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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.

Obama Education Speech: Innovation, Problem Solving, and Twitter

Look past all the controversy and President Obama's education speech is an evocation of the heart of the American mythology; work hard and you can achieve. The speech is an interesting case study in entrepreneurial role models.

The main thrust of the content is about the fact that while parents, teachers, governments all have a responsibility to help in our education, how we use what we've been given is ultimately a matter of personal responsibility and initiative.

Is the Customer Always Right? Yes, When it Comes to Sustainability.

The world’s leading companies all conduct extensive research to determine what their customers want and how they want it. Whether they hire firms like Synovate or Millward Brown, or do consumer research in-house, companies know the value of crafting products that fit their customers’ needs and desires.

This is why it’s so perplexing that companies don’t do the same when developing substantive sustainability strategies. All too often, companies launch campaigns that are later accused of greenwashing or limit their efforts to indirect efficiency improvements, when it’s their core product that really needs the greening. It turns out that by paying more attention to their customers, companies can unlock solutions for true environmental innovation and get richly rewarded for doing so.

INNOVATION AND CONTINUOUS LEARNING ARE INSEPARABLE

The enormous amount of change requires an almost equal speed in learning. Changes are in so many areas like new technologies, new government guidelines, global markets or social media/networking. Also it is crucial to not only check your competition and your customers, but also noncustomers (if you are interested in creating blue oceans…). Fortunately there is so much knowledge available on or via the internet.

Our recent features include a major report from Jonathan Sallet, Ed Paisley, and Justin Masterman on how the federal government can support innovation clusters. As well, Ruth Faden and Jonathan Moreno describe the ethical imperative for healthcare reform; Ricardo Rossello explains new possibilities for flu vaccines; and Eli Adashi argues that in spite of recent controversies over in vitro fertilization, we should not lose sight of the pioneering research that has helped millions of infertile couples.

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Gartner: Innovation marching on — McKinsey Top 10 Trends and what they mean for IT

McKinsey points out that while corporate R&D and new ventures have taken a hit in the downturn, the opportunities or “head room” remains for innovation. McKinsey recommends companies protect their R&D investments paying for innovation with operational efficiencies, cost cutting and, if necessary, consolidating R&D facilities and programs.

In describing this trend, McKinsey points out that companies benefit from countercyclical investments in innovation, as they tend to have the products, services and operations to outpace their competitors when economic conditions improve. Critics will see pointing out the need for innovation as obvious as market dynamics, the level of competition and customer choice require constant change.

WSJ: The Daily Start-Up: Emily Melton Moves Up On Sand Hill Road

Moving Down The Street- Emily Melton toiled for nine years at venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, investing in a bunch of Internet start-ups like Meebo Inc. and MyShape Inc. But she never reached partner status. Now, with DFJ downsizing expectations for its newest fund, Melton gets that chance at rival firm Mayfield Fund, which has seen three of its managing directors scale back their roles, VentureWire reports. Melton, 32, gives the Mayfield team a little bit of youth, writes the Bits blog. She’ll have an easy move, considering Mayfield is right down the street from DFJ on Sand Hill Road.

Middle East Entrepreneur Training Inspires Next Generation of Business Leaders

As part of this plan, the President offered several critical areas where we can build partnerships: women’s empowerment, education, technology, and health, to name a few. I want to highlight an especially important topic that I was excited to hear the President address in Cairo: The vital role that entrepreneurship plays in supporting economic development and opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Science Progress: The Geography of Innovation

Innovation is the critical component of long-term economic prosperity, driving productivity growth and (if spread across key sectors of the economy) ensuring broad-based economic growth. Sparking innovation, however, requires capital (which is threatened by the current economic downturn), skilled-labor, scientific and technological advances, and creative collaboration between government and the private sector. Innovation cannot be dictated, but it can be cultivated.