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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.

Peoples DailyChina and the United States highly value the fruitful scientific and technological results achieved in the past three decades, and agreed to start dialogue on aviation and railway cooperation, said a joint statement issued after talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting U.S. President Barack Obama in Beijing on Tuesday.

"The two sides applauded the rich achievements in scientific and technological cooperation and exchanges between the two countries over the past 30 years since the signing of the China-U.S. Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology," said the statement.
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DOTWASHINGTON – On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Small Business Administrator Karen G. Mills will convene a forum on small business financing issues for a range of key stakeholders including policymakers, lenders, and small business owners to explore new ideas and strategies for expanding access to financing for small businesses. The event, which the President called for last month, is part of a larger effort to help small businesses grow, create new jobs, and contribute to our economic recovery and to challenge the private sector to increase lending to small businesses.

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NYTGARY LOCKE, the secretary of commerce, has urged Congress to overhaul the nation’s patent law by the end of the year. Although a bill has been circulating since 2005, a fierce fight involving the high-tech and drug industries on a technical issue — how to measure damages when a company violates a patent applying to one component of a larger product — has kept it from reaching a vote.

The best way forward is for Congress to sidestep the damages question and instead add five amendments to existing statutes that would improve the processing of patents, reduce lawsuits and speed up the arrival of innovations on the market.


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Does your organisation have an effective employee suggestions scheme? An increasing number of organisations in the both private and public sectors are finding that they can drive innovation and reduce cost by moving their suggestion box from the office wall to the intranet.

Siemens Automation and Drives is a good example. They employ 400 people in Congleton, Cheshire making electric motor drives. Their scheme is called Ideas Unlimited and it generates over 4000 suggestions per year of which some 3000 are implemented. The total savings are around $1.5m per year. Howard Ball administers the scheme part-time. The key is simplicity he explained when he addressed the national conference of ideasUK, a non-commercial association dedicated to employee suggestion schemes and recognition processes.

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Having people ask to "pick your brain" can be the ultimate compliment to an entrepreneur. It makes us feel like we're experts in something, or that we've been successful enough at something that someone values our thoughts. But brain picking comes in many shapes and colors. Some brain pickers (BPs) are just looking for inspiration; talking with you stirs their own ideas. Others want resources--money, contacts, insider knowledge that will help them with their endeavors. None of these are inherently bad, but none of them are good if you aren't getting something out of the sharing.

I used to love it when people asked to pick my brain, especially early into the business. I might not have been drawing a paycheck, but by golly! Someone wanted to talk to me about something. It was a small sign of traction.

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BWFareed Zakaria wrote an excellent book, The Post American World: The Rise of the Rest, in which he said the relative decline of the US was due to political, not economic problems. As someone who’s covered the global economy for decades, and as an old Political Science major, the argument never satisfied. Fareed was right about the delta—the direction of decline, but wrong about the cause. It was economic, as well as political.

Now Fareed is saying what we conceed to be increasingly true—the US is losing its edge in innovation. And with that loss, comes the loss of geopolitical clout. President Obama’s trip to China is about soothing our banker, not pressuring for civil rights.

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Ghana’s cultural policy is to be reviewed soon to give it a clear sense of direction, says Chieftaincy and Culture Minister, Alexander Asum-Ahensah. “The time has come to give the cultural sector a new direction that will take into account a policy guideline to enhance the capacity of the creative industries and their goods and services,” he said.

The minister stated this in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the ministry, Ms Lillian Bruce-Lyle, at a workshop organized by the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI) in Accra last Friday. The workshop on the theme, ‘Revision of cultural policy’ which reviewed the country’s cultural policy was organized in collaboration with the Business Advocacy Challenge Account (BUSAC) fund.

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Only a slight breeze blew across the plains of Inner Mongolia on a recent afternoon, but the giant turbines at the Huitengxile Wind Power Field were spinning steadily. This facility, 200 miles northwest of Beijing, has 550 turbines churning out enough juice to power a small city, and inside a monitoring station, plant manager Zhang Jianjun points to a wall chart showing the 11 different suppliers of the high-tech windmills. Four are Chinese companies, but when Zhang is asked to pick his favorite, his nationalism is trumped by a desire for quality. "General Electric," he says, citing its reliability. "I'm excited when all of the turbines are working."

