Innovation America Innovation America Accelerating the growth of the GLOBAL entrepreneurial innovation economy
Founded by Rich Bendis

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.

The Wall Street JournalWhat do John Deere, Cisco, and Obopay have in common? All three companies form a new breed of enlightened Western firms that have embraced what I call "polycentric innovation."

Polycentric innovation is an emerging business practice that consists of networking international talent, capital, and ideas to meet global demand for new products and services. Wait, isn't that what multinationals have been doing for decades? Not really. While it's true that leading American and European MNCs (I won't name any here for fear of embarrassing them) have been operating R&D centers in emerging markets like India and China for years, these regional R&D centers merely adapted existing technologies and products developed in the West for distribution in local markets.
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Careful academic research on the business start-up process reveals that many entrepreneurs never write a business plan.

These studies also show that writing a business plan helps entrepreneurs in a number of ways, including improving their odds of successfully developing a new product, organizing a company, accessing external capital, obtaining raw materials, generating sales and surviving over time. Regardless of what measure of performance academics have looked at, research shows that writing a business plan has a positive impact.

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Last week we had the chance to make three separate presentations to MBA and IT major students at both Stanford University and the University of Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

The response was very positive overall, with lots of questions from both sides. The presentations had slightly different focus:

The Eight Things I Learned in Asia” at Stanford, with a focus on Asia, culture, career and innovation (for a group of Asian Stanford students). Talk and discussion duration: 90 minutes

Rethinking Innovation” at Berkeley with a focus on innovation / business models, with the purpose of challenging some common misconceptions about Asia, inventors, innovation. It includes a few “problems” I asked students. The presentation highlights the importance of cross-market/cross-cultural aspects to understand how some companies succeed while other fail in Asia (and by extension, elsewhere). This talk was given twice, to groups mostly composed on MBA students. Total duration: 90 + 120 minutes
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Can governments spark start-up activity and job creation by getting into the venture capital business? Or do they just waste taxpayer money whenever they try?

Those are the two questions that animate the new book from Harvard Business School prof Josh Lerner, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed--and What to Do About It (The Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

Much of Lerner's book focuses on all the things that can go wrong when governments try to pour taxpayer money into the gas tank of their region's innovation economy.
I need to state that Innovation America does not totally share Josh Lerners perspective on his book as it does not represent the early stage capital and the many successful State Government programs that have worked. - Richard Bendis
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NIST TIP white papers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP) seeks comments from academia, federal, state and local governments, industry; national labs, and professional organizations or societies on white papers prepared by TIP staff.

TIP was established at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to assist US businesses and higher education institutions or other organizations, such as national labs and nonprofit research institutions, to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the US through high- risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need. The program, which holds competitions for funding based on addressing areas of critical national need, identifies and selects topics for areas of critical national need based on input from within NIST, TIP’s Advisory Board, the s&t communities, and the public.

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New York (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to Washington, D.C., Monday to address a conference of the American Jewish Federations at a time of concern in Israel that the U.S.-Israel relationship is adrift.

Although Netanyahu has used each of his recent U.S. visits to make the case for confronting Iran and its nuclear ambitions, he might consider broadening the subject.

Israel's leader should speak to Americans not just about what threatens Israel, or what Israel's critics say, but also on what is unique about his nation's economy at a time of great economic uncertainty for Americans, when the unemployment rate here has just crossed the 10 percent threshold.

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The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, pre-issued its 2010.1 SBIR Solicitation. The full solicitation will be released on November 18th and the agency will accept proposals until 4:30 PM on January 4th. Phase I Awards are up to $100,000.

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The post I wrote a couple of weeks back - Is Ireland Really and Innovation Island? – received more interest than usual and in particular generated a very interesting discussion in the comments that is worth checking out. The conversation around the need for an online network for innovators and entrepreneurs continued offline with Michael and Johneric. I’ve volunteered to articulate what I see as the essence of that conversation to see if there is potential in developing something practical out of it.

No Shortage of Irish Innovators

All are agreed on this at least, even if some think that IDA, EI and multi-nationals need to do more to support and foster budding entrepreneurs. The Internet is now facilitating a whole new breed of lazy entrepreneurs. However there are many innovators that for very practical reasons will probably never bring their great ideas much further than a few scribbles on scraps of paper.

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Here’s the latest from VentureBeat’s Entrepreneur Corner:

Shoestring marketing for startups – Young companies typically don’t have the budget for a substantial marketing campaign, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As you search for your niche and your company evolves, serial entrepreneur Scott Olson offers advice on the best ways to get a big marketing bang for your buck.

Lean startups aren’t cheap startups – Too many entrepreneurs assume the lean startup methodology is a way to save money. It can be, but that’s not the idea behind the philosophy. Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank clears up some of the confusion, clearing up some commonly held misconceptions.
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In early 1998, Bill Gates headed Microsoft at the peak of its commercial powers. The world’s preeminent software giant claimed a 90 percent market share in all desk and laptop PCs and it was difficult to imagine anything that could unsettle, much less evoke fear in, the Sultan of Software.

Nonetheless, when asked what challenge he most feared, Gates responded, “I fear someone in a garage who is devising something completely new.” Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the cofounders of Google, were that very pair. Nestled in a Menlo Park, Calif., garage, these two software engineers were preparing to launch a product that would change the way the world used the Internet.

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Most believe new businesses provide substantial economic benefits. Scott Shane explains why this isn't normally the case

Myth: The typical entrepreneur creates jobs, generates innovation, provides wealth, and rejuvenates communities.

Reality: Only a minority of entrepreneurs start businesses that provide these benefits.

While it may be true that some entrepreneurs provide substantial economic benefits, our view of what the typical entrepreneur can—and wants to—accomplish is greatly overestimated. In large part, this is because the typical entrepreneur—out of about 12 million people trying to start businesses every year—has low aspirations.

 

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I’m sure I’ll spark the ire of some VC’s for saying so, but there is certainly such a thing as black-out days in venture capital. It’s worth you knowing this so you don’t waste your time. It’s also very important to understand so that you can properly plan when you raise money.

Let me first tell you the black-out periods and then I’ll explain why. It is very difficult to raising venture capital between November 15 – January 7th. It is also very hard to raise VC from July 15 – September 7th. (you need to have had your first meeting even earlier.) If you’re thinking about raising VC and have not yet started the process, you’ve probably already missed the boat for 2009.
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