cutting costs and improving the customer experience. Participants will be asked to submit entries to the competition by November 6, 2009. The winners will be recognized at an award ceremony, which will be held in early 2010 on the campus of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The tournament is inspired by the recently published book, Innovation Tournaments: Creating and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities, by Wharton professors Karl Ulrich and Christian Terwiesch. One of the book’s themes is the way in which competition helps to jumpstart innovation. “We refer to it as a ‘brainsourcing’ competition because we are ‘crowdsourcing’ from the very best minds in both the academic and business worlds,” said Terwiesch. “It will be like the TV show, American Idol. You start with many aspiring contestants. They will participate in multiple elimination rounds. At the end, depending on whether the judges like their ‘act’, you will have some remarkably talented people remaining. That's a powerful metaphor for the Innovation Tournament.”

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Christchurch-based venture capital company, Milestone Capital, is negotiating a joint facility for clean technology innovation in China.

Milestone principal and co-founder of institutional investment management firm, Infiniti Capital, Kenji Steven told NBR the Chengdu government was keen to work with New Zealand to bring clean technology to China, although he was sketchy on the details.

 

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The G-20 Summit is over, and the world finally knows Pittsburgh is no longer the dirty, smoky steel town pictured in the history books. Now it’s time to stop talking about how we recovered from job losses 30 years ago and start talking about how we can accelerate job growth over the next 30 years.

The fact that we’ve lost fewer jobs than most regions during the recession doesn’t mean we’ll grow more jobs than other regions when the recovery begins. In the years following the end of the last recession, the Pittsburgh Region’s economy had the 4th worst job growth among the top 40 regions. In fact, the region never recovered all of the jobs it lost in 2002-2003 before the current recession hit.

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“…Out of such dreary statistics comes a new class of self-starter, the accidental entrepreneur–someone who never considered owning a business until there was no other option. These entrepreneurs are making tough choices for themselves and their families, living in reduced circumstances, doing without the corporate comforts and resources they once took for granted, sometimes succeeding, very often failing, invariably struggling. But at least they’re not waiting for the phone to ring.”
--Fortune Magazine

I wonder if it’s bad advice and a bad judgment to recommend to someone to start their own business. There are a couple of scenarios.

Scenario one, you are long-term unemployed and you make the judgment to start your own business. Scenario two, you leave your current job due to your “Entrepreneurial Spirit” which can’t be satisfied at your current company and start your own business. What could the future hold?

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Despite its many otherwise amazing attributes, Argentina is not a particularly tech friendly country.

For tech-geeks, early adopters and innovators, Argentina can be a frustrating place to live because it constantly lags behind developed countries – and even some developing nations – in terms of innovation and the adoption of new technologies.

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Talecris Biotherapeutics (TLCR) raised $950 million in the biggest biopharma IPO in three years and the second largest U.S. IPO this year even as the stock market fell as declines in factory orders and increases in job cuts heightened concerns about the economy’s recovery. The capital markets seem to be opening up to life sciences companies with two IPOs, 15 PIPEs, four public offerings, and five debt offerings, contributing to close to $5 billion in capital raised during the week.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based Talecris sold 50 million shares of its common stock at its mid-range price of $19 per share and began trading on October 1 on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol “TLCR.” Of the shares offered, 29.9 million were offered by the company and 21 million were offered by the selling stockholder, Talecris Holdings, which is owned by private equity firm Cerebrus-Plasma Holdings, the managing member of which is Cerebrus Partners, and limited partnerships affiliated with Ampersand Ventures. The underwriters have the option to purchase an additional 6 million shares. Talecris intends to use its share of the net proceeds to pay down debt. Morgan Stanley, Goldman, Sachs; Citigroup Global Markets, and J.P. Morgan Securities were the joint book-running managers of the offering, while Wells Fargo Securities, Barclays Capital, and UBS Investment Bank acted as co-managers.

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