GE's roots lie in Thomas Edison's Menlo Park lab, the site of some of the most significant innovation in our history. Today millions of Edison's spiritual descendants—engineers, geneticists, programmers, entrepreneurs—are toiling in basic research across the country. But amid a profound economic slowdown, Americans have real doubts about their ability to maintain their edge in innovation, even as they agree that technological innovation is more important than ever.

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If the past week is any indication, big pharma is showing that it is willing to pay for biotech innovation. On the receiving end this week, Alder Biopharmaceuticals stands to reap more than $1 billion from collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development and commercialization of ALD518, a novel biologic that has completed phase 2a development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Bothell, Washington-based Alder is granting Bristol-Myers Squibb worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize ALD518 for all potential indications except cancer, for which Alder will retain rights and grant Bristol-Myers Squibb an option to co-develop and commercialize outside the United States. In return, Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay Alder an upfront cash payment of $85 million, potential development-based and regulatory-based milestone payments of up to $764 million across a range of indications, and potential sales-based milestones that may exceed $200 million and royalties on net sales. Alder also has an option to require Bristol-Myers Squibb to make an equity investment of up to $20 million in Alder during an initial public offering.

In another antibody deal, Sanofi-Aventis expanded its global collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to discover, develop, and commercialize fully-human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. The expanded partnership adds five years and at least $800 million to the existing deal. Under the revised partnership agreement Sanofi-aventis will increase its annual funding commitment from $100 million to $160 million beginning in 2010, and the research funding will now extend through 2017. The companies aim to advance an average of four to five antibodies into clinical development each year. In addition to its VelocImmune technology, Regeneron will contribute to the collaboration its next generation technologies related to antibody generation. Sanofi-aventis also has an option to extend the discovery program for up to an additional three years for further antibody development and preclinical activities.

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Many first time entrepreneurs may not fully understand how a venture capital fund works and consequently may not fully relate to how VC’s function. This post makes an attempt to provide a generic overview of how a VC fund functions and what it implies for entrepreneurs.

To start with, it would help to understand similarities between VC’s and entrepreneurs. Just as entrepreneurs go through the cycles of opportunity, business plan, fund raising and eventual exit through IPO or M&A, VC’s also follow a similar cycle. VC’s identify the opportunity space in which they want to play and then develop a business plan. The business plan would broadly cover capital deployment strategies, time-frame for investing/exit, types of opportunities that would be considered for investing as well as target returns at the fund level. With this business plan, VC’s approach a set of qualified investors for raising the required funds for starting the VC fund. This fund raising effort is an intense and time consuming effort and closure can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months depending on the size of the fund, team, past track record, nature of opportunities etc. Just as VC’s perform due diligence on the opportunities, prospective investors who are considering investing into the VC fund also perform detailed diligence on VC’s.

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Lenexa-based Rush Tracking Systems has been acquired by Pharos Capital Group, a private equity firm based in Nashville and Dallas, the companies said Monday.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies said the deal includes a capital investment that will allow Rush, which specializes in outfitting warehouses with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, to grow at an accelerated pace.

Rush president and founder Toby Rush said the 100 percent buyout meant company founders and investors “made out very well.”

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U.S. private equity returned 4.3% for the second quarter, its best quarterly return since the fourth quarter of 2007, and 1.1% for the six months ended June 30, while venture capital offered a 0.2% return for the second quarter but lost 2.6% for the same six-month period, according to Cambridge Associates.

Private equity managers called more capital than they returned as profits to investors in the second quarter. Private equity mangers called about $7.4 billion, $1.1 billion more than the first quarter.
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A quick tour of the state of cultural policy in the English speaking world. The UK creative industry movement proves that the power of the creative economy can only be achieved through coordinated local, national and international cultural policy initiatives. So what’s going on in the creative industry policy world? Who is succeeding and who is failing?

