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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.

Lee CheathamLee Cheatham has accepted the position of operations director at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. He also will serve as general manager of the Biodesign Impact Accelerator, a new initiative that will dramatically accelerate the commercial translation of scientific innovations and technologies generated by the institute. Cheatham is currently the executive director of Washington Technology Center in Seattle.

In his role as operations director, Cheatham will oversee a number of administrative functions, including security, facilities, health/safety and information technology. In his role as general manager of the Biodesign Impact Accelerator, he will be responsible for program development and oversight of all operations for the Impact Accelerator.
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WISBusinessMADISON – The fourth annual recognition of National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW) occurs February 20 through February 27, 2010. Sponsored by the National Consortium for Education Excellence, National Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of American entrepreneurs and the educational programs currently preparing youth to develop a passion toward entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

“Last year, organizations hosted events that celebrated the power of entrepreneurship throughout Wisconsin,” said Department of Commerce (Commerce) Secretary Richard J. Leinenkugel. “Once again, we’d like to encourage state and local government, schools, nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and community leaders to observe the week by hosting events.”

The focus of this fourth year’s celebration includes the celebration of Wisconsin’s entrepreneurs and the lifelong learning educational opportunities that prepare the NEW business leaders of the future. Organizations will find resources to support their event and program planning on the National Consortium for Education Excellence web site at
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A rare 4.4-million-year-old skeleton has drawn back the curtain of time to reveal the surprising body plan and ecology of our earliest ancestors.

Only a handful of individual fossils have become known as central characters in the story of human evolution. They include the first ancient human skeleton ever found, a Neandertal from Germany's Neander Valley; the Taung child from South Africa, which in 1924 showed for the first time that human ancestors lived in Africa; and the famous Lucy, whose partial skeleton further revealed a key stage in our evolution. In 2009, this small cast got a new member: Ardi, now the oldest known skeleton of a putative human ancestor, found in the Afar Depression of Ethiopia with parts of at least 35 other individuals of her species.

Ever since Lucy was discovered in 1974, researchers wondered what her own ancestors looked like and where and how they might have lived. Lucy was a primitive hominin, with a brain roughly the size of a chimpanzee's, but at 3.2 million years old, she already walked upright like we do. Even the earliest members of her species, Australopithecus afarensis, lived millions of years after the last common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees. The first act of the human story was still missing.
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Capital is needed to help high tech firms grow since product development can be expensive and it may be difficult to raise private investment funds. The state of Kentucky provides assistance to help high tech companies find funds and opportunities.

Governor Beshear recently announced that five Kentucky high tech companies will share over $1.3 million in state funds as part of a Kentucky initiative to attract and support technology-based small businesses located in the state. The state of Kentucky helps companies by matching up to $100,000 for SBIR awards for either a Phase I award or up to $500,000 per year for up to two years for a Phase II award. If a single company receives both a Phase I and Phase II award, that company can receive up to $1.1 million.
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CollaborationKnowledge Transfer, Open Innovation, and the Role of Federal Agencies and Universities in U.S. Economic Competitiveness

When the White House communicates to federal agencies about science and technology policies for the 2011 budget, as Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag and Office of Science and Technology Policy director John Holdren did this past August, the agencies take such guidance seriously. This year the guidance focused on the outcomes of research, not on the research agenda itself. Specifically, the OMB and OSTP directors raised four practical challenges:

* “Applying science and technology strategies to drive economic recovery, job creation and economic growth”
* “Promoting innovative energy technologies”
* “Applying biomedical science and information technology to help Americans live longer, healthier lives, while reducing health care costs”
* “Assuring we have the technologies needed to protect our troops, citizens, and interests.”
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Via Tyler Cowen, comes this graph of demographic shifts in NIH grants, which show a clear trend: older scientists are getting more money.


