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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.

WSJ: ‘Low Points and Screw-Ups’: Start-Ups Crave Mentors’ Real Stories by Tomio Geron

Twenty four companies put their best face forward for investors at Y Combinator’s ninth Demo Day for start-ups completing its incubator program.

The program is known for launching Web start-ups on a shoestring; it takes place twice a year and provides companies with $10,000 to $20,000 in exchange for a small equity stake. Perhaps more important than the money, though, are the networking and learning opportunities - the program provides start-ups with advice, community with other founders and weekly dinners with prominent tech entrepreneurs and investors.

Nokia innovation award sees little innovation by Bill Ray

Nokia's Calling All Innovators competition is listing finalists again, but while last time saw dancing games and Fair Trade guides, this year we've got sniper-safe routing and home automation.

This time around the competition saw 1700 entries, which have been whittled down to 12 finalists looking for a share of the additional $100,000 in prize money. This takes the total up to quarter of a million dollars. Last time around the focus was on applications to improve the quality of life, but this time the focus is on widgets, Flash and maps, rather than native Symbian applications.

U.S. Education Secretary Briefs Stakeholders on 'Investing in Innovation Fund' at Symposium held by ACT, Inc. and America's Choice

As staggering statistics continue to evidence American students' lack of preparedness for college and careers, ACT, Inc. and America's Choice convened the Superintendents' Symposium Series today to introduce district superintendents from across the United States to practical solutions for increasing student college and career readiness. Both the not-for-profit organization ACT and America's Choice are national leaders in college readiness and school improvement.

Is There a Future for Science Parks? by Anthony Townsend

Earlier this year Raleigh, North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park celebrated a very important birthday. At the largest-ever conference of the International Association of Science Parks, the industry’s global consortium, the Research Triangle Park marked 50 years of technology-led economic development alongside over 40 other parks from around the world in operation for 25 years or more. It was a grand celebration of a model for economic development pioneered by the Research Triangle Park that has been copied in every corner of the globe.

Innovation and Unrealistic expectations by Jeffrey Phillips

I grew up as one of those kids who was sort of good at a lot of sports but not really a master of any one sport. As I've gotten older, I've put considerably more time into biking, tennis and running, which leaves little time for the sport of business titans: golf. Now, I "play" golf at least four times a year, in a fund raising game or with friends and neighbors. I never practice and it shows. I cannot break 100 to save my life. I'm not familiar with any of the local courses and not familiar with my clubs (tools). I don't expect to be successful when I play and I don't take it too seriously. I uncork a nice drive every once in a while, or a good putt, but I don't expect it to happen regularly. Mostly I am a very poor golfer who occasionally gets in a good shot, and that's all I expect.

BusinessWeek: Private Equity Trumps Venture Capital by Alex Yoder

Core to the traditional model of Venture Capital (VC) is the assumption that, through investment in a large number of disparate, disruptive technologies, losses can be limited to the initial investment, while gains can be ridden out and, ultimately, the significance of the winners will far outweigh the losers. By their nature, VCs are looking for a big win on some and cutting losses of most. Accordingly, their investment timeframe is typically shorter. The model is built on momentum in the broader market generated by demand for more, newer ways to do things, thus requiring rapid adoption of disruptive technology by consumers (read: willingness to accept risk). This entire cycle, from inception to completion, is based on the broad willingness to assume larger risk positions. From inventor to consumer, demand for risk tends to be higher.

WSJ: Much Ado About Nothing by Rajeev Mantri

Reading the business press in India can be much like reading a Shakespearean tragicomedy. I recently came across a news item that talked of the agriculture ministry's efforts to set up two billion rupee poultry venture capital fund. According to an agriculture ministry official, capital subsidy, in the form of venture capital, was better than providing interest-free loans to farmers in the poultry sector.

Ford unveils new technology that connects EVs to the nation’s electric-grid by egmCarTech

Ford announced today that it is working with its partners on testing the industry’s first vehicle-to-electric grid communications and control systems, which will allow electric-vehicles to connect with the nation’s electric grid for optimal recharging.

