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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.

Bendis to appear on three panels at NASVF Converence (Sept 14 through 16) in Oklahoma City

The National Association of Seed and Venture Funds conference in Oklahoma City is Sept. 14-16 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. This year is the 16th annual event from NASVF, a global nonprofit that promotes investments in seed and early-stage companies by supporting entrepreneurs and creating jobs from innovative capital programs. The organization connects investors, economic development organizations and tech transfer professionals all looking to create stronger economies and jobs. Presenters and attendees at the two-day event get the chance to share ideas and discuss strategies. The conference regularly draws seed and early-stage fund managers, fund-of-fund managers, state venture capital leaders, angel investment leaders, institutional investors and tech commercialization experts. For an agenda of the conference, including times for sessions and speakers, go to www.nasvf.org/confapp.php.

WSJ: It’s Official: Solyndra Is First Solar Co. Awarded Federal Loan

The Obama administration on Friday used the California site of a planned solar-panel factory to complete the first-ever loan guarantee for a renewable-energy project, a $535 million deal that will allow Solyndra Inc. to create hundreds of jobs.

The announcement, outlined by Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a region battered by an auto-factory shutdown, comes as Obama administration officials are hoping to show that investments in clean energy projects can help reverse almost two years of job losses.

WSJ: The Daily Start-Up: Emily Melton Moves Up On Sand Hill Road

Moving Down The Street- Emily Melton toiled for nine years at venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, investing in a bunch of Internet start-ups like Meebo Inc. and MyShape Inc. But she never reached partner status. Now, with DFJ downsizing expectations for its newest fund, Melton gets that chance at rival firm Mayfield Fund, which has seen three of its managing directors scale back their roles, VentureWire reports. Melton, 32, gives the Mayfield team a little bit of youth, writes the Bits blog. She’ll have an easy move, considering Mayfield is right down the street from DFJ on Sand Hill Road.

Middle East Entrepreneur Training Inspires Next Generation of Business Leaders

As part of this plan, the President offered several critical areas where we can build partnerships: women’s empowerment, education, technology, and health, to name a few. I want to highlight an especially important topic that I was excited to hear the President address in Cairo: The vital role that entrepreneurship plays in supporting economic development and opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Obama Education Speech: Innovation, Problem Solving, and Twitter

Look past all the controversy and President Obama's education speech is an evocation of the heart of the American mythology; work hard and you can achieve. The speech is an interesting case study in entrepreneurial role models.

The main thrust of the content is about the fact that while parents, teachers, governments all have a responsibility to help in our education, how we use what we've been given is ultimately a matter of personal responsibility and initiative.

Science, Technology and Innovation play major role in EU economy

R&D expenditure in the EU27 stable at 1.85% of GDP in 2007 while researchers account for almost 1% of total employment

In 2007, the EU27 spent 229 billion euro on Research & Development 1 (R&D). R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP equalled 1.85% in 2007, stable compared with 2006. Germany (62 bn euro), France (39 bn) and the United Kingdom (37 bn) accounted together for 60% of total R&D expenditure in the EU27 in 2007.

Gartner: Innovation marching on — McKinsey Top 10 Trends and what they mean for IT

McKinsey points out that while corporate R&D and new ventures have taken a hit in the downturn, the opportunities or “head room” remains for innovation. McKinsey recommends companies protect their R&D investments paying for innovation with operational efficiencies, cost cutting and, if necessary, consolidating R&D facilities and programs.

In describing this trend, McKinsey points out that companies benefit from countercyclical investments in innovation, as they tend to have the products, services and operations to outpace their competitors when economic conditions improve. Critics will see pointing out the need for innovation as obvious as market dynamics, the level of competition and customer choice require constant change.

INNOVATION AND CONTINUOUS LEARNING ARE INSEPARABLE

The enormous amount of change requires an almost equal speed in learning. Changes are in so many areas like new technologies, new government guidelines, global markets or social media/networking. Also it is crucial to not only check your competition and your customers, but also noncustomers (if you are interested in creating blue oceans…). Fortunately there is so much knowledge available on or via the internet.

BusinessWeek Interview: Google China's Kai-Fu Lee Debuts Innovation Works

Kai-Fu Lee became famous in 2005 when the engineering whiz left Microsoft, where he had created Microsoft Research Asia, to head search giant Google’s operation in China. Microsoft sued, charging that he violated a noncompete agreement, but eventually settled. This time, as Lee leaves Google, he’s sure to avoid a lawsuit, because he’s starting his own venture, which launches Monday morning in Beijing.

Swiss Technology transfer projects approved

The Swiss National Science Foundation has approved 28 additional technology transfer projects for National Centres of Competence in Research in the hopes of stimulating the economy both in the short and medium-term. The projects are being funded by the Swiss federal government as part of its measures to stabilize the economy. With this, a total of 25 million CHF will be invested into developing new technologies.

Innovation Goal - Growth or Strategic Renewal?

What exactly is the goal of your company's innovation efforts? "Oh, that's easy", senior managers usually reply, "We need to grow the business." The line of logic here is relatively simple: "Innovation leads to wealth creation leads to growth" - which, of course, is fair enough. Based on this logic, companies of every stripe are now racing to pursue the kind of innovation that generates organic growth, new revenues, and wider profit margins.

WILL CHINA INNOVATION WORK?

I have been watching with a great deal of interest the departure of Kai-Fu Lee from Google to form Innovation Works, which has aggregated a $115 million fund that will be invested in tech start ups.

While $115 million is not enormous anymore by Silicon Valley private equity standards, that amount will go many times further in China and should be viewed as most significant. Some of China's most successful tech pioneers have contributed to Innovation works and according to Mr. Lee, the first order of business will be to "recruit talent."

Entrepreneur Corner Roundup: Growth drivers, social media marketing and should entrepreneurs be more like teenage girls?

5 milestones to reach before raising venture capital – Many entrepreneurs assume once they’ve got an idea, the next thing to do is raise venture capital. That’s naïve, says Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks. Here are the five signs you’re actually ready....

BusinessWeek: Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?

America needs good jobs, soon. We need 6.7 million just to replace losses from the current recession, then another 10 million to spark demand over the next decade. That's 15 million to 17 million new jobs. In the 1990s, the U.S. economy created a net 22 million jobs (a rate of 2.2 million per year), so we know it can be done. Between 2000 and the end of 2007 (the beginning of the current recession), however, the economy created new jobs at a rate of 900,000 a year, so we know it isn't doing it now. The pipeline is dry because the U.S. business model is broken. Our growth engine has run out of a key source of fuel—critical mass, basic scientific research.