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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.

I is for InnovationWhen I [Sharon Dotan] attended the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX), I heard a wonderful keynote by Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a passionate advocate for innovation.

So what exactly is innovation? We usually think of innovation as an “Aha!” moment (as Oprah would say) that an individual has. We think of Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. We think of Thomas Edison and his many patented inventions (well over 1,000). But is this the reality of innovation? Buxton says no.

Most of Edison’s patents in fact, were simply improvements made on an original idea thought up and created by others. Innovation is a team sport! And to be innovative, you need to stack your team with great individuals that bring a variety of skill sets from across the board. Think of hockey – you can’t just have all the top goalies on your team and expect to be a winning team – no matter how good all those goalies are, you’ll still have a losing team without good forwards and defensemen.
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American startups are not alone when it comes to the well of venture funding drying up. A recent report by the Israel Venture Capital Research Center has found that funding in Israel fell drastically to $1.12 billion in 2009, nearly half the amount from the previous year. The 46% decrease marks the lowest funding numbers since 2003 and ends Israel's streak of three consecutive years with increasing number of companies and funding dollars.

The numbers are a sign of the worldwide economic stress that is affecting countries large and small across the globe. While funding plummeted between 2008 and 2009, the number of companies funded only fell roughly 7% from 483 to 447, which means less money is being given to each company. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the average financing round was just $2.2 million, down from $3.61 million during the same period in 2008.
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Turns out Bill Gates' attention-getting debut on Twitter was just the prelude. The Microsoft chairman and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair today is launching a new site, dubbed The Gates Notes, where he'll be writing about what's on his mind, posting information from his trips, and sharing excerpts from his exchanges with experts and leaders in areas including science, energy, philanthropy and other global issues.

"Since leaving my fulltime job at Microsoft to dedicate more time to our foundation, a lot of people have asked me what I'm working on. It often feels like I'm back in school, as I spend a lot of my time learning about issues I'm passionate about," he says in an introductory note. "I'm fortunate because the people I'm working with and learning from are true experts in their fields. I take a lot of notes, and often share them and my own thoughts on the subject with others through email, so I can learn from them and expand the conversation."
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We've written quite a bit in the past about the challenges and opportunities facing journalism, a subject which of course is near and dear to our hearts.

New models are emerging. Traditional players are fading away. And entrepreneurs are trying to fill the gaps. Those trends were on full display today when The New York Times announced plans to roll out a new payment system for its Web site beginning next year. The Times -- the number one newspaper Web site in the country -- plans to allow readers to access a select number of stories for free each month before enacting a flat fee.
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How well are you making use or your time daily? Are you always productive? There are many people wanting to know how to become more productive. I came up with 10 ways that you can become more productive with your day. Let’s see if you do any of these things. These 10 ways are in no particular order.

1. Exercise!! We all get stressed with our jobs. Whether your stuck in a cubicle for 8 hours or work from home like I do, we all obtain stresses in our lives. Exercise improves mental health so you can deal with future stress in a better way. Physically fit people tend to have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Most people that are stressed sit at a desk.
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Riccardo Pietrabissa: set up Italy’s tech transfer network.Riccardo Pietrabissa got into tech transfer the old-fashioned way: he made a deal. The bioengineering professor and vice rector at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, started that university’s patent office when the payment for funding his experimental biomechanical laboratory came due.

“My transition to the tech transfer office started in 1998 when I was an assistant professor. I asked the rector for a grant to establish the lab,” said Pietrabissa, who is 53. “In 2001 the rector called and said he was happy with the lab, and reminded me I was in debt to him. He wanted to establish a patent office in the university, so I had to do that.”

That was a dramatic departure from his research on biomechanics to simulate parts of the human body such as portions of the cardiovascular system or a hip joint. But he embraced the challenge.
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seedlings 4x3SeedStart, a joint effort among several venture firms to spur entrepreneurship, is launching a summer program aimed at technology startups based in New York City.

The early-stage tech startups that are selected to be a part of the eight-week program will each receive a $20,000 investment, as well as mentorship from experienced NYC-based VCs entrepreneurs, administrative and technical help, free office space, and expert guidance in the legal and business aspects of launching a company and a product.
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Idaho Business ReviewIdaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter gathered on Jan. 21 with business leaders from around the state to launch the Idaho Technology Council – a private sector group focused on growing the state’s high-tech economy.

“Idaho’s growth as a technology center has cooled, and the Idaho economy cannot afford that,” stated ITC Chairman Rich Raimondi, a recently retired vice president at Hewlett-Packard. “We know the priorities to re-energize growth in this critical sector are human capital, public policy, financial capital and research and development, and we have formed committees with leaders from across the state to work those issues.”
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Remember how, a couple summers ago, NYU absorbed Polytechnic University in Brooklyn and popped out with a new combined beast, Polytechnic Institute of New York University? Now, NYU-Poly’s President Jerry M. Hultin announced a $50 million (and more in the future) plan to renovate campus, somewhat mysteriously and nerdily titled “i2e Campus Transformation.”

“The goal now is to turn this into a campus that exudes innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship,” Hultin said yesterday at a Town Hall. Members of the firm Jonathan Rose Companies, chosen to spearhead the project, described fancy green and “form meets function” design plans, such as “data and electrical ports suspended from the ceiling, enabling students, faculty, and researchers to easily move wheeled stations as needed.” Whoa, technology.
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Stuart Lynn, Head of R&D, Sages Mid Market DivisionI [Stuart Lynn] was intrigued when reading a story recently which defined the meaning of innovation as the execution of an idea, whereas creativity was having the idea in the first place. Most people I speak to would instinctively lump these two things together and call them innovation. So, I went off to the web to check this out; here I found a number of meanings. A couple that jumped off the page were…

“Innovation can be described as the result of some amount of time and effort into researching (R) an idea, plus some larger amount of time and effort into developing (D) this idea, plus some very large amount of time and effort into commercialising this idea into a market place with customers”.