NIH Grants

Cowen also cites the eminent economist Paul Romer, who worries about the effect of this shift on innovation:
Instead of young scientists getting grant funding to go off and do whatever they want in their twenties, they're working in a lab where somebody in his forties or fifties is the principal investigator in charge of the grant. They're working as apprentices, almost, under the senior person. If we're not careful, we could let our institutions, things like tenure and hierarchical structures and peer review, slowly morph over time so that old guys control more and more of what's going on and the young people have a harder and harder time doing something really different, and that would be would be a bad thing for these processes of growth and change. I'd like to see us keep thinking about how we could tweak our institutions to give power and control and opportunity to young people.
The bad news is that Romer is right, at least in part: young scientists, in general, tend to be a bit more innovative. (If you noticed all the conditionals and hedges in that sentence, please keep on reading.) The ingenuity of youth is perhaps best demonstrated by the inverted U curve of creative output, a well-studied phenomenon in which creativity rapidly increases at the start of a career before it crests and declines. Here's Dean Simonton, a psychologist at UC-Davis who has painstakingly quantified this demographic data:
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Bangkok PostHappy New Year to all readers of "Creativity Un-Ltd", and welcome to the Twenty Tens. The majority of business gurus and futurists agree that in the coming decade, innovation and creativity will decide more than ever which companies and individuals will thrive in business. How can you succeed in the "Era of Ideanomics" (the phrase coined by Alan Greenspan)? Follow these eight creative tips to flourish in the innovation economy.

1. Ideate more. Whenever you face a tough challenge and need ideas on how to resolve the situation, start by formulating the issue as a "How to?" sentence ("How to get more creative to succeed in the 2010s?") and then jot down at least 25 ideas. "When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools," as the US business author Michael Leboeuf noted. If the problem relates to your business, ask your team members to do the same, and then kick off a brainstorming session where you generate more ideas (and hit an idea quota of 200-300 ideas).
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IAMBack in September 2009 I [Author] wrote a blog that stated the best way to get European SMEs to engage withthe patent system is to ensue there are more patent atorneys out there looking for their custom. It provoked quite a few responses. In the most recent issue of the CIPA Journal, published by the UK's Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, I have written a longer opinion piece that expands on the points I made back in September. For those who do not get the Journal, here it is ...

There is no doubt that EU politicians were very pleased with themselves after voting to approve the principle of a unitary European patent system on 4th December in Brussels. "This business-friendly deal will make patenting and innovating easier and more affordable for British companies. In particular, innovative SMEs will have more flexibility when choosing how to patent across Europe," said the UK's IP minister David Lammy. "Establishing an EU patent and a single European Patent Court is the single most important measure for promoting innovation in Europe. In view of the major simplifications and cost savings, this is, of course, also particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises," said Sweden's Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask.
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Early Warning Note to Business Angels. The innovation train is on the move. The symbolic journey Helsinki – Oulu – Helsinki will take place 13.1.2010 and we hope to have some disruptive open innovation news released during or after the trip.

There is talk about the documentation of the trip. Blogs, podcasts, Flicker, video streams, YouTube, Qik, Facebook, Brightkite, Qaiku, Twitter, Bambuser, Ning, etc will tell about details.

The is the official home page and the core content will certainly be translated to English after the trip.
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Jeff BussgangFor decades, the venture capital industry was like a Yale Secret Society—very clubby, discrete, and opaque. VCs had all the power in the VC-entrepreneur equation, and entrepreneurs had to work hard to decode the mysterious VC process to obtain funding.

My how the world has changed in a few short years.

Pundits will tell you that in terms of trends, 2009 was the year of the real-time Web/Twitter, smart phones/iPhone and the mainstream emergence of digital advertising. But 2009 was also the year VCs blogging and tweeting really became mainstream.
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So what is an angel investor? The term angel stems originally from the private investors that would fund Broadway musicals. Over the years, the term has become more encompassing and now business angels invest in industries and countries all over the world.

The UK angel market is a thriving one as more and more investors look for investments outside the traditional stock market and property market. The UK now has around 18,000 business angels. Collectively, it is reckoned they invest around 500 million a year in around 3,500 businesses though since a lot of deals are private in nature the exact sum is unknown. One way or another, however, angel money is a growing source of funding for early-stage business.
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There's no excuse for Connecticut being at the bottom of any business list. It's lovely, smart and prosperous. It's in the top ranks in college graduates per capita, incomes and state spending on schools. It has world-class universities, Tony-winning theaters, sublime museums, bucolic beauty.

Yet in the past 20 years, according to the University of Connecticut's Center for Economic Analysis, this state has seen "perhaps the poorest job creation among all 50 states." CEOs surveyed by rated the cost of doing business here third worst of all states.