The new feature will allow the owner of an electric-car to program when to recharge their vehicles, for how long and at what utility rate. For example, an electric-car owner could choose to charge only during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper.

A national entrepreneurship policy by Abhijit Bhattachary

There can be no denial of the fact that extreme poverty and underdevelopment lie at the root of the growing Naxal menace engulfing a large part of rural India. The massive welfare allocations announced in the last budget for rural development may help to gradually curb the growth of discontentment, provided the funds reach the intended beneficiaries. On the other hand, in the urban front also the situation looks quite grim. The mass-scale hiring by the outsourcing industry in the IT and ITeS sectors has come to a grinding halt.

Do you need an innovation strategy? by Jeffrey Phillips

I've thought for a while that it would be great to get a number of bloggers to write about the same topic, which would allow readers to have different perspectives about an innovation topic from noted (well, at least some of us are) experts in the field of innovation. Braden Kelley asked us to write about the need or importance of innovation strategy, so here's my response to his request.

Caddell Insight Group: Innovation moving from initiatives to experiments

An interesting piece in today’s WSJ Business Insight section (”The New, Faster Face of Innovation” by Eric Brynjolffson and Michael Schrage of MIT) asserts that information technologies are reducing the cost of business experimentation and increasing the speed of rolling out new processes and approaches to the organization as a whole. As a result, more and more businesses are moving to use experimentation as a basis of their innovation programs.

Darkstrand Appoints David Wilhelm to Advisory Board to Support Darkstrand's Role in National Innovation

Today Darkstrand, a pioneer in corporate high-speed connectivity bridging research and commercialization, announced the addition of David Wilhelm to Darkstrand's Board of Advisors.

Wilhelm is an American political leader and businessman. He is best known for managing campaigns for President Bill Clinton, Senator Paul Simon, Senator Joe Biden, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, and for his leadership as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

BusinessWeek: IBM Bets on Brazilian Innovation by Spencer E. Ante

Over the last few years, China and India have emerged as the twin hot spots of emerging tech innovation. Now IBM (IBM) is betting that one of the next big technology stars will be Brazil.

In the latest sign of Brazil's rising power, Big Blue is announcing on Aug. 18 a new initiative to stimulate the development of the country's technology sector. To kick off the effort, IBM is hosting its first-ever forum for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in São Paulo along with FINEP, the Brazilian government agency that finances technology development. The daylong event will bring together more than 100 investors and dozens of new companies looking for investment and business advice.

Promoting Innovation | U.S. Role in the World by Joel Davis

I’d like to take a minute to turn from our usual focus on foreign policy and diplomacy to take a look at science and technology. The U.S. has a proud history of being a world leader in technological innovation. This website, for example, provides a list of U.S. Nobel Prize winners, as of 2008, and it’s impressive, to be sure.

Gartner: Web Innovation, Consumerization and Fast Followers by Kathy Harris

The Web is currently the most fruitful area for innovation — every day, new ideas emerge along with new uses for old ideas. The difference in innovations from the Web and those from other sources is who is driving the change. Web innovation is led by individual consumers (acting alone or in communities) and by innovative software developers (individuals, communities and vendors) who create the platforms, software and solutions for Web consumption. This is consumerization at work.

PATH to use Hilton Humanitarian Prize for $25 million innovation fund by Kristi Heim

Seattle-based PATH announced today it has won the world's largest humanitarian award, the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, for its work creating effective health technologies for the developing world.

Hilton Foundation Chief Executive Steven M. Hilton, who introduced the award during a press conference this morning, said PATH's work helping to develop 85 technologies, along with its commitment to sharing ideas and making sure products are sold at affordable prices, have had a profound impact on alleviating human suffering. More coverage of the award is here.

WSJ: The New, Faster Face of Innovation by Erik Brynjolfsson and Michael Schrage

Call it innovation on steroids. Or innovation at warp speed. Or just the innovation of rapid innovation.

But the essential point remains: Technology is transforming innovation at its core, allowing companies to test new ideas at speeds—and prices—that were unimaginable even a decade ago. They can stick features on Web sites and tell within hours how customers respond. They can see results from in-store promotions, or efforts to boost process productivity, almost as quickly.