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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.

Groundbreaking ideas rarely make money without patience, passion and relentlessness. "I've been a pain in the butt, believe me," said Michael Wielgat, a Chicago firefighter and inventor of the "Hero Pipe."

Four years and tens of thousands of dollars ago, Wielgat began working on a device that enables fire crews to fight flames in high-rises from one level below. Hero Pipe is now drawing interest from the Department of Homeland Security, and last week Wielgat was recognized as a visionary during the 8th annual Chicago Innovation Awards.

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Last month FTW sat down and talked with Jean- Daniel Tordjman, who is Ambassador for France’s Competitive Clusters. This is an unusual title and Tordjman brings to the job a unique combination of skills that includes a long government career and involvement in international trade and investment. Tordjman visited Washington DC for the Council on Competitiveness’ National Energy Summit and International Dialogue, where he was enthusiastic about the use of nanotechnology in the manufacture of solar energy components. He twice served in the French Embassy in Washington; as commercial attache (1971-75) and as a minister (1985-92).

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U.S Still Leads the World in Innovation, Despite Economic Crisis; America Also Strong on Personal Freedom and Community Life, Finds Legatum Prosperity Index Finland is the Most Prosperous Nation Overall, While the United States, Ranked 9th, is the Top-Performing Large Nation. Poor Performance on Health Drags the U.S. Down

LONDON, October 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The third edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, published today, ranks 104 countries (covering 90% of the world's population), based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth together with measures of happiness and quality of life. Finland tops the Index, with the U.S. ranking ninth out of 104 countries in the Index, ahead of large European nations such as Britain, Germany and France, which all still make the top 20. Finland is narrowly ahead of Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark; Zimbabwe ranks last, following Yemen and Sudan.

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Innovation, by definition, means doing things differently and exploring new opportunities. It is a reference to both radical and incremental change. Innovation becomes the key driver of the economy, encompassing growth, competitive advantage and productivity. Contemporaneously, organisations have been challenged to satisfy customer requirements and provide competitive products while facing exponentially escalating costs. Innovation appears to hold the key. Innovation systems, management and applications are now regarded as interrelated critical areas of study in most schools of business, economics, engineering, social education, environment, and policy construction. There are, therefore, a wide range of theoretical frameworks and models to conceptualise innovation as well as a wide range of approaches to applications of innovation. While there are many successful innovation project applications, there are also a number of failures.

what is innovation theory

Don’t Get No Respect - “It surprised me that being a start-up founder does not get you more admiration from women.” That’s one response to the question, “What surprised you the most about starting a company?” asked by Paul Graham, the co-founder of seed investor Y Combinator. Graham, who asked this question to all the founders of start-ups that Y Combinator invested in, summarizes the responses - many of which are more serviceable than the lighthearted one above - in a helpful post for first-time founders. What’s interesting, Graham finds, is that the founders’ surprises are all things that Graham told them would happen beforehand. “Unconsciously, everyone expects a start-up to be like a job, and that explains most of the surprises,” Graham says.

WSJ: The Daily Start-Up: So You Founded A Start-Up - Surprise!

NEW YORK, NY, July 07, 2009 MaiMai News — FundingPost ( proudly announces the start of its sixth annual Pitching Across America(TM) competition today. FundingPost, which has been introducing entrepreneurs to investors for over 8 years, established the competition in 2004. In the past 5 years more than 500 Venture Capital Funds and Angel Investors have participated as judges, voting on over 1,000 business summaries from emerging companies nationwide. They have been the largest Venture Capital competitions ever organized. The Pitching Across America competition not only showcases emerging companies to investors, but helps Venture Capital and Angel Investors quickly identify worthwhile investment opportunities. Many of the judges request additional information and meetings with the participating companies. FundingPost expects to duplicate its success from previous Pitching Across America events again this year.

The emerging companies’ executive summaries will be evaluated on a scale of 1 to 10. Judging criteria consist of several key points including: the professionalism of the written summary, current stage of development (customers, revenue), competitive advantage and need in the marketplace, feasibility for success, and whether the company is “VentureWorthy(TM).”

Venture Capital Funds & Angel Investors to Elect the Top 50 Emerging Companies Nationwide

Sharing ideas and insights with Bruce Nussbaum, contributing editor at BusinessWeek, is always a pleasure, so it’s fitting that he’s one of my first round table interviews. Previously assistant managing editor in charge of BusinessWeek’s innovation and design coverage, he was named one of the 40 most powerful people in design by I.D. Magazine in 2005. Nussbaum wrote The World After Oil: The Shifting Axis of Power and Wealth, and Good Intentions, an inside look at medical research on AIDS. He has received awards from the Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Society, the Overseas Press Club, and the Industrial Designers Society of America. Nussbaum is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. For more of his thinking and writing, you can read Nussbaum on Design or follow him on Twitter. Photo credit to Alex_Cheek.

Bruce Nussbaum on Design, Disruption, and Innovation

Representative Glenn Nye (D-VA) has introduced H.R. 3738, the "Small Business Early-Stage Investment Act of 2009," to create an early-state investment program to provide financing to support small businesses in targeted industries, e.g., energy technology, clean technology and environmental technology.

The bill would authorize $250 million to create a program within the Small Business Administration, with grants to be distributed through the existing venture capital network. Qualifying for a grant under the program requires:

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According to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) latest data, federal research and development (R&D) obligations to U.S. colleges and universities failed to keep pace with inflation between FY 2003 and FY 2007, the latest year for which data were available. "Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: FY 2007" found that R&D obligations increased 11.1 percent over the period, while inflation rose 12.7 percent.

