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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.

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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WEbsitesA website is a great branding and marketing tool for any small business. It is also essential for a business strategy to ensure its brand, location and products are found in search engine listings.

In 2009 it became easier to design your website. Businesses had the choice of do-it-yourself website builder’ tools or open source software like WordPress etc. The open source software may require some initial setup help unless the business owner is technically savvy. In 2009 ready-to-use templates also got more sophisticated in the appearance of the finished product, i.e, the published web site, and at the same time got easier to use for the end user. Another new trend for 2009 was getting a design for your website or logo as a contest through “crowdsourcing” with sites like 99 Designs, CrowdSpring and Genius Rocket.
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Silicon Valley InsiderThis should be a good year for tech: Now that the worst of the recession seems to be over, 2010 is a great time for new gadgets, Web sites, media products, and business models to rear their heads.

For instance, we're especially excited about the tablet computing era that Steve Jobs may kick off in a few weeks. And we're also interested in what Google may try to do in the mobile industry.
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Business InsiderWhen Fred Destin asked his readers to tell him "why VCs are disliked by entrepreneurs," he was inundated with responses from experienced entrepreneurs who have had "real, hands-on experience with (often prominent) VCs."

The entrepreneurs had complaints about VC behavior -- from treating entrepreneurs disprespectfully, to implementing selfish business practices that are not at all in the best interests of the startups in which they have invested.
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Interesting article on how what is taught in college/university is often determined by student choice. This has been going on for a long time (that was the goal of land grant universities) and Kate Zernike of the New Yorks Times has a contemporary spin on the evolution of higher education in America.

The “a-ha” moment for this piece is the death of philosophy departments and the study of classics. The rise of business and entrepreneurship in the academe is highlighted as well. It is an nteresting piece that a childhood friend/PhD Political Scientist shared on Facebook. Here is a snippet.
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Jewish PhilanthropyIn a recent JTA op-ed piece, Adene Sacks of the Jim Joseph Foundation shared a critical insight about the state of philanthropy and Jewish innovation. One the one hand, social entrepreneurs need support that “nurtures these early stage ventures into maturity and supports the growth of individual entrepreneurs into full leadership.” On the other hand, funders have become more strategic in their grantmaking, using grants primarily to achieve particular objectives as distinct from supporting worthy organizations. The result, she observes, is that “when JDub gets a grant for two concerts or Keshet is supported for teacher training but not for their work with GLBT students, then we, as funding entities, are not increasing impact.”
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WSJScott Jones, the chief executive of mobile-search start-up ChaCha Search Inc., has a mantra.

“Around here, I say ‘Fail fast,’” he said. “Don’t be afraid to fail.”

It’s a philosophy that helped Jones find success with several start-ups over the past 20 years including Gracenote Inc., one of the first companies to develop music recognition software before it was acquired by Sony Corp. of America for $260 million last year.

“My experience with start-ups,” the serial entrepreneur said, “is it’s never the way you conceive it.”
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DARPA BallonsThe recent DARPA Network [Red Balloon] Challenge (prior post here) was a national illustration of the power of mobile communication for innovation. In approximately 8 hours and 52 minutes, the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team was able to correctly identify the location of 10 special weather balloons located across the US.

Lance Whitney writes “Team MIT’s strategy was to build a Web site designed to attract more and more followers–people who might know the balloons’ locations themselves and those could bring aboard others who knew the coordinates, essentially creating a chain effect.”

Lance spoke with Riley Crane, the MIT group’s leader. Riley highlighted the power of the human network:
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Credit: Blogging InnovationI [Mark Anderson] love a new year. It’s a fresh start, an opportunity to refocus my goals, a chance to try something new. And there’s party hats!

But there’s not a lot to poke fun at. You can use the number of the year, but that obviously has an extremely short shelf life. There’s the ball dropping in New York, but drawing a big crowd is no fun. So, you’re pretty much left with resolutions.
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entrepreneurScott Steinberg: Shiny Objects
In 2010, expect to see small-business owners becoming more tech-savvy, and increasingly going mobile, virtual and viral as a result. Not only is it now possible to tap into the power of smartphones, netbooks and
online services or cloud computing apps to slash overhead drastically and take your office wherever you go. It's also viable to use social networks, microblogging applications and all-purpose multimedia devices'
to build buzz for products and brands, connect directly with consumers and source real-time customer feedback that allows you to optimize any sales effort or marketing campaign.

[Editor's Note: Plenty more predictions on the original article.]
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Rules of InnovationCoral Springs, FL (PRWEB) January 4, 2010 -- According to the authors of the forthcoming book, Robert’s Rules of Innovation™ (ISBN # 978-0470596999, John Wiley & Sons), the number one New Year’s resolution for savvy business leaders should be implementation of a sustainable culture of innovation -- despite the steady drumbeat of negative economic news.

The authors assert that accelerated innovation is a key to maintaining corporate health into the new year and beyond, as well as helping secure the U.S.’s place in the global economic order. “Although it’s understandable to be wary of failure in such a financially uncertain time, this is exactly the worst type of environment to shy away from aggressive innovation efforts and their inherent risks,” said Robert Brands, author of the book, with Martin Kleinman.

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Techmeme Top 10Ignore all the other lists! As we did last year, Techmeme has distilled its very own Top 10 story list, utilizing headline ranking data archived throughout the year. While we employ a terrific team of news editors to guide our story selection, this list draws on many factors outside our direct influence, making it a … nearly objective sampling of what was important in 2009.

The list is dominated by milestones and turning points at Apple and Google, who have an outsized impact on the rest of the industry. A few truths discovered over the past 12 months: The boundary between a partner and an awkward competitor is awfully thin. Steve Jobs is always a hot topic. And nothing, I mean nothing, gets keyboards clicking like the tantalizing promise of tomorrow's technology.
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PluggedInHere is presenting the top 10 articles published in 2009 under the category Entrepreneurship. If you notice, majority of these articles are contributed by startups as well as VCs and we urge you to read them/share with other entrepreneurs.

* How to Write a Business Plan?
* Enterprise Sales Strategy – What you need to know before you talk to that BIG Guy
* 5 personal finance mistakes that first time entrepreneurs must avoid
* VC 101: The Process of VC due diligence and what it means for startups [Must Read]
* 101 on How VC Industry Works [Must Read for all you Entrepreneurs]
* Ethics, Startups and the case for being ‘Practical’
* Startups – Do you empower your employees to take $ decision?
* Desperation Level – Do you Measure Business Partners on that?
* Innovating on a Shoestring Budget – Myths Broken
* Entrepreneurs – Do you Know your Blind Spots

[Editor's Note: details and links to articles can be found on the original article.]
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Indian Science CongressThiruvananthapuram: India is planning to develop a suitable science, technology and innovation policy framework to encourage innovations. At the end of the current 11th plan, India might need a strategy to assess and measure the economic impact pf R&D and technology-led GDP growth and prepare a roadmap for adequate investments into the science, technology and innovation during the 12th plan period.

Gross investments into research and development form an important indicator of global competitiveness, said the minister for science and technology and earth sciences, Prithviraj Chavan while delivering his keynote address to the 97th Indian Science Congress here on Sunday.
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Kapil SibalIvy League colleges -- Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- have approached the ministry of human resources development to collaborate in the proposed Innovation Universities across the country, official sources said.

These universities are a part of the ministry's 'brain gain' policy to attract talent from all over the world. Human resources development minister Kapil Sibal [ Images ] had last August announced that 14 Innovation Universities will be set up in the country under the 11th Five-year Plan (2007-12).
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