John Brown argues in the Huffington Post to turn the US Department of Defense into the American Ministry of Culture. Many would argue that is already the case but he does offer some interesting ideas on what could possibly happen if that change were to occur.
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Silicon AlleyApple brought Steve Jobs back to the company in December 1996. Since then, he's been building a massive pile of cash, rolling out new product after new product.

On December 27th, 1996, Apple had $1.8 billion in cash and securities. Today it has $34 billion.


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Dear Friend,

On behalf of the White House, we’d like to invite you to a conference call on Monday, November 16th at 12:30pm EST with Administration leadership regarding small businesses and the H1N1 virus.

On the call will be Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alexander Garza and the Centers for Disease Control H1N1 Incident Commander and Director of Influenza Coordination Unit Dr. Stephen Redd.

There will be a brief question and answer session at the end of the call. This call is not intended for press purposes. Please feel free to pass this invitation on to other individuals or organizations that you think would be interested in being on the call.


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AUGUSTA, Maine - The Department of Economic and Community Development's (DECD) Office of Innovation is presenting phase two of the State’s Science and Technology Action Plan at the Creative Economy Conference, Juice 2.0.

"Maine's economy is facing global competition and we need to compete through innovation," said DECD Commissioner John Richardson. "Much of the research in Maine is not being commercialized or connected to our industries in a way that maximizes economic value to the state. This Action Plan is a bold approach to stimulate Maine's economy and will encourage investments in innovation, R&D and entrepreneurship."

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BWTwo of the initiative's proponents make the case for why it pays to encourage entrepreneurship among young people around the globe

Adam Farrell founded a solar technology business when he was just 15 years old. His entrepreneurial career started in ninth grade while working on a science project designing a solar-powered house.Surprised by the costs of the photovoltaic technology his team needed, Farrell realized there was an untapped market for smaller cells.Farrell has since expanded his business, Silicon Solar, turning it into a major research and development firm and one of the largest suppliers of solar energy technology in the world.

Elon Musk, one of the key founders of PayPal (EBAY), made hundreds of millions of dollars in his early 20s. Not satisfied with mere riches, Musk decided to aim for immortality by going on to start Tesla Motors, the sexy electric car startup, and Space Exploration Technologies, one of the most advanced private sector efforts to date to create a cheap and accessible space launch capability.


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NewsWeekChina has launched a concerted effort to bring home top talent from the United States.

For nearly 15 years, china has been trying to engineer a "brain gain" by luring top scientific and technical talent home from the United States, and it's working. One major success story is the National Institute for Biological Sciences, created in 2003 with several advantages. Freed from the fundraising pressures of the U.S.—and from the often mindless red tape of traditional state-run Chinese institutions—researchers there say their lab environment, financed by the Chinese government, trumps what they could expect in America. They know from experience, since all 23 were educated in the U.S. In 2005 Dr. Feng Shao, 37, left Harvard Medical School to return to China after receiving a more generous deal from NIBS, where he now studies bacterial pathogens in a top-class lab, with a $300,000 annual budget. He says that in the U.S., "I might have a lab with just a few students and technicians. Here I have 16 or 17." The bottom line, says Shao, is that while his team has published six scientific papers since 2005, "elsewhere I might have done just two."

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NewsweekInnovation is as American as baseball and apple pie. But some traditions can't be trademarked.

By most measures, America remains the world leader in technological achievement. Consider the 2009 Nobel Prizes: of the 13 people honored, nine were American. Once you take out the economics, literature, and peace prizes, the United States, with 5 percent of the world's population, still won close to 70 percent of the awards. Even amid a terrible recession, the country still dominates the fields of information technology, life sciences, and nanotechnology, all key industries of the future. The World Economic Forum routinely cites America as having the most competitive economy on the planet (though this year it was narrowly overtaken by Switzerland). When decision makers are asked to rank countries on innovation, the United States always comes first by a large margin.
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