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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.

BEIJING — Kai-Fu Lee's recent departure as head of Google China stirred speculation in the tech community here that he finally tired of battling the Chinese government, which has constantly pressured the Mountain View search giant and temporarily shut down some of its services.

But Lee, whose 2005 hiring by Google from Microsoft in China triggered a lawsuit on allegations the move violated a noncompete agreement, says he's simply going after a new opportunity. After nearly doubling Google's market share in China to 31 percent, he has founded Innovation Works, a venture fund that will provide coaching for early stage startups. The organization fills a void in China, where entrepreneurs lack the experience and advice readily found in Silicon Valley, he said.

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Every year some of the most brilliant minds from business, science, art, technology, education and government come to the Business Innovation Factory’s BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI for two days to share their stories about innovation. It’s sort of like the TED conference, but more intimate and relaxed. But, like TED, it blows your head off with new ideas. There are no rules, best practices, methodologies, how-to presentations. Instead, each person takes away something meaningful to them.

Here are 10 patterns and my personal takeaways from the 39 diverse speakers:

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Journalism is dying! News has no business model! Reporting is for crap! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Welcome to the conversation about news media today. Faced with the onslaught of "citizen reporting" and social media, traditional news media is hemorrhaging resources and wondering if the whole house of cards is about to collapse.

Yet one news organization has not only not collapsed, but is seeing its brand and leverage on the rise. In the last few years, NPR has jumped from favorite of the intellectual commuter crowd to perhaps the most media-savvy news organization in the country.

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MANILA, Oct. 10 — In the aftermath of storm “Ondoy,” microfinance will play a key role in the rehabilitation of Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Instead of the short-term benefits of dole-outs, microfinance is considered globally as a critical tool in fighting poverty.

In the Philippines, where 40 percent in a population of 92 million are poor, microfinance extends easy credit to entrepreneurs, among them: meat and vegetable vendors in public markets and sidewalk sellers of garments, toys, and household goods. Microfinance enables them to earn enough for their families and for the education of their children.


Read more ... - IBM has launched what it calls the System z Competency Centre within the IBM Viet Nam Innovation Centre, strengthening its commitment to supporting clients and business partners in the country as well as the larger Indochina region.

The System z offers the latest IBM System z10 mainframe resources and the high-end IBM System Storage DS8300.

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The SBA's Office of Advocacy, that small business "watch-dog" and oversight office that the House of Representatives would forbid to "provide to the Administrator, to any individual who reports directly or indirectly to the Administrator, or to any Federal agency any advice, guidance, oversight, or review with respect to [SBIR]" (See Section 414 of the "Engrossed in House" version of H.R.2965 at, has issued a new fact sheet on small business statistics.  It's chock full of useful data and statistics.
Copy attached FYI. Web source:

If you aren't up to date on the DOD's move to continue SBIR no matter what happens with the "official" Reauthorization effort, check out Rick Shindell's latest SBIR Insider (

Purpose is to update the SBTC Membership on SBIR Reauthorization efforts (including the DOD's unilateral initiatives), the efforts to get the NIH to un-exclude SBIR from their Stimulus funds, and other relevant stuff. Phone: 616-712-8000   Code: 727524#

AGRA is a dynamic, African-led partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural “value chain”—from seeds, soil health, and water to markets and agricultural education. AGRA is chaired by Kofi A. Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. AGRA, with initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana.

Many global and national leaders have recognised the critical importance of agriculture to Africa’s development, and they are ready to act. In his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan called for a new “uniquely African Green Revolution—a revolution that is long overdue, a revolution that will help the continent in its quest for dignity and peace.”


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Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and donate $100 million to an environmental advisory group to aid policymakers.

Soros, the founder of hedge fund Soros Fund Management LLC, announced the investment in Copenhagen on Oct. 10 at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate. The group is an international association made up of 430 newspapers from 150 countries.

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Think of this recession as a monstrous hurricane that swept through the job market and is still wreaking havoc. The latest unemployment rate for California is a knee-buckling 12.2 percent, the highest since World War II.

The job market nationwide is the worst it has been in 70 years, noted Robert Reich, the former labor secretary, during one of several conversations that I had with him over the past week. He dismissed the upbeat talk of “green shoots” sprouting in the devastated economic landscape and the dreamy notion that recovery is no longer just around the corner, it’s here.

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Braden Kelly has posed another question for us, which is: what roles do engineers and marketers play in an innovation setting, and what conflicts can arise based on their perspectives and approaches?

First, let me say that I am ably suited to answer this question, since I am both an engineer (undergraduate) and a marketer (graduate degree). I've worked in the technical trenches and, frankly, left them as quickly as possible, and worked in a number of marketing roles since my MBA. I left the engineering world because it necessarily demands a level of specificity and exactness that I find boring and tedious, and demands attention to detail that I sometimes lack.

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I define innovation as any change in a process or service which creates incremental value for a customer. Notice the definition does not include any reference to technology. Technology by itself is not innovative unless applied to a process or service a customer cares about.

