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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.

ABC NewsAt age 98, Leopold Hawelka — looking smart in blazer and bow tie — still sits in his famous cafe on most mornings, greeting guests and keeping a close eye on staff from a table near the kitchen.

"This is a real Vienna coffeehouse," says Hawelka, whose establishment in the heart of the Austrian capital attracted world renowned writers and artists for decades.

The Cafe Hawelka, which opened in 1939 and was previously known as the Cafe Ludwig, is perhaps the most storied of the hundreds of coffeehouses in the city where locals and tourists alike can spend hours in a setting that can be a reminder of ages past.
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Innovation EconomyI [Scott Kirsner] spent the past week collecting advice on how not to get hired: what qualified candidates sometimes do that nixes their chances of landing a gig.

And I got way too much good advice to cram into the column in today’s paper.

So I’m collecting ten of my favorite “bonus tips” here, as well as publishing two e-mails directly from the sources: one is from the executive recruiting firm BSG Team Ventures, and the other is from the vice president of human resources at Boston-based CSN Stores.

Ten more things you can do to lose out on that big opportunity:
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Companies FoundedDespite the difficult economic climate, many researchers from ETH Zurich founded a company last year. The university recorded no fewer than 24 new spin-offs in 2009 – the most ever in a single year. Four of them are involved in the “cleantech” industry and deal in environmentally friendly technology.

ETH Zurich can look back with satisfaction on a year with many company foundations. In 2009 the already very high number of 23 new spin-off foundations in 2008 was even exceeded. Of the 24 new firms, ten were established in information and communications technology, three each in electrical and mechanical engineering, and a further three in services. Researchers from ETH Zurich also founded one spin-off each in advanced materials, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, micro- and nanotechnology, and medical devices. The new spin-offs’ range of products include flying robots, injections on the nanometer scale and a method for measuring the melting properties of ice cream.
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Washington PostEntrepreneurs can't build anything without money. And to get it, one of their first stops is often to a venture-capital firm. I wanted to know more about "VCs," so last month I sat in on a pitch meeting at Grotech Ventures, a Fairfax County firm that has invested in more than 100 early-stage information technology start-ups over the last 25 years.

A Grotech pitch meeting works like this: About eight partners who are lawyers, MBAs and financial types sit around a conference table while an entrepreneur "pitches" the business he is starting. If Grotech likes what it hears, it might offer between $500,000 to $5 million to help a business get started or expand.
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The US-based Deshpande Foundation is internationally offering an opportunity for individuals “to create solutions through social innovations and entrepreneurship for some of the top issues that NGOs face in the Sandbox region of Northwestern Karnataka in India. This family Foundation of Gururaj (“Desh”) and Jaishree Deshpande has helped NGOs in developing an international presence and also has promoted innovation for social change.

The 2010 Deshpande Foundation Innovators Challenge is for “An ideal Innovator is a social innovator who is ready to test a product or idea in a development lab setting. The Innovator may be an undergraduate, grad student or a professional who is trying to create an innovation. The application procedure for this exciting program is as follows: interested applicants will choose one of the nine challenges that we have selected for this year and develop a project designed to address this challenge and the cause of it. Your solution can either be a social innovation to be implemented within the non-profit or social entrepreneurship sector. The nine most pressing challenges in the Sandbox region are listed below for you to view.”
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VC Funding 2009A continued lack of liquidity and increasingly bad 10-year track records took a toll for venture capital firms in 2009, leading to far less commitments by limited partners.

Although a few established firms with strong names and a few new firms with star investors had no trouble raising capital, overall VC fund-raising fell 54.6% to $13 billion across 120 funds from the $28.7 billion collected by 204 funds in 2008. It was the slowest year since 2003 for the sector. The data comes from the LP Source database, which like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by Dow Jones. Only capital that was raised in the 2009 calendar year was counted.
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EurActivEuropean policymakers face a difficult choice when authorising new technologies such as GMOs, as they often find themselves caught between conflicting expert safety advice and calls to respect the precautionary principle when scientific evidence is insufficient.
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NEW YORK, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Rockefeller Foundation announced the opening of its 2010 New York City Cultural Innovation Fund competition. The fund, established in 2007, annually awards $2.5 million in grants - ranging between $50,000 and $250,000 - to spur and support cultural innovation in New York City's creative sector, a vital economic engine. Today's announcement comes after a difficult economic year for the industry in which 80 percent of NYC's nonprofit cultural organizations were forced to reduce their budgets and more than half have reduced staff and postponed or canceled programs.

