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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. up and good morning. A prominent business group for nearly 50 years, the Florida Council of 100 has some new ideas on how to make the state's educational system, from kindergarten through university, better and more geared to fitting the demands of the state's future economy and workforce. The group, in conjunction with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, released its latest findings, called Closing the Talent Gap: A Business Perspective, on Thursday.

To say it is written in an urgent tone is an understatement."Florida faces an emerging Talent Gap — an urgent shortage of a resource as basic as food, more valuable than gold, and in higher global demand than oil."
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I made what in hindsight is a fairly funny mistake recently. Working with a new client who wanted to become more innovative, we pressed ahead into a project only to realize that their definition of innovation was to have customers interact with their products in a technology showcase. When I think of "innovation" I think of teams using a number of tools and techniques to generate and bring to life new products, services and business models. When this team said "innovation" that's what I thought, and what I assumed. What they were thinking was something else entirely, and that didn't become evident until we developed a workplan. Then, the differences in the expectations and definitions were clearly exposed.
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BioNJ LogoHappy New Year.

2010 is already proving to be one of BioNJ’s best ever.

Hope you all tuned in earlier today as BioNJ and several industry leaders rang the “Opening Bell” at the NASDAQ stock exchange. (To see a replay, go to, and click on the NASDAQ MarketSite tab and then find the At MarketSite link.) That exciting milestone will be followed by the New York City movie premiere of Extraordinary Measures, which chronicles the triumph of Amicus President and CEO John Crowley and his family in finding a treatment for his children’s life threatening disease, and we will cap off the month with our 17th Annual Dinner Meeting, Awards Program and Networking Event.
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Technology is disrupting industries ranging from healthcare to journalism, but few outside of the financial industry may realize the extent to which innovation is changing the lives of traders. My colleague Emily Lambert recently talked with James Allen Smith, who directed a new documentary called "Floored" that tells the story behind the technological revolution that’s affecting the lives of millions of investors.

Smith tells Lambert, “The film is almost more like "revenge of the nerds"-- It opens that door now to geeks and the computer guys. Now you've got MIT guys, these super computer geniuses writing these algorithms and black-box systems. What that does is cuts it off to the blue-collar everyman with the American Dream kind of thing. As we continue to move forward, things become more sophisticated. This is just another example of that.”
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anthillBelow is a collection of videos assembled by the team at Anthill.  Enjoy!

BBC reporter breaks 'unbreakable' new phone, embarrasses phone CEO

The recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas was an elbows-out affair that left no room for shrinking violets. So Sonim CEO Bob Plaschke was surely chuffed when the BBC's flagship technology programme Click asked him to discuss on camera his company's new phone, the Sonim XP1, which he bullishly touted as being "unbreakable". Click reporter Dan Simmons put Plaschke's claim to the test.

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Twitter’s hockey stick growth has flattened over the last few months, but it’s interesting to note the emergence of South East Asian countries in the usage of Twitter.

Sysomos compiled a report on top tweeting countries (based on data between mid-October to mid-December, 2009 and data from 13 million tweets) and an interesting finding is that majority of users aren’t using the geo location API tool.
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anthillBelow is a collection of videos assembled by the team at Anthill.  Enjoy!

Three-year-old Chinese girl solves Rubik’s cube in 114 seconds

In more than 30 years, I’ve never managed to solve it (bar the sneaky sticker-removal method). However, this three-year-old Chinese prodigy has mastered the way of the Cube, completing the famous challenge in a staggering 114 seconds! And she even looks a little bored.

This is why the Chinese will dominate this century.



In 2009, we saw a renewed engagement with ethical questions about how we regulate biotechnology, watched the conservative war on science continue on new fronts, and witnessed renewed commitments to grow U.S. prosperity with investments in science and technology.

