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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.

A dedicated business support project is to help over 90 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in North East England weather the economic downturn and prepare for recovery over the next two years.

The £1.2m project, ‘Innovation, Advice and Guidance – Developing SME Expertise’, will put in place a matching service and public subsidy to give SMEs and social enterprises access to expert advisors to help develop new products, processes and services.

It will also help regional companies retain their skilled staff with a view to driving forward a new phase of economic growth once the recession is over.

 

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One of the area’s economic-growth engines is faltering.

The process of turning discoveries by researchers at area universities into commercial products and services is being hampered by a lack of funding, according to people familiar with it.

“There is an enormous amount of innovation in the Delaware Valley in all sectors of science and business models, but the early-stage financing capability is drying up,” said David Freschman, founder and manager of Innovation Ventures, an early-stage venture-capital firm based in Wilmington.

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Nine in ten companies, globally, consider innovation as critical to preparing for the upturn. And despite the recession, the world's leading corporate innovators increased research and development spending in 2008, says a study.

Dr Hatem Samman, Director, Ideation Centre, Booz & Company's think tank in the Middle East, told Emirates Business: "Innovation is not a choice, it is imperative as it is the way forward. Innovation is important not just for companies but also for countries and individuals. Where will we be without it? It is especially important for companies as it helps them increase their market share, boosts growth and increases prosperity. For example, let's take the example of computers, one of the great innovations of our times.

 

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$15 billion. That is the figure at the heart of a growing consensus of energy innovation experts, all calling for dramatically larger U.S. investment in clean energy research and development. As Congress debates energy and climate change legislation, a chorus of leading voices from business, policy and research communities have converged on a $15 billion increase in annual U.S. energy R&D budgets as a critical component of any final legislation.

Testifying before Congress this week, Google’s Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives stressed that it “is essential that Congress address” what he characterized as a “serious energy R&D short-fall” by including “$15 billion per year in federal energy R&D spending in final climate legislation.”

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BOOK REVIEW: The very recently published book Innovation: The Key to Prosperity - Technology and America's Role in the 21st Century Global Economy by Aris Melissaratos and N.L. Slabbert is quite the interesting and nugget packed book. Taken aback, this Blogger was, by the advocacy of MagLev train technology as a means to spark a transport revolution in America at the start of the book.

Maybe it was from the experience riding the Shanghi MagLev the past July; or, perhaps, it is my SiFi-thing of utilization of MagLev trains on the Moon to boost payload to orbit, I don't know. But this Blogger was impressed by the notion that MagLev technology should be pushed by the nation as a new alternative for rapid transport.
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As reported to you on Oct 26, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) were able to get the Senate to pass S. 1929 that extends SBIR/STTR for all agencies (except DoD which was handled separately) for 6 months, expiring on April 30, 2010. The bill was then sent to the House for a vote.

Naturally, Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chair of the House Small Business Committee (SBC), didn't see eye to eye with the Senate, so she amended the bill by changing 6 months to 3 with an expiration date of January 31, 2010. With the short leash of the current October 31, 2009 expiration, and the fact that the House will not meet on Friday, the Senate will concur with the amendment and the President will sign this new Continuing Resolution (CR).

Bottom line, the SBIR/STTR programs will be extended through January 31, 2010, except for the DoD which was addressed separately by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and run through September 30, 2010.

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This may be the best time in years for an investor to become an angel. But that doesn't mean you should rush out to get yourself fitted for wings and a halo.

An angel investor is anyone who privately provides capital to a promising business, often a start-up, that isn't run by a friend or family member. Scott Shane, an economist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, estimates that the U.S. has at least 140,000 active angels who collectively invest some $20 billion a year in new businesses.

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The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) has signed an agreement with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), establishing the 'Department of Economic Development Dean of Entrepreneurship'.

The agreement was signed in Abu Dhabi by HE Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology and HE Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The three year commitment by DED is to sponsor a Dean of Entrepreneurship who will be responsible for the HCT Executive MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. This unique program was developed in close cooperation with MIT Entrepreneurship Center. The HCT EMBA program features the best professors from leading institutions around the world including Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

 

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Data on third-quarter venture capital shows that green-technology companies are attracting dollars from both investors and government programs.

Ernst & Young on Thursday said that venture investing in green tech rose 46 percent compared to the prior quarter to total $965 million in 50 deals. Solar, auto, green buildings, and biofuels continue to be fast-growing segments within the overall category, according to the Ernst & Young analysis of data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

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A POPULAR children’s song has a refrain — “the more we get together the happier we’ll be” — that may sound like a simplistic formula for solving the complex challenges of climate change and sustainability. But if any area is ripe for sharing and collaboration among organizations, it’s green innovation.

“We all want to save the planet, and the problems are bigger than any one firm, sector or country,” says Dr. Sarah Slaughter, coordinator of the M.I.T. Sloan Sustainability Initiative. In that spirit, several major corporations have taken inspiration from the open-source software movement and are experimenting with forums for sharing environmentally friendly innovations and building communities around them. The first such effort, the Eco-Patent Commons, was started in January 2008 by I.B.M., Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president, yesterday pledged to promote entrepreneurship and education reform as part of his push to raise economic growth to 7 per cent by the end of his term in 2014.

Speaking after being sworn in for a second term last week , Mr Yudhoyono also promised to streamline government bureaucracy. He said successful implementation of his plans would reduce unemployment to 6 per cent from 8 per cent. His efforts would lower the poverty level to as low as 8 per cent from 14 per cent.

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There is an assumption in many organisations that focusing on innovation processes is a kind of industrialisation of innovation, that with the right processes, then you don’t need to worry about employing genuinely innovative people, anyone can and will be successful within a great process.

And it’s true, up to a point: especially when the focus is upon optimising existing products and services. But when the environment changes radically, then the issue of having the right people to innovate becomes important.

I have noticed that innovation consultancies tend to focus upon time-intensive innovation process consultation with a few useful techniques thrown in. This is because whilst they help to focus attention on developing a shared understanding of an agreed approach to turning an invention into an innovation, and on the need to understand customers’ needs, such consulting enables at least 5 additional benefits:

 

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