Being from an R&D background, this strikes a chord with me as it combines the idea and the delivery, and more importantly it goes further to look at commercialising… I wonder how many companies put all of their effort into the first two parts and forget the last and arguably most important part? I have to say that I’ve seen this happen on more than one occasion.
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daniellesteinfairhurst Why startups dont need a budgetOK, you’ve taken the plunge — gone out on your own — told the boss to stick it and set up your own business. You’ve left the corporate world behind and you’ll be playing by your own rules from now on! No more management hierarchies, no boring meetings, no budgets and no getting sign-off to spend any money. From now on, you’re your own boss and no one can tell you what to do.

The first thing you need to do in order to take the amazing idea in your head and turn it into a fully-fledged company is to raise capital, and the first piece of advice you’ll get is to create a business plan and a forecast. If that sounds like an awful lot of hard work, you’re right. If you don’t even know where your next pay cheque is coming from, how can you be expected to have foresight years ahead on the performance of a company that exists only in thin air? It also sounds suspiciously like a budget — something you thought you’d left behind in the corporate world.
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ScienceForCitizens_CompactLogo_FINAL_Border_175wHot diggity-DOG! After years in the making, my partner, Michael Gold, and I–with generous support from Science House–have officially unveiled the beta version (that means this is still a work-in-progress) of . Science journalist, Carl Zimmer, who frequently writes for Discover and Time Magazine, said “It’s like for all sorts of possibilities for doing cool citizen science”. We’ll take that!

We’re seeking your feedback on ways we can make the site a phenomenal resource for all who use it. And, consider registering as a new member you can can explore the many citizen science projects out there, add your own project, create a personalized blog, or just meet up online with folks who share your interests.
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nycseed_newfund.jpgEarly-stage New York City startups are about to get some tender loving care and it's got nothing to do with Valentine's Day. As highlighted in Jason Calacanis' blog seed-stage investment group NYC Seed just launched an eight week incubator program where ten lucky companies will gain from startup mentorship, much-needed space and modest funding.

Led by NYC Seed's Managing Director Owen Davis, NYC Seedstart is a joint effort between NYC Seed, Contour Venture Partners, IA Ventures, Polaris Ventures and RR Ventures.
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Click here to pre-register for our press conference, streamed live from The World Economic Forum at Davos, on Tuesday, 26 January at 19:00 (7 p.m.) CET / 1 p.m. EST.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Chairman Dennis Nally will be presenting findings from the 13th Annual Global CEO Survey. Entitled "Setting a smarter course for growth", the Survey looks at what measures CEOs are taking in response to the recession, how they view the post-crisis business environment, and what changes they are making to adapt their organisations. We surveyed 1,198 business leaders from around the globe from September to November 2009 and conducted further in-depth interviews with 27 CEOs from 17 countries.
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After 3.8 billion years of research and development, nature knows a thing or two about good design. But it's only recently that industry has started to pay attention.

Biomimicry looks closely at design solutions in the natural world and adapts them for human use. Although these man-made products look like replicas of their natural models, the process is more than a slavish copying of form. "It's about consulting the natural world for advice," says Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. "We find the champion adaptors for a particular function; then we abstract that design principle and apply it."
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The shared goal of many individuals who read this blog is to “create a robust, sustainable entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem.” But, what does that mean? Success is difficult to attain when you don’t know when you have attained it. So, this post is really about making this vision into something that is tangible.

In my [Tom Chapman] job as the Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, I often speak regarding the five pillars of an ecosystem – human capital, financial capital, metrics / deal flow, community and infrastructure. Here are some of the metrics the Chamber uses to gauge changes in those areas.
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10 Signs That Innovation Will FailWhat are the signs that innovation in a company is set up to fail? It would be great to have a checklist, but unfortunately innovation is too complicated and company-specific to employ a standard checklist for this.

However, we can share our insights on this and help each other become better at spotting the signs of failure.

Thus I [Stefan Lindegaard] have listed (in a non-prioritized order) the red flags I look for when I talk with executives and innovation leaders trying to get an understanding of their corporate innovation capabilities. What do you think and what can you add?
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superstarI’m fortunate that I [Will Herman] get to work with many startups, both independently and with TechStars where I’m a mentor. There is no better way to learn than through teaching (learning is the most fun you can have, at least for a sustained period) and there are few better students than entrepreneurs.superstar

Good entrepreneurs always want to know why they should do something and not just what they should do. They test, challenge and refuse to take anything for granted. They’re highly motivated, smart and understand success is not about them as an individual, but about the team they can build. And they strive not only to make their first venture a success but also to become strong, solid leaders and managers that can build many great companies.
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Raising money from business angels is difficult. Few people are willing to invest their money in someone else's startup and fewer businesses have the right characteristics to be financed through an external capital raise.

Still, people raise money from business angels all the time—not a lot of entrepreneurs, mind you, but enough to indicate patterns that account for who obtains angel financing and who does not.

These patterns have led a lot of people, including me, to write books and articles about how to raise money from business angels.
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WSJIn March we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of VentureWire with an interactive timeline that depicted the major headlines of the previous 10 years in venture capital - from the birth of to the expansion of Twitter.

Today our blog, run by VentureWire editors and reporters, turns one. So in honor of this birthday, we’ve updated the timeline to include news of the past year, and by extension, the past decade.

You can access the timeline below by using your mouse to scroll left and right, and by clicking on an event to read more about it. Please read the instructions below for a better viewing experience. We hope you enjoy this travel through time.
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