Timeline: A Brief History of Stem Cell Research
One of our most popular features ever, this interactive timeline marked key moments, beginning the in the 1970s, from the interrelated stories of human embryonic stem cell research and the policy governing that work. The piece collects research featured in the Center for American Progress report, “A Life Sciences Crucible: Stem Cell Research and Innovation Done Responsibly and Ethically.” The Obama administration’s final stem cell policy closely resembled the one recommended in the paper.
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Tom Sheridan What cause or causes would you most like to promote as a Changemaker and why?

Social innovation and entrepreneurship. We need new and innovative 21st century approaches to solving our social problems. Most of our social issues (education, health care, etc.) are using models and solutions that were created decades ago, are old and lack innovation, and are based on old assumptions of policy makers. We need community engagement and out of the box thinking that breaks silos and engages all sectors.

To greater and lesser degree’s others have seen unique opportunities at transformative moments and reaped enormous attention for issues as well as truly creating real social change. Both FDR and JFK found themselves in such a time and leveraged this opportunity to make history--but --change takes time and more importantly it will require a committed band of passionate citizens to make it happen.
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Alan Kaufman says that the idea for the Nubrella -- a radical reimagining of the staid old umbrella -- occurred to him as his prior business was imploding.

In his twenties, Kaufman started The Wireless Company in Newton, selling cell phones and service plans, and advertising heavily on local radio. Later, he ran Cingular Wireless authorized re-seller stores in the Boston area and Manhattan. But his expansion to New York ended in a lawsuit and arbitration with Cingular. About the time he was acknowledging that he'd have to shut his five New York outlets, he was walking around on "a miserable, rainy, windy day, watching people struggle with their umbrellas." He drew a stick figure wearing a new type of aerodynamic umbrella that would better block the wind -- and wouldn't be blown inside out by a serious gust.
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IP commercialisation is key to jobs, says US Commerce chief US Commerce secretary Gary Locke has backed research and development (R&D) as a key tool for improving the US job market. Speaking on 7 January at a meeting of the Presidential Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST), Locke stressed that the US must regain the initiative in IP commercialisation if it is to harness the nation's workforce and compete with overseas players. While he criticised patent delays at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a hindrance, Locke also outlined a range of potential solutions to boost the US R&D landscape.

'The issues being explored by PCAST are of singular importance for putting Americans back to work in the types of good-wage jobs that can support a family,' said Locke in his address to the council. These types of jobs, he added, 'have been disappearing for many, many years. We can talk all about the structural factors that have made these jobs disappear – be it global competition, productivity gains … or the recent folly of building economies on the ephemeral surface of a bubble'.
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TEDxNASA eventAnything with the word “NASA” attached to it instantly conjures up phrases of “rocket science”, “aerospace engineers”, “scientists” and “astronauts”. But many of you may also imagine “Star Trek” and “Star Wars”, works of imagination and science fiction, as far removed from the reality and practicality of the scientific and technologically advanced aura of NASA as can be. Or are they? NASA is about space exploration, the need to discover the unknown and to create the instruments and vehicles to make such exploration happen. But before such technologies can exist, you need imagination, ideas, creativity, innovation, and dreams.

Such is the beauty of the TEDxNASA event, where aerospace engineers, musicians, artists, authors, innovation consultants and neuroscientists come together to explore what it means to be creative and innovative. Steve Shapiro, our VP of Strategic Consulting, was one of the presenters to speak about innovation. His session was titled “Open Innovation for Rocket Scientists” and you can see the video here.
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Over the course of 2009, Floridians came together to develop the 2010-2015 Roadmap to Florida’s Future, the statewide strategic plan for economic development. Over 1,500 people—representing business, industry/trade associations, international commerce, education and workforce, transportation, arts and culture, government, economic development organizations, and others—provided input to help shape Florida’s economic future.

The Roadmap presents 24 sets of recommendations to help establish Florida as a leader in the global innovation economy commensurate with its standing as the nation’s 4th largest state and the 20th largest economy in the world.
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Kauffman FoundationA new study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation attempts to debunk the common notion that recessions lead to fewer new start-ups while economic booms encourage them. In fact, according to the study, the number of newly created start-ups remains steady throughout an economic cycle.

The report, authored by Kauffman Senior Analyst Dane Stanler and Senior Fellow Paul Kedrosky, analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau which tracked the annual number of new businesses from 1977 to 2005. The annual totals remain rather consistent, fluctuating by just 3% to 6% each year. (See chart below.) Within a year, the number of people starting new businesses each quarter remains even steadier.
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When you look at the administration's long-term jobs forecasts, the next ten years look eerily like the last ten years. Health care and education jobs continue to grow. Construction comes back. But no industry emerges to take over the most devastated pockets of the US economy.

And this is not good news: The number of individuals starting new businesses in the US fell by 24% in 2008 -- that's twice Spain's collapse and four times worse than the UK.

When I saw this graph about the toll the recession has taken on entrepreneurs, the first thing I thought of was green energy.
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Nearly a century before the Internet brought online learning to college and university life, American philosopher and progressive education champion John Dewey recognized that traditional classrooms often stand in the way of creative learning. Troubled by passive students in regimented rows, Dewey worried that students who accepted the unquestioned authority of teachers not only undermined engaged learning but also thwarted democratic practice in the social and political life of the nation. Instead, Dewey called for a “spirit of free communication, of interchange of ideas,”1 encouraging “active, expressive” learning.2

Taking up ideas suggested by Dewey and others, progressive educators in the 1920s proposed that students learn best by performing real-life activities in collaboration with others. Experiential learning — learning by doing — coupled with problem solving and critical thinking, they claimed, is the key to dynamic knowledge acquisition. Rather than respect for authority, they called for diversity, believing that students must be recognized for their individual talent, interests, and cultural identity.
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Federal Technology WatchCommerce Secretary Gary Locke, who took part in a meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) on Jan.7, cited serious problems with the US innovation system.

“The issues being explored by PCAST are of singular importance for putting Americans back to work in the type of high-wage jobs that can support a family,” he said, “the type of jobs that have unfortunately been disappearing for years.”

“Now, we can talk about all the structural factors that have caused these jobs to disappear; be it global competition, productivity gains, or the recent folly of building an economy on the ephemeral surface of a bubble,” Locke added. “But the deeper problem is an American economy that simply isn’t innovating enough to create advanced new technologies.
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johnnypaycheckTwo years ago, I [Ali Davar] was a young lawyer living in Barbados – my workweeks short, salary high, and life blissful. However, a part-time project I’d started years before with researchers at the University of British Columbia was gathering steam. A large grant from the Canadian government had just come through, the technology prototype was showing promise and the development team was starting to gel. I was confronted with a decision: Should I leave my day job and become an entrepreneur?

As you might have guessed, I did – but it was no easy task translating my business idea into a full-time venture. As entrepreneurs often find, the pieces are rarely in place: You have minimal funding, there are holes in your team and the business has shown little or no traction. Reaching stable ground requires a full-time investment of your intellectual capital and everything else you have to offer.
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Nine Maryland technology startups have received $674,997 from a state-run investment fund designed to transfer work from university and federal government laboratories to the private sector.

The startups are developing a range of medical, diagnostic and software applications, the Maryland Technology Development Corp., which oversees the fund, said Wednesday. Each firm received about $75,000 from Tedco’s Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund to further their work.

Here are the companies receiving funding:
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UK SMEs line up for short-term technology fundingMore than 2,000 UK technology companies have bid for small grants to fund proof of concept projects, in a competition organised by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). As a result more than 180 small and medium-sized companies have won funding to carry out 153 feasibility studies in areas such as advanced materials, biosciences, information technology and nanotechnology.

These are short, sharp cash injections. Each project is receiving up to £25,000 with the work due to be completed within about three months. A further 31 feasibility studies in the field of regenerative medicine will receive up to £100,000 each for studies taking up to six months.
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