Innovation America Innovation America Accelerating the growth of the GLOBAL entrepreneurial innovation economy
Founded by Rich Bendis

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.

Henrik Fisker doesn't obsess over door handles. He doesn't focus-group his designs with soccer moms or hire a layer of vice presidents to insulate him from the day-to-day functioning of his company. Instead, Fisker--former head designer for BMW, Aston Martin and Ford--broke away from the giant automakers and their way of doing business to create a streamlined, cutting-edge carmaker based in Irvine, Calif.

Fisker Automotive has only 50 people on the payroll--versus tens of thousands for other carmakers--with most of the workload outsourced to 80 suppliers around the world and final assembly in the same Finnish plant where the Porsche Boxster is made. This coming summer, after less than three years in development, the company's first car will roll off the line: A jazzy, plug-in hybrid sports car called the Karma.
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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced more than $18 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support small business innovation research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies.  In this first phase of funding, 125 grants of up to $150,000 each will be awarded to 107 small advanced technology firms across the U.S.

"Small businesses are drivers of innovation and are crucial to the development of a competitive clean energy U.S. economy," said Chu. "These investments will help ensure small businesses are able to compete in the clean energy economy, creating jobs and developing new technologies to help decrease carbon pollution and increase energy efficiency.


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HBPA recent Economic Times story detailed IBM's new "spoken Web" technology, which will allow users to browse the Internet and access information by speaking in their local language without having to type or otherwise use the computer keyboard. An IBM India lab is currently developing the technology and performing real-world tests with rural dairy farmers in India. The idea is that if IBM can remove barriers to accessing its enterprise resource planning technology, Big Blue may be able to unlock a large market selling ERP software to companies that source dairy and other foodstuffs from rural Indian farmers.

This sounds like a technology problem. After all, using technology to create the opportunity to sell to nonconsumers — that is, people who have been totally shut out of a market — is a classic way to build substantial new growth. But in reality, this is a business challenge.
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Kauffman(KANSAS CITY, Mo.), Nov. 19, 2009 – As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 16 – 22), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) today unveiled the first indications of how the economic slump has impacted entrepreneurship in the United States and 11 other countries in 2008 and most of 2009. The report, Timely Entrepreneurship Indicators, shows that firm formation declined and exits increased, which economists say could have significant implications for job creation.

"Our research shows that new and young firms have been the primary source of new jobs in the United States over the past three decades," said Robert Litan, vice president of Research & Policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which funded the study. "While business exits are a normal part of a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem, this study shows a concurrent increase in exits and decrease in formation throughout OECD countries as a whole. This should send a giant red flag to policymakers around the globe to pull out all the stops to encourage and support business startups so we can create new jobs and sustain a worldwide economic recover y."
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ITIFRising Tigers, Sleeping Giant:
Asian Nations Set to Dominate the Clean Energy Race by Out-Investing the United States

Developing better and cheaper clean energy technology will be central to addressing climate change, securing U.S. energy independence and to the creation of new clean energy jobs. Increasingly, nations are seeking to gain competitive advantage in this rapidly growing, high-technology sector and the stakes for the U.S. are significant: will the U.S. largely be an importer of these clean technologies, and lose the jobs related to them, or can the U.S. emerge as a global leader, driving exports and high-wage jobs?

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Athena AllianceAs I've [Ken Jarboe] mentioned before, there is talk in Washington about a new jobs bill and possibly a new look at innovation policies. Should there be a new round of policy initiatives, here are a few suggestions (many of which I've discussed in the past).

Review and implement the America COMPETES Act. Parts of the Act were never implemented. Two parts specifically should be implemented immediately:
• convene the President's Council on Innovation and Competitiveness as a mechanism to highlight Cabinet-level attention to innovation and coordinate government action
• fund the study of how the federal government could support research and teaching related to the services industries and service functions in the manufacturing sector.
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ForbesJerry Hultin 10.29.09, 4:45 PM ET

Currency by the trillions is flowing from governments to keep the global economy from spiraling into depression. But wise world leaders are looking beyond short-term stimulus plans to investments in technology that can grow their economies and generate more high-paying jobs.

These investments bequeath our grandchildren a valuable infrastructure: Inexpensive medical devices that vastly improve health, bio-materials that replace petroleum and urban infrastructure that addresses the challenges of more than half the world's population.

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EDMONTON, AB, Nov. 22, 2009/ Troy Media/ — When you think about the great technology centers of the world, Edmonton, Alberta, probably doesn’t spring to mind. Yet, a small cadre of dedicated and talented people are determined to put that city on the scientific map by building an advanced business incubator for biotechnology, energy, medical, and transportation research, development, and manufacturing.

Edmonton Research Park (ERP) is 88 acres of brainpower: A division of Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, it sits on a spacious and beautifully designed campus in South Edmonton. More than 1,500 people from some 55 companies work there.
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Sheetal MehtaSheetal Mehta, founder of Innovative Social Ventures, has won many awards such as: Asian Women of Achievement; was listed in the 35 under 35 of Management Today and awarded for her Public Services this year at the Jewel Awards. She has just launched Shanti Microfinance which takes technology and microfinance to entrepreneurs in slums in India. Here, she talks to The NextWomen about her experiences in business and microfinance:

Tell us about yourself and your experiences in business?

