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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.

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We know that different cultures prefer different leadership styles. Now new research shows how different countries favour certain character traits at work.

If you’re a straight-shooter who likes to tell it as it is, you might fit in well in the Netherlands where employees like their bosses to be direct. On the other hand, if you’re a more diplomatic leader who always wants to keep business conversations affable, you might do better running teams in New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, and much of Latin America.

Image: A look at how six major leadership styles fit with working cultures in different geographical locations. Image: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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words

Contrary to the widely held belief that brainstorming sessions should be a time only of "yes, and" — that is, a time free of any criticism or judgment — the most innovative ideas are typically developed through pushback and constructive criticism.

That does not, however, mean "yes, but" should be the mantra of an innovation department. According to the Harvard Business Review, organizations should turn instead to "yes, but, and," for a combination of criticism and ideation that will lead to stronger ideas based not on compromise but on creativity and true collaboration.

 

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questions

The newest version of the opportunity zones program was supposed to be a game-changer for venture capital.

In April, the IRS released updated rules for the program, which clarified how operating businesses can qualify for opportunity zone benefits. The new guidelines seemed to indicate that start-ups made the cut. That was supposed to unleash a flurry of activity from venture capital firms and start-ups to join the fun the real estate industry was having. 

 

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If you've ever wanted to find out how you'll look in, say, 40 years, you can do it on a controversial app that's going viral, FaceApp.

FaceApp is an AI-powered photo editing app that can make you look like an elderly person, a kid, or it can even swap your gender (but beware, the Russian app apparently collects your data, keeping your photos for ads and other purposes).

Image: FaceApp's old age filter. FaceApp

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handshake

We all have professional idols we’d like to meet. Sometimes we might luck into getting to say hello at a conference or having a mutual friend who can introduce us. But often, despite our suspicions that we have a lot in common with and could even be friends with our heroes, they remain out of reach.

 

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Tucked away in this year’s motley special session package at the Legislature was a bill authorizing the creation of Launch Minnesota, a $5 million public-private program to grow the state’s innovation economy.

Amid partisan sniping over proposed increases to public education funding and the state gas tax, Launch Minnesota’s relatively modest investment drew low-key support from both sides of the aisle, emerging from the legislative gantlet with the broad strokes of Gov. Tim Walz’s original proposal intact — albeit with a slimmer budget.

Image: This past February, the University of Minnesota announced the formal launch of a startup incubator designed to help companies based on university research succeed in bringing their discoveries beyond the lab and into the marketplace. It’s one of a number of business incubators that have set up shop in recent years. (Submitted photo: University of Minnesota) 

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review

Back when I was a young PM, one of my managers altered the trajectory of my career. It was my second year at Airbnb. I was doing okay, but not great. My new manager, Vlad Loktev, had taken over, just as the project I was overseeing had gotten delayed by weeks. He wasn’t impressed. Although he helped me get it back on track, and we got it out the door, I knew that when performance review season rolled around, it was going to be rough.

 

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It was a big opportunity for a small research university. In 2013, Xin Zhao, a prize-winning Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary, landed venture funding to commercialize some of the school’s patented nanotechnology. Zhao’s startup rented space nearby, hired local graduates and agreed to fund $1 million of new research at the Williamsburg, Virginia, campus.

Image: Applied Physicist Xin Zhao sits for a photograph at his home office in North Potomac, Maryland, on June 15. Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg

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David K. Williams

Many of the entrepreneurs I know have preconceived ideas about how innovation happens and how a business begins. They have visions of pondering, reading books from the biggest authorities and dreaming about glimmering exits until the great white moment of inspiration begins.

 

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dartboard

The words outcome-oriented are written on an old whiteboard in Guru’s Philadelphia office, inscribed so long ago that the ink can no longer be erased from the board. That’s exactly how co-founder and CEO Rick Nucci regards the company tenet: It’s inextricable from a startup that’s laser-focused on relentlessly delivering outcomes.

Of course, Guru isn’t the only startup that claims to be “results-driven” or “obsessed” when it comes to its customers. But Nucci takes this concept and kicks it into high gear. He and his team at Guru, which develops internal knowledge-sharing platforms for teams, are determined to build a product that proves its value to users.

 

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independent

The talent game for big employers is changing. In the past, organizations, and particularly professional service firms, could point to the door and remind any grumbling employees that it was cold out there. Today that threat might not have the same impact, as many high flyers themselves are choosing to walk out. While firms have traditionally competed with each other for talent, now they are competing with another alternative: going independent.

 

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