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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.

Angel investors: Wings clipped, but still taking their time in the candy store

I checked in with veteran angel investor and expert John May about the state of angel investing. May, who is Managing Partner of the New Vantage Group, which manages the accounts of a number of angel funds, and who founded a bunch of angel groups and is chairman emeritus of the Angel Capital Association, not only has a broad perspective on the topic but also is usually an upbeat person.

Halfway through its money and its first decade, Ohio's Third Frontier Initiative has helped generate a $6.6 billion impact for the state, according to an independent assessment released by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) on Tuesday. The report also credits the initiative's investments for creating 41,300 jobs within Ohio over the past five years. Making an Impact: Assessing the Benefits of Ohio's Investment in Technology-Based Economic Development Programsprovides a supporting backdrop as Gov. Ted Strickland and the state legislature consider whether or not to place a possible extension of the Third Frontier Initiative on the May 2010 ballot. A large component of the Third Frontier's funding comes from a $500 million bond package Ohio voters passed four years ago.

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The Power of Daydreaming (Daydreams as a Source of Innovation & Motivation)

Barack Obama certainly had a dream . . . that one day he would be president. I'm sure that in his younger years many people would have mocked him for this audacious dream, but he followed his inner vision and now he's the 44th President of the United States.

The most dynamic and innovative people in any endeavor--business, science, athletics, politics, or the arts--are visionaries. And what exactly is a "vision?" At the end of the day I argue that a "vision" is just an upscale word for "daydream," and "visionary," an upscale word for daydreamer.

Governor's task force examines startup funding gap

Upstate university and business leaders Tuesday urged a state task force to help bridge the "valley of death" — the seed-funding wasteland that lies between higher-education research and profitable commercialization.

Speakers at a public hearing Tuesday at the University of Rochester Medical Center emphasized that New York lacks adequate private venture capital and public financing to get startup companies arising from university research into the competitive marketplace. The state ranks 25th nationwide in the amount of public dollars dedicated to startup capital and seed funding.

Forbes: Best Part Of Being An Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs certainly experience extreme highs and lows at unpredictable frequencies. The highs have been numerous, and that's probably what keeps entrepreneurs as entrepreneurs once they have tried it. For example, after VEXTEC had developed a significant portion of our VLM technology core, the federal government arranged for some "blind" testing of our predictive capabilities. The large government contractors in the military world have proprietary materials that only they know the behavior of. It was arranged that VEXTEC predict a proprietary aerospace material--one that we could never have access to--and the large corporate entity who agreed to participate in this would only share information about the material after VEXTEC sent its prediction results to the government.

Secretary Vilsack comments on Innovation at NASVF Conference

OKLAHOMA CITY – America’s agricultural core is in the midst of a massive economic and environmental change, producing equally large opportunities for venture capital investment, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday

Climate change and ever-tighter market competition will drive new technologies in areas such as soil testing, petroleum alternatives, energy transmission, water management and supply chain refinement, Vilsack said at the annual conference of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds. About 300 people attended the event in downtown Oklahoma City this week.

Economic Club heading to Metro

When leaders are looking to communicate with the Canadian people, the Economic Club of Canada is the choice forum. That's why the club has welcomed people such as Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Senator John McCain, Ukrainian president Victor Yushchenko, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to its podium in downtown Toronto in the past few years, not to mention practically every Canadian premier and cabinet minister.

Next month, that prized podium will hit the road, coming to Atlantic Canada for the first time so that one of the brains behind Barack Obama's epochal social media campaign for president can speak to the people of Metro Moncton.

InformationWeek 500: A Year Of Relentless Innovation

It's the first half of 2009, and unemployment's rising to a 26-year high of 9.5%. Sound like the perfect time to launch an aggressive technology-driven product?

It was for Progressive Insurance, which kicked off its "Name Your Price" Web site tool, letting customers build their own insurance policies, starting with what they think they can afford. It was for Coca-Cola, which tested a prototype fountain drink dispenser IT developed over two years with the company's R&D team, letting consumers mix a variety of new flavors while aligning Coke with a select group of fast-food restaurants to analyze buying data and manage inventories better. And it was for CME Group, the world's largest derivatives exchange, which partnered with Brazil's top exchange to give traders electronic access to CME products, expanding CME's global presence.

New Business Will Bring Economic Recovery

The Kauffman Foundation, a pro-entrepreneurship foundation out of Kansas City, Mo, has released a nationwide poll that brings to light the importance of entrepreneurship in our economy.

Entrepreneurs were ranked more highly than either big business and the government when it comes to job creation, with nearly 80% of respondents stating that entrepreneurship played a critical role in creating jobs.