I am a Canadian who has lived in the United Arab Emirites, San Francisco and the UK. I have a background in technology and venture capital – I initially started my career in banking in the Middle East and later went on to join Microsoft Corporation where I set up their Venture Capital Strategy. Later, I expanded that initiative into EMEA.
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I [Jeffrey Phillips] love those truisms that people use to describe a situation. Strangely they are usually based on obvious failures, but perhaps it's simply easier to teach people based on failure than success. Some relatively well-known truisms include:

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink
You can't push a string uphill
Time waits for no man

I'd like to add one about innovation. While we like to say that everyone can innovate, its probably also safe to say that

You can't force a disinterested person to innovate
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TechHuiHTDC started working on this document in anticipation of the State's need to have a coherent implementation plan for establishing Hawaii's innovation economy last year. This document evolved as we also accommodated the needs of other economic development practitioners and industry members hungry to find out about other states' best practices as well as their need to have all the recent Hawaii studies and publications and their recommendations related to the innovation sector in one place.

The draft of this document has already aided the EPSCoR subcommittee tasked with coming up with a framework for a State tech plan, and this version has been submitted to a newly organized "tech coalition work group" by some members of the legislature who wanted to reach out to the industry to provide a constructive venue to hold discussions for best practices to plant the seeds for the innovation sectors prior to January 2010.
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NYTPresident Obama’s visit to China this week inevitably invites comparisons between the world’s two leading powers. You know what they say: Britain owned the 19th century, America owned the 20th century, and, it’s all but certain that China will own the 21st century. Maybe, but I’m not ready to cede the 21st century to China just yet.

Why not? It has to do with the fact that we are moving into a hyperintegrated world in which all aspects of production — raw materials, design, manufacturing, distribution, fulfillment, financing and branding — have become commodities that can be accessed from anywhere by anyone. But there are still two really important things that can’t be commoditized. Fortunately, America still has one of them: imagination.
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NYTTo improve science and mathematics education for American children, the White House is recruiting Elmo and Big Bird, video game programmers and thousands of scientists.

President Obama will announce a campaign Monday to enlist companies and nonprofit groups to spend money, time and volunteer effort to encourage students, especially in middle and high school, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math, officials say.
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NYTYARMOUTH, Mass. — Dave Lamoureux’s kayak, named Fortitude, must be the only one in Massachusetts registered as a motor vessel. That’s because a powerboat registration is required to get a permit to fish for tuna here.

Apparently, it never occurred to the authorities that someone might be crazy enough to want to catch a bluefin while sitting in what amounts to a floating plastic chair and enjoying what Melville called a “Nantucket sleigh ride.”

Bendis is also a kayaker and states that this is "crazy innovation!"
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WSJIf an educated work force is the nation's human capital, business is seeing a lot of subprime these days.

Graduation rates are dismal in many school districts. Teachers are bailing out of the profession. Parents are frantic at the lack of options. Chancellors are clashing with unions. And student performance pales next to the competition abroad. Business often can't find the talent it needs in the work force that our education system produces.

The CEO Council considered a range of remedies. John Bussey, chief of the Journal's Washington bureau, moderated discussions by the education task-force as it considered what five priorities to recommend. Here are edited excerpts of those discussions.
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EntovationOur Network continues to grow in substance and scope...

In the meantime, take the opportunity to welcome 13 new E100 from 10 countries added to our Global Knowledge Leadership Map – now representing 190 from 67 countries! Take a look at their capabilities and aspirations to see how they dovetail with your own.

Richard Bendis (USA) is Founder of Innovation America - He serves as a Senior Fellow with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and on committees, such as The White House, the National Governor’s Association (NGA), the National Academies (NAS), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Council on Competitiveness.
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Nov 19, 2009 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- SBCOE | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Melissa Bean joined Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Small Business Administrator Karen Mills at a Small Business Financing Forum today to discuss methods for improving small business access to credit.

"Many small businesses' credit lines have been reduced or eliminated over the last year, leaving businesses struggling to access affordable capital to fund business growth," Bean said. "Small businesses drive roughly 80 percent of job creation in the country, so I appreciate the Administration's efforts to think outside the box to explore new ideas for increasing credit access as we strive towards economic recovery."


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Curtis R. Nelson Shares 30 Years of Business Experience—Simplifying the Keys to Growing Any Business, Complete with Personalized Score Card

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA—NOVEMBER 18, 2009—Entrepreneurs to seasoned business executives are the target for Curtis R. Nelson’s new book, The Recipe for Business Success. The book, now available online at, is a compilation of decades of proven business practice and theory into one, easy-to-follow “Recipe.” Filled with real-world stories that drive home the learning experience, The Recipe is designed to be a strategic analysis tool, applicable to the start-up or the Fortune 500® board room.

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BWFrom Barcelona to Seoul, urban science parks are being built to lure the best minds and the industries of tomorrow

In its heyday decades ago, Olivetti employed nearly 3,000 workers in a hardscrabble section of Barcelona making typewriters. Drop into the former factory today, and you'll likely find young professionals perched on comfy foam couches talking business in a mix of languages amid brightly painted walls and exposed wooden beams. Glass-enclosed conference rooms are filled with students taking seminars on how to write business plans or develop marketing campaigns. Tacked to a bulletin board next to the canteen are news reports about the latest venture to snag investors.

Reopened three years ago as a high-tech business incubator, the four-story concrete-and-glass structure now hosts 55 startups creating everything from bike helmets with built-in air bags to an online audio-search service that some analysts think might be "the Google (GOOG) of music." The converted factory also houses the home office of 22@Barcelona, which oversees a sprawling science park of university campuses, research institutes, and corporate labs that boosters hope will turn the Mediterranean city into one of the world's great creative hubs.
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