How do you know if something is innovative? Easy. Ask yourself, “Did this change create value for my customer?” The opposite of innovation is the status quo. I find it amusing that Ronald Regan defined “status quo” as Latin for “the mess we are in.” Which seems appropriate. Innovation always involves change.

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At the World Business Forum, Gary Hamel gave a rousing speech about the need for companies to update their management models. An area on which he put a lot of focus was the need for companies to better utilize the talents and passions of their employees. Specifically, he called for reorienting work around "natural leaders" versus relying only on titled leaders. These are people who have earned the respect of their peers, and have demonstrated a capacity for getting things done that advance the company.

And, perhaps for you the reader, it goes without saying that often these people may not be in leadership positions.

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AKRON, Ohio -- Milking algae for oil. Insuring the family pet. Regenerating tissue in damaged hearts.

These are concepts driving early-stage companies in Northeast Ohio, whose promise of fast growth has drawn money and guidance from JumpStart Inc.

The regional, venture-development organization celebrated entrepreneurship Friday with 500 business, elected and nonprofit leaders. They attended JumpStart's fifth annual community meeting at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron, and applauded as JumpStart Chief Executive Ray Leach accepted a national award recognizing the nonprofit group's economic development efforts.

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"Kosovo should create an environment for development sustainable and competitive businesses including in major world markets and it is not something unachievable," said on Thursday the representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) during the promotion of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development - CEED Kosovo.

Kosovo has become the seventh country in the Balkans with this kind of center that has started its work on Thursday through which Kosovar enterprises will be supported for creating a climate more favorable in view of establishing sustainable and competitive businesses in the Republic of Kosovo, and abroad.

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Technology transfer lets you shop for existing technology and commercialize it yourself, but such programs can be risky

If you just can't come up with a great idea for your next venture, you can shop for one. So-called technology transfer lets you license existing technology from a university or federal laboratory and then use your own resources to commercialize it. These sorts of programs can be great options, but they're very risky. And it can take years before a product derived from the technology starts to bring in cash.

But the biggest question is whether you personally are a good fit for tech transfer. David Allen, associate vice-president for technology transfer at the University of Colorado, says the ideal candidate is an experienced entrepreneur with a solid understanding of the technology they'll be bringing to market. That's not to say newcomers can't make a go of it—if they can find a way to fill that knowledge gap. Kris Appel was with the National Security Agency for 17 years, but she always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In 2005 she saw a flyer for a program at the University of Maryland that helps women entrepreneurs exploit technology-related opportunities. "I never would have tried this without the program," Appel says.

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Entrepreneurs who want to raise angel funding can approach three types of potential investors: individuals, angel networks, and angel funds.

Individual angels are wealthy people looking to invest in private companies on their own. Angel networks are affiliated groups of individual investors who meet regularly to consider potential deals, but invest individually rather than as a group. Angel funds are groups of investors who pool money to invest together, usually alongside extra investments from individual members.

There’s some indication that the last type is on the rise. Of the last 14 angel groups that joined the Angel Capital Association, half of them have organized funds, according to John Huston, the group’s chairman, who visited BW in New York this week. On average, only 20% of the ACA’s existing member groups have angel funds, he says.

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SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Disappointed investors who threatened to abandon venture capital have carried through, sending the number of new funds tumbling and signaling a smaller industry with fewer venture capitalists.

In the first three quarters of this year, only 86 U.S. funds raised money, according to data compiled by the Venture Capital Journal and the National Venture Capital Association

It the trend is maintained, by year's end there will be somewhere between 104 and 118 new funds.

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I have always respected Nokia which I consider to be a quite innovative company. Lately, I have been wondering how they approach open innovation so I did some research on their activities.

"The sourcing, integration, and development of product and business system innovations through win-win external partnerships to capture maximum commercial value for R&D investment."

Kari-Pekka Estola also argued that open innovation is a critical trend and not yet another management fad due to these reasons:

Innovation happens in smaller companies, global innovation hotspots and increasingly influential user communities.

Several factors such as workforce mobility and venture capital are eroding the ability of corporate research labs to contain their useful knowledge.

A new breed of independent research labs create a new source of R&D development.

"Innomediaries" - innovation intermediaries - are enabling an increasingly active and distributed market for ideas.

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The U.S. Small Business Administration and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence (CMI) launched a cooperative Strategic Alliance Memorandum to promote opportunities for women entrepreneurs through education, training and counseling. The launch, held in Washington, D.C. at SBA’s headquarters, also recognized Women’s Small Business Month.

The alliance between SBA and CMI will help to strengthen and expand small business development opportunities, particularly those to women entrepreneurs. The alliance is intended to promote collaboration on the development of resources and information to benefit the needs of the small business community, and of women-owned small businesses. SBA and CMI will develop a joint podcast on business start-up and financing, as well as a Web chat on small business issues affecting women entrepreneurs.

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