NASA Innovation Partnerships Program

Much of what we gain from our space exploration is in the scientific and technological progress that comes in the process of doing it. Many of those technologies are the direct result of NASA supported funding for both internal R&D projects performed at NASA centers and external research from the small business community. As a result of these expanding needs for new capabilities to explore space, NASA missions often result in technologies which have applications beyond aerospace. These technologies while targeted for integration into the mainstream NASA flight programs, can also be commercialized creating new marketplace products and provide opportunities for improving the quality of life for the American public right here on earth.

WSJ: VCs Increasingly Keeping Young Start-Ups To Themselves

At a time of modest exit expectations, venture investors are increasingly likely to avoid syndicating first rounds, according to new data from VentureSource.

In the first half of this year, 63.2% of first rounds had only one venture investor. That’s close to last year’s 62% rate. The frequency of one-VC deals has been climbing steadily since 2003 when 41.8% of first rounds had just one venture investor.

U.K. Startups Face Crisis as Venture Funding, Deals Dry Up

Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Stuart Evans says he hasn’t seen a worse time to be a startup entrepreneur in the U.K.

The 59-year-old was able to raise funding for Cotag International Ltd., a maker of radio-frequency scanners, two weeks after Black Monday in 1987. By contrast, it took him a year to secure about 1 million pounds ($1.66 million) in August for his latest project, Novacem Ltd, a London-based producer of cement that can absorb carbon dioxide.

Who "owns" Innovation? Where does it "live" in an organization?

Braden Kelly has asked a number of us to respond to the question "Who owns innovation and where does it live in an organization?" This is actually a question we are asked quite frequently by our clients. The answers are based on the strategic goals of the firm.

First, let's consider who "owns" innovation. Many firms will argue that the CEO "owns" innovation, and they are correct, to a point. Anyone with any amount of experience working on innovation will tell you that an engaged, involved executive team is vital to success when innovating. However, a CEO simply doesn't have the time or bandwidth to get involved in every decision and manage all the disparate teams and activities that are involved. A CEO needs to make clear strategies and declarations about innovation's purpose, and ensure the work is conducted effectively and measured. OK, if the CEO doesn't "own" innovation, who does? I've written before that larger firms may need a Chief Innovation Officer, but only if that role is accurately defined. Since innovation can happen anywhere in the organization at any time, we certainly don't want to place all the emphasis on one person or team.

After Lehman: How Innovation Thrives In a Crisis

The economic shocks that reverberated through the economy a year ago could easily have marked the end of the nascent "Innovation Movement." After all, how could companies prioritize developing innovation programs in the face of very real questions of fundamental survival?

A year later, it is clear that innovation has never been more important. And, in a strange way, the scarcity forced on many companies has been a hidden accelerator of efforts to systematize innovation.

BusinessWeek: What Government Innovations Have Proven to Work?

The 2009 winners of the Innovations in American Government Awards, given each year since 1986 by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance & Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, have been announced. They represent inventive public-sector programs that local, state, or federal governments might want to emulate. And they answer the question, “what government ‘innovations’ have proven to work?” Companies could also learn from their ideas, or at least seek them as public-private partners.

Kauffman: New Business Will Bring Economic Recovery

The Kauffman Foundation, a pro-entrepreneurship foundation out of Kansas City, Mo, has released a nationwide poll that brings to light the importance of entrepreneurship in our economy.

Entrepreneurs were ranked more highly than either big business and the government when it comes to job creation, with nearly 80% of respondents stating that entrepreneurship played a critical role in creating jobs.

Age of Innovation

Kjell Nordstrom & Jonas Ridderstrale in their book Funky Business mentioned " The ’surplus society’ has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices & similar quality."

Innovation should not be the race for the new-new thing

We’re all searching for the new-new thing. Be it a product or a method, we’re looking for that innovation that will let us stand out from the pack, because in a world where we are all good, we need to be original. If an idea becomes a trend before we’re involved, we are not a leader. When we’re first to market, if we capture first mover advantage, then we can define the rules of the game. But how can we tap into valuable ideas for products, services or method before they are seen as trends, when they are just … random?

Brenner Discusses USDA Research, Technology

Few people know that the Department of Agriculture is one of the leading governmental research organizations with a long history of commercializing what is developed in its labs and jointly. Dr. Rick Brenner, who was named the Assistant Administrator in ARS for Technology Transfer in October 2004 and represents the Secretary of Agriculture on issues pertaining to management of intellectual property arising from USDA research, and has the delegated authority for licensing inventions developed through intramural research in any of the USDA agencies, provides insights into the enormous impact his agency has on the economy of the country.