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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.

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.

Venture capital partnerships expand Pennsylvania economy

Governor Ed Rendell recently announced a shot of venture capital funding for early-stage life science companies in western Pennsylvania. Through a program managed by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, the New PA Venture Capital Investment Program will provide $5 million to Pittsburgh-based Corridor Ventures to invest in Pennsylvania-related companies within the life sciences sector.

The New PA Venture Capital Investment Program was created by Governor Rendell’s 2003 Economic Stimulus Package after he first came into office. The stimulus package passed the state legislature in 2004, clearing the way for the Venture Capital Investment Program along with other financing programs meant to jumpstart the Pennsylvania economy.

Venture Capital: Is it on a Diet Pill?

Venture capital outlook for the upcoming years is as obscure as ever due to many external factors such as the government intervention in the private sector to the state of the economy which is very fragile across various industries and sectors. Capitalism is no longer being conceived in a positive manner and no longer are those values being embraced. It is simple, the working model is broke. We need fresh ideas and blood to re-invent the New American Standards across all different platforms.

Five Websites Every Entrepreneur Should Use

Today, many businesses are getting large portions of their website traffic from social media sites. It's one thing to bring an audience you already have over to your Twitter account, but the true test is to create growth. The most successful are the ones that network and engage in conversation rather than use their accounts like bullhorns to make announcements.

US Falls in Global Competitiveness Rankings

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010, an assessment of the productive potential of nations worldwide, is now available. Switzerland tops the overall competitiveness rankings, followed by the United States. The U.S. fell to second position after several years at the top of the rankings. Singapore, Sweden and Denmark complete the list of the top five countries.

'Doing Business' Rankings Stimulating Reform

The overview of the Doing Business Report 2010 is now available. Since 2004, the World Bank’s Doing Business project has been tracking regulatory reforms in 10 areas of business regulation that record the time and cost to meet government requirements in starting and operating a business, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. Each year, Doing Business ranks 183 economies according to these 10 areas. These rankings have stimulated reforms to improve the overall ease of doing business by allowing policymakers to prioritize reforms and learn from global best practices.

Belgium: Will its enviable geographic position continue to ensure success in pharma?

Occupying an enviable position both physically and politically in the heart of Europe, Belgium has benefitted extensively from its location in recent years, and the development of the EU has also provided considerable impetus for growth. The headquarters of the EC and home of the European Parliament and NATO, Belgium’s capital, Brussels, is the centre of European politics. With the recent enlargement of the EU, the country is also at the centre of a market of 0.5 billion consumers. A well-developed infrastructure combined with world-class education and technical expertise, as well as a physical proximity to the markets and capitals of Western Europe, lends local firms many advantages and has made the country a highly attractive base for international companies to conduct business in Europe.

Startup Uruguay?

VentureBeat has a terrific article today about the first venture capital firm in nation of Uruguay.

The company is called Prosperitas Capital Partners and when it was formed in 2005, there was so little infrastructure that even the lawyers didn't know how to write venture term sheets. The company's first fund was a $10 million dollar fund that invested in healthcare and technology companies. They're working on raising a $100 million fund and partnering with a Bay Area VC firm for another venture fund for Latin America more broadly.

HBS: Financing Constraints and Entrepreneurship

Financing constraints are one of the biggest concerns impacting potential entrepreneurs around the world. Given the important role that entrepreneurship is believed to play in the process of economic growth, alleviating financing constraints for would-be entrepreneurs is also an important goal for policymakers worldwide. In this paper HBS professors William R. Kerr and Ramana Nanda review two major streams of research examining the relevance of financing constraints for entrepreneurship. They then introduce a framework that provides a unified perspective on these research streams, thereby highlighting some important areas for future research and policy analysis in entrepreneurial finance. Key concepts include:

Interview: Vinod Khosla Is On The Hunt For Great Technologies

In venture capital, Vinod Khosla likes to go his own way, which is why he’s been so successful. He was the founding CEO of Sun Microsystems, and then moved to venture capital and became a star partner at Kleiner Perkins, where he backed Juniper Networks, Cerent (sold to Cisco for $7 billion) and NexGen (sold to AMD and formed the basis for its challenge to Intel). About five years ago, after becoming a billionaire, he left Kleiner and started Khosla Ventures to invest his own money. He was mostly drawn to clean tech at a time before it was popular, but still kept his hand in Web and other tech startups (Aliph|Jawbone, iSkoot, RingCentral, Tapulous, iLike, Slide, Xobni). Khosla Ventures already has more than 50 companies in its portfolio (see slides below).

Nurturing high-tech business

FAIRMONT — At an upcoming conference, people from the state and beyond can learn how to grow their capacity through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

The 2009 Mid-Atlantic SBIR/STTR Conference is scheduled for Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown. The West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation’s INNOVA Commercialization Group and the West Virginia Development Office are hosting the event. Judy McCauley, district director of the SBA’s West Virginia District Office, is serving as an adviser during the planning.

WSJ: Where Are They Now?

For technology innovators, there's the "Eureka!" moment and then there's the business of putting discoveries to work. Here's a look at how some winners from last year—plus the top winner from 2007—have fared since we recognized their achievements.