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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.

In a recent article1, we investigate the new American dynamic in regards to innovation.  We are particularly interested in the article « Creating a National Innovation Framework », published in « Science Progress », which proposed a new system of governance of innovation by the American federal government. However, we wanted to know more – so the Mission for Science and Technology (Boston Section) contacted one of the article’s authors, Mr. Richard Bendis, to ask him a few questions. The phone interview took place on October 27th, 2009.

 

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In April, San Francisco startup Airbnb.com made enough money to allow the firm's founders to hire employees so they could expand their online marketplace that enables people in 93 countries to rent spare rooms to travelers.

Since then, the startup has created seven jobs - a tiny step in the right direction at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate has risen to a 26-year high of 10.2 percent.

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Retail sales are projected to decline this holiday season for the second year in a row, an occurrence unprecedented in the entire history of the federal government keeping statistics on such things. Online retailers will continue to face stiff pricing pressure, as they have for more than a year. Free shipping has become almost the ante in such a competitive environment.

That's why Amazon's shipping program, Amazon Prime, is so impressive. For a company that ships 100 percent of its products, finding a way to neutralize pressure on shipping costs is no small thing--especially when it's competing with Walmart, which offers its online customers 97 cent shipping on many products, or the option to pick up their orders at a nearby store for free.

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(Nov. 5) -- The United States may have officially entered the age of woman.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this fall, for the first time in U.S. history, women have surpassed men and now make up more than 50 percent of the nation's workforce. In 1967, by comparison, they accounted for just one-third of all workers.

Signs of the changing landscape in gender relations are just about everywhere you look:

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KALAMAZOO – The Michigan investment climate is improving, according to a panel of private equity finance professionals who spoke Tuesday during the MichBio Expo in Kalamazoo.

With such recent successful sales to much larger company – including Ann Arbor’s HandyLab and HealthMedia – a signal has been sent to Wall Street that Michigan indeed has great deal flow, said Greg Main, CEO and President of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

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Steingrimur J. Sigfusson, Icelandic Minister of Finance says he has submitted new bills on innovation to the Althingi parliament. If the Minister gets his way, innovation companies will be able to benefit from tax breaks and investors will be able to subtract shares in innovation businesses from their taxable income. The total package could be worth as much as ISK 1.5 billion to innovation companies each year.

The Minister spoke about the proposed assistance at this week’s conference on development and new business. He used part of his speech to talk about developments in other countries and spoke about his own bills which have already had their first parliamentary debate. He said that companies can already get part of their research and development costs refunded if carried out with the knowledge and approval of the Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS).

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Nobody delivers profanity better than Bruce Willis. Nobody. Perhaps that’s why he’s seen so much of it in practically every script he’s tackled during the last 20-odd years. We don’t have a final count on the number of F-bombs our man Bruce dropped in his latest flick, Surrogates, but we can say with some authority that a world filled with robotic avatars gone amok would drive anyone to repeated vulgarity.

But 2017? Surrogates would have us believe that just eight short years from now, we’ll have retreated to our homes and left the “real” world to synthetically pimped-up alter-egos? Is it conceivable that we, as naturally exploratory human beings, would want to do that? Is it conceivable that such technology would even exist just 3,000 days from now?

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The tricks to success change all the time, but the keys to failure are consistent. Serial entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan put together this list in a lecture in Stanford University’s entrepreneur thought leader speaker series in 2003 – but it’s as relevant today as it was then. Hubris, greed, lack of clarity and dumb hiring mistakes continue to be the biggest problems in the start-up world.

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In light of Ancestry.com’s IPO today, tech site Vator.tv calculated the average age of the venture-backed tech companies that have gone public this year. As its chart below shows, most of these companies are downright old in tech years - in fact, Derek Jeter’s New York Yankees have won five World Series in the average time, 13 years, they made it to the public markets.

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Less than a decade ago, young Chinese entrepreneurs with degrees from Stanford and Berkeley and experience at Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle ( ORCL - news - people ) returned to their homeland to launch copies of eBay, Amazon.com, Google and Facebook. They used their Silicon Valley connections to nab venture capital, and a few trailblazing founders like Robin Li of Baidu and Bo Shao of Eachnet got rich when their start-ups went public or were acquired.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) this week announced that it will provide up to $4.5 million in funding in support of the X PRIZE Foundation's work to inspire a new generation of energy efficient vehicles. The funding will provide technical assistance and expand national education and outreach efforts for the competition.

"This funding will support cutting-edge, American innovation that can help us fundamentally transform personal transportation and address the global climate crisis," said DOE Secretary Steven Chu.

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