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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.

For all the discussions of "green shoots" in housing or consumer spending over the past few months, too little attention has been paid to a classic American economic advantage: innovation. If cash flow is the blood of the global economy and spending and investment are its main arteries, then innovation is the heart that does the pumping.

Over the long term, innovation is what drives cost reduction, higher employment, spending, health care, investment and ultimately, better living standards. Many business owners see it as their No. 1 priority. When consulting group McKinsey asked executives in February where the government should direct the majority of its stimulus spending, 59 percent of respondents said on "fostering innovation and potential new industries," putting it in the top spot, even before potential solutions such as "helping workers who have been laid off" or "helping existing companies."

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Richard Bendis (CARLOS ORTIZ staff photographer)The United States is falling behind its international competitors, and funding for innovation in business has hit a 12-year low.

That was the assessment by Richard A. Bendis, founder and CEO of Innovation America in Philadelphia, who cautioned an audience at St. John Fisher College on Friday that Switzerland and South Korea are among the countries overtaking the U.S. in innovation.

Bendis was the keynote speaker for the economic development conference called Eyes on the Future, which drew more than 1,400 people to the college in Pittsford.

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If you made your first sale while still in diapers and your lemonade stand was a substantial contributor to the family income, you've likely been called a born entrepreneur. But just how heritable is the ability to work hard, take risks, and seize opportunities? According to research conducted at the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College in London, 37 percent to 48 percent of the tendency to be an entrepreneur is genetic.

Researchers tested a number of indications of entrepreneurship including running or starting a business, the number of businesses a person had started, and the length of time they were self-employed, but for all of these factors there was the same strong genetic component.

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Haiti Innovation was founded five years ago by four Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Haiti. We wanted to do this because we felt Haiti had given us more than we were able to give back during our two and a half years of service. This website has been a way for us to repay a debt - to Haitian colleagues, friends, and family who we learned from and have not forgotten. Haitians like to say that their country has teeth - it bites on to you and it doesn't let you go. Haiti has changed, we've changed, and the website has changed. But five years and 527 blogs later, Haiti still hasn't let go.

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

How to make friends and influence people (and convert them) – Social media can be a good marketing tool for your company, but if you’re able to become a trusted resource for people via Facebook or Twitter, then you’re really on to something special, notes co-founder Adam Toren.

Is your product a “must have” or “nice to have”? - Many entrepreneurs are too close to their topic to realize where they really are on the user adoption curve. Are they building something essential or just something people would like. Lunsford Group vice president Bernard Moon describes the differences.

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Peter Drucker said:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Yet, time after time we see companies trot out responses to competition that aren’t much different than the competition. Witness the box like car pioneered by the Scion Xb, then the Honda Element, and now the Nissan Cube. Honda misjudged the primary market so badly for the Element- thinking young hipsters would be the primary market- and it ended up being a car for the practical geriatric set (don’t worry, Chrysler had the same experience with the PT Cruiser).

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On September 9, the giant data storage hardware and software company EMC announced it would spend $1.5 billion to further develop its R&D capabilities in India. A new research facility will employ 2,000 engineers and scientists with the potential for an additional 1,500. A day earlier, EMC announced a R&D alliance with the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore, one of a constellation of Indian research universities equivalent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, albeit with harder admissions requirements.

Such announcements are usually met with despair and anger. The decision to domicile those jobs in India nails yet another in the coffin for U.S. industry and R&D, goes the old saw. The naysayers bray that EMC's decision is more evidence that America makes and designs less and less, and has become a soft-bellied country of marketers, PR people, and lawyers—make-nothings, in other words. Even President Barack Obama has joined this chorus, calling for more engineers and a return to a country of people who make things.

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Already a hotbed of research, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley has a new roadmap for turning those technological and human assets into a prosperous future. The strategy identifies four promising industry sectors:
-- instrumentation
-- nuclear energy
-- bioenergy
-- energy-related materials.

Developed by Innovation Valley officials and consultants from the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, these four high tech areas utilize the high tech resources of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, the University of Tennessee , and partnerships and initiatives across the Innovation Valley, and reflect current national business trends.

"Our focus at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is to deliver the kind of science that will be the foundation for economic growth in the years ahead," said ORNL Director Thom Mason, who also chairs Innovation Valley. "This roadmap will allow our region to benefit from the technology assets we have and further strengthens the linkage between economic development priorities and the research direction for ORNL."


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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Ohio's increase in venture capital investment - the only state that has not experienced a decline - is on display Oct. 14-15 at the Ohio Early Stage Summit V, an education and networking event for entrepreneurs and investors from across the country. According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, state funding supporting early stage venture capital investment through public-private partnerships has been key to Ohio's proactive strategy for business climate success that is beating the odds in the current VC environment.


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The Rochester region has many assets to foster econmic growth and could benefit by having one person - an "innovation intermediary"- who makes it easier for the region to bring innovation to the marketplace.

That's the message of Richard Bendis, keynote speaker and one fo the scheduled panelists at next Friday's annual Eyes on the Future, a regional economic summit, at St. John Fisher College.


PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN—U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke opened the department’s first one-stop shop today in Plymouth, Mich., bringing together under one roof all the agency’s services to make it easier for local businesses and entrepreneurs to access them. Locke announced the opening of the new facility, named CommerceConnect, at the Midwestern Governors Association Jobs and Energy Forum this morning and later held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. Today’s event marked the secretary’s fifth trip to Michigan since becoming Commerce secretary.

“The Commerce Department offers tremendous resources for businesses, but too few businesses take advantage of these and other government services because there is no GPS for navigating the bureaucracy,” Locke said. “CommerceConnect will provide a single point of contact where businesses can access the full array of Commerce programs available to them.”

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