The Rockefeller Foundation also announced today that Edwin Torres has been hired to replace the long serving Joan Shigekawa, who recently left the foundation for a position as Senior Deputy Chair for the National Endowment for the Arts. Torres comes to the Foundation from Parsons the New School for Design where he was Director of external partnerships. Prior to his work at Parsons, Edwin worked at the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Ford Foundation. Torres will oversee the Foundation's Cultural Innovation Fund competition, as well as being responsible for the Foundation's New York City grant making.

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CitiesEconomic Gardening has become a hot topic in economic development circles. The alternative approach, which focuses on nurturing second stage growth companies and growing an economy from within, has caught the attention of many economic developers. Yahoo! has more than 350,000 references to the term and over 700 communities have contacted Littleton, Colo., to learn more about our project.

The relocation of manufacturing plants offshore and the general decline of economic health in parts of the country have reduced the effectiveness of traditional economic “hunting.” Communities are struggling to regain a sense of control over their future, and they see investments in local entrepreneurs as less risky and more certain than continuing to play the high stakes recruiting game.
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BusinessWeekMuch of Apple's success relies on the inspiration CEO Steve Jobs has fostered in employees. Here are seven steps to turn inspiration into innovation

When Apple (AAPL) unveils its iSlate in late January, the tablet computer will be just the latest wowing of the world by the pioneering computer company. With its iPhone, iPod, and MacBook laptops, plus the original Macintosh computer itself (and the "1984" TV commercial that pitched it), Apple's innovation has changed technology—and the people who use it.

Often overlooked in these rollouts, though, has been the inspiration behind the products. How does a man—CEO Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak—foster such an upwelling of inspiration? How does a leader motivate teams in the organization and transform consumers into loyalists? More importantly, how can you foster such inspiration in your organization?
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NVCANew York, January 11, 2009 – US venture capital firms raised $3.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 from 32 funds, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). For full year 2009, venture capital fundraising totaled $15.2 billion from 120 funds, a 47% decline by dollars committed and slowest year for fundraising since 2003. By numbers of funds, fundraising activity in 2009 will mark the slowest annual period since 1993.

"Many venture firms voluntarily stayed out of the fundraising market in 2009, a dynamic that clearly is reflected in the lower volumes,” said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA. “However, most of these firms will not be afforded the luxury of continuing to wait for market conditions to improve in 2010. They will be out in the market raising funds alongside firms that were already scheduled to raise this year. It promises to be a defining period as we will gain a better sense as to what the venture capital industry will resemble in the next decade.    All signs point to a leaner, more capital efficient asset class comprised of firms with proven track records of delivering value to limited partners. Not all firms will make that cut, but the ones that do will be very well positioned to invest.”

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Science FairAlthough research and development has declined nationwide, a number of key industries amped up their innovation investments last year, suggests a new report.

The "2009 Innovation Report" released this week by specialty information firm Thomson Reuters finds that a few firms across 12 industries amped up patent activity in the 41 patent-granting authorities worldwide amid the worst business decline in decades. The computer industry, with more than 226,000 patents worldwide, led the others by far, representing about 29% of all such grants. "Among most active patenting companies in the category were Samsung, Sony/Ericsson, Canon, Toshiba, LG and Seiko Epson," says the report.

Semiconductors, telecommunications and automotive patents came next, each with 12% of the roughly 862,000 global patents analyzed in the report. About 14% of the automotive patents involved alternative energy vehicles, with Toyota filing three times more patents than its closest competitors, General Motors and Honda. In pharmaceuticals, with 8% of all the patents, educational and not-for-profits institutions were the leaders.