NSF annually surveys the 19 federal agencies that account for almost all federal R&D obligations, defined as "the amounts for orders, placed, contracts awarded, services received, and similar transactions during a given period, regardless of when the funds were appropriated and when future payment of money is required." This differs from expenditures, which are actual outlays of money spent.

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BARCELONA, Spain — How can a city resuscitate an entire depressed, old inner-city district, many of its blocks marked by abandoned factories?

Even more challenging: How to transform the same area into a high-powered knowledge hub that adds jobs by the thousands and draws dozens of high-powered national and international firms?

The "free enterprise" American approach might be to bring in the bulldozers, create an industrial park that displaces the old residents and maybe offer companies public subsidies to move in.


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Top IBM officials met recently with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to disclose the company’s plans to extend existing investment in the country, which includes several global delivery centers.

Officials who made the courtesy call to the chief executive included IBM ASEAN general manager Cordelia Chung, vice president for governmental programs, growth market unit Stephen Braim, human resource delivery executive for Asia Pacific Renato Jiao, and country general manager James Velasquez.

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IT USUALLY takes years before employees get so jaded with their job they finally take the gamble of chucking it in to become their own boss.

Miss Elfaine Tan did that in just a few months. The go-getter was only 20 then and was still getting to know the ropes at an engineering firm - her first job, by the way - when she decided to make the big jump in May last year.

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So you couldn’t get into Stanford, Berkeley or Harvard, huh? Don’t sweat it. You can still make it big. Some people might believe that an Ivy League education provides a huge advantage in entrepreneurship. But after researching this over and over again, I’ve found no such correlation. To the contrary, it seems that those who are born without the silver spoons in their mouths are more motivated to succeed. And those who aren’t members of elite alum societies develop the skills needed to hustle in the rough and tough business world. The Ivy-Leaguers may be able to get their buddies from Sequoia and Kleiner to return emails, but they aren’t going to be any more successful at building companies.

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The president remarked that some claims made by opponents of his energy bill were cynical and contradictory to scientific evidence that supports the need for greener energy solutions.

Cambridge, Massachusetts ( President Barack Obama recently dismissed arguments by many opponents of his energy bill as cynical claims made to stagnate progress on dealing with major environmental concerns. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Obama spoke to an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Friday about global warming and energy innovation.

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- They were two MBA graduates short on cash but big on dreams: They wanted to take on a major corporation that controlled 89 percent of the pet insurance market.

Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik didn't let the competition deter them. They formed Embrace Pet Insurance and started selling policies online 21/2 years ago. Now, ranks Embrace as the No. 2 company in its field for customer service, beating out several larger companies.

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As President Obama’s pay czar prepares to slash the salaries of top CEO’s who received government bailouts, President Obama said it is time to start working with small businesses. The President has not been without his fair share of critics when it comes to the lack of resources provided for small business owners and he pledged more help is on the way. In today’s weekly address President Obama stated that small business owners are the segment of America that embodies the American dream.

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On Tuesday, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), a trade association representing the U.S. venture capital industry, released the results of its latest venture funding study. The study, conducted with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Thomson Reuters, indicates that venture capitalists invested $4.8 billion in 637 deals in the third quarter of 2009, a 17% increase in dollars and 3% decrease in deals as compared to the second quarter of 2009.

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The founders of the large web properties of Web 1.0 are all gone now save one. Yahoo!’s (NASDAQ:YHOO) chief Yahoo!s have very little to do with the company, although one of them, Jerry Yang, made a brief and troubled attempt to run the company recently. The founders of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and AOL retired a long time ago. Many of the websites that were among the most visited in the US a decade ago have disappeared since Jeff Bezos created Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) in 1994. Lycos, Excite, Altavista, Infoseek, and Switchboard have either disappeared or are tiny players among the new elite group of Web 2.0 firms which includes Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Part of the power of Amazon, which posted unexpectedly strong earnings up 69% over last year for the third quarter, is that it is fundamentally what it was the day it started—an e-commerce site. It sold books in its earliest days and helped usher in the demise of book stores and book store chains. The core of Amazon’s business has expanded to selling an immense range of products online from consumer electronics to groceries and clothing and gardening tools.


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Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, joined President Obama at Metropolitan Archives in Landover, MD, today as he announced new small business lending initiatives designed to put capital in the hands of small business owners. Senator Cardin applauded the new measures and announced his original co-sponsorship of a bill to be introduced by Committee Chair Mary Landrieu (D-LA) that will codify many of the initiatives and lending cap increases announced by the President today.

"Maryland's 522,000 small businesses provide economic opportunities to diverse groups of people, employing more than 1.2 million citizens, and bring innovative products and services to the market. But without capital, small businesses in Maryland and across the country cannot weather the current financial storm that has engulfed our economy. It's clear that our nation's economic recovery is dependent on the recovery and growth of small businesses.


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According to the most recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers MoneyTree report, the Philadelphia region’s VC market has seen a significant dip in third quarter investment.

The region received $94.4 million in VC investment in the third quarter, compared to $163 million last quarter, a drop of 42 percent. The region’s venture capital investment dropped 62 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. Despite the dip in total invested dollars, the number of deals received a slight bump from 22 last quarter to 25. Only seven of the 16 metropolitan areas tracked by the report saw an increase from last quarter.


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