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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.

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Our annual private markets review showed the market scaling in 2017. The way limited partners and general partners respond to the opportunities that arise will be critical to their success.

The year just past was, once again, strong for private markets.1 Even as public markets rose worldwide—the S&P 500 shot up about 20 percent, as did other major indices—investors continued to show interest and confidence in private markets. Private asset managers raised a record of nearly $750 billion globally, extending a cycle that began eight years ago.

Image: https://www.mckinsey.com

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Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, reintroduced the Support Startup Businesses Act, which would allow awardees of federal research and development grants to use a portion of that funding to create a startup business.

Specifically, the bill authorizes Small Business Innovation Research program awardees to allocate up to 5 percent of their awards for activities that are critical to building businesses, including services such as market validation, intellectual property protection, market research and business model development. Currently, the SBIR program offers very limited financial support to awardees for commercialization activities.

 

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Breakthrough innovation is the Holy Grail of business. Everyone wants it, yet it remains frustratingly elusive. 

When I was in the corporate world, we had no shortage of methods to try to coax more innovation out of employees: incubators, innovation centers