The dire state of the state's finances, its budget probably billions of dollars in the hole over the next few years, will surely mean new and higher fees and the sacrifice of some of the corporate tax credits that bring jobs here. The business community, like everyone else, has to do its part to get Connecticut through this crisis.
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Leslie Hielema2009 was quite a year. I [Leslie Hielema] heard a great analogy that captures how the year felt to me: “I was focused on flying the plane and ensuring that I stayed in the air as turbulence kept knocking me off course. All the while, I was in the back rebuilding the engine.”

I am sure many of you felt the same way.

For me, the engine is now rebuilt, the turbulence has died down a bit and I can breathe a little easier. I hope we can all enjoy a small, yet critical, breath of relief as we find our way back to our flight path for 2010.
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NPOStartupWe've all seen the headlines: "Millions in free government money for your business." Late-night infomercials, reference guides and websites promote the availability of grant money to entrepreneurs for starting and expanding businesses. Sound too good to be true? It is.

The truth is that federal and state governments do not provide grants for starting and expanding small businesses. However, the U.S. government does offer a wide-variety of low-interest loans and venture capital financing programs to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. In addition, some federal and state agencies award a limited number of grants for very specialized business activities such as scientific research and development.
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I've been thinking a lot about the linkages between innovation and failure. Too often we in the innovation space want to dumb down failure, make it seem safe and reasonable. And too often many in the corporate space draw up scary creatures dressed up as the possibility of failure, to avoid having to innovate at all. So, herewith, a rambling diatribe about innovation and failure.
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BusinessWeekRecently, I [Helen Walters] wrote a story about the Aspen Design Summit, a small event at which big name designers and philanthropists got together to talk about ways to apply the techniques of design thinking to social problems such as poverty, hunger or healthcare. As a part of my reporting, I spoke to Antony Bugg-Levine, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation, which in 2008 gave a $1.5 million grant to the Winterhouse Institute, the design group organizing the event.

Bugg-Levine leads the Accelerating Innovation for Development initiative that Rockefeller launched in late 2007, and he had a lot to say about the world in which we live, about the place of design within innovation, and about the promise of private sector influence on the nonprofit world. His words didn’t fit into the final piece, but what he said has really resonated with me in the weeks since we published, so here (and after the jump) is an edited transcript of our conversation.
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Herald TribuneIt's not backyard victory gardens or urban chicken coops.

Economic gardening is a practice that has generated a lot of buzz in economic development circles across the country this past year.

As the national and regional economies slowly recover, states, regions and communities are turning to economic gardening as a more targeted and certain approach to creating jobs.
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BriefcaseWhile the unemployment rate in the U.S. climbed to more than 10 percent in December, the job market could be gaining strength for green leaders. Already companies such as Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola Co. and FedEx Corp. have reportedly carved out executive positions for so-called sustainability officers. But, as two professors at New York University (NYU) recently discovered, there are scant programs to ready future green executives working in urban environments.

So, next month, NYU's Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn will launch its first 10-session clean technology crash course program, called CleantechExecs, which is tailored to the New York City industrial market. The program will focus on so-called knowledge intensive services—a vast sector spanning financial services, such as investment banking, insurance and real estate, as well as other professional services, such as consulting, architecture and hospitality to name a few.
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EDCSAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - January 5, 2010) - San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is pleased to announce that experienced local venture capitalist David Titus has joined EDC's team as Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives.

In this role, he will familiarize company executives in San Diego with EDC's mission, business development and policy programs to encourage them to remain and grow here. He will also engage them in business climate issues affecting San Diego's innovation economy. In addition, he will support the Business Development program in attraction, retention and expansion initiatives, identifying companies with immediate potential for expansion and new job creation.
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Boston HeraldMayor Thomas M. Menino has abandoned plans to move City Hall to city-owned land along the edge of Boston Harbor.

In his inaugural address to a Faneuil Hall crowd yesterday, the mayor turned his attention to the Marine Industrial Park in South Boston, where he’d like to see an “Innovation District” that would attract “knowledge workers and creative jobs in green, biotech and health care, Web development and other industries.”

John Palmieri, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said the idea to build a new City Hall on the waterfront is no longer under discussion. “It’s not the right time to be considering such an enormous public investment,” he said. “Whether we will consider it in the future is another matter.”
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