Battelle's R&D Magazine reported "substantial declines" in industrial research and development last year, estimated at $389.2 billion, with 44% of research managers surveyed with budgets exceeding $1 billion reporting spending decreases of 5% or more. Still, the magazine projects a slight increase in industrial R&D spending, about a 1.7% increase, in 2010.
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A good approach to predict technology companies’ next move or the emergence of a new industries is to keep an eye on patent trends. Over the last 30 years, the number of patents filed has grown exponentially worldwide. According to IFI Patent Intelligence, in 2008, IBM set a new US record with over 4,000 patents registered in a single year. They were closely followed by Samsung, with about 3,500 patents, while Canon, Microsoft and Intel were distant followers.

In France, and the rest of Europe, once a patent has been filed, the submitted documents for the given patent are available for free and can show you what the most innovative companies are betting on. For instance, if you go to the Web sites of the INPI (Institut national de la propriété industrielle) or the EPO (European Patent Office), you can see that the following patent applications were recently published this January:
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THOMAS L. FRIEDMANC. H. Tung, the first Chinese-appointed chief executive of Hong Kong after the handover in 1997, offered me a three-sentence summary the other day of China’s modern economic history: “China was asleep during the Industrial Revolution. She was just waking during the Information Technology Revolution. She intends to participate fully in the Green Revolution.”

I’ll say. Being in China right now I am more convinced than ever that when historians look back at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, they will say that the most important thing to happen was not the Great Recession, but China’s Green Leap Forward. The Beijing leadership clearly understands that the E.T. — Energy Technology — revolution is both a necessity and an opportunity, and they do not intend to miss it.
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America has the largest economy in the world because of a concept called credit. Christopher Columbus was able to discover the new world (Bahamas) by loans from the Spanish government and Italian investors. The concept of credit can be explained if a person receives money, goods and / or services from another person without paying for their immediate and / or whether the payment is based on a lateragree on the date.

American consumers need credit to make purchases for big houses, cars and emergencies. Since 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, the loan is essential to our everyday lives. In 2007, the U.S. consumer debt reached an estimated total of $ 2.5 billion, where the credit card debt accounted for 36 percent of the total population. On average, consumers about the implementation of $ 10,000 in credit card debt. Entrepreneurs rely on loans to start businesses, which supply us with goods andServices, allowing our economy to grow and increase our standard of living.
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NYTDETROIT — With $6,000 and some Hollywood-style spunk, four friends opened this city’s only independent foreign movie house three months ago in an abandoned school auditorium on an unlighted stretch of the Cass Corridor near downtown.

After the unlikely hoopla of an opening night, red-carpet-style event in an area known for drugs and prostitution, exactly four customers showed up to see a film.
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Lately I [Eric Sheninger] have been pondering about what themes educational leaders should embrace in order to initiate and sustain change. Educators from all corners of the globe have discussed through blogs and Twitter (i.e #edchat) the need for a fundamental shift in how students are instructed and assessed. Although most would agree that the traditional "chalk & talk" and "sage on the stage" are sometimes needed as information dissemination techniques, these types of instruction should not be the focus of lessons. They should support a more authentic form of learning. The common vision of effective instruction now centers around student-centered, authentic learning experiences that properly integrate technology and foster critical thinking skills. Specific pedagogical strategies that come to mind include cooperative, inquiry-based, problem-based, and self-directed learning as well as differentiated instruction, assessment, and supervision. As discussed in “Shift Happens” we need to prepare today’s learners for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Is your school or institution moving in this direction?
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Biz Growth NewsDid you know that despite the fact that more than 58% of Irish graduates are women, women make up less than 5% of the top management of companies and only represent 30% of European entrepreneurs.

Late last year European Commission established a new initiative to highlight and promote women entrepreneurs as a key to economic growth and job creation

The network was officially launched by An Tánaiste and Enterprise Minister Mary Coughlan TD on the 15 December 2009 at the European Commission, European Union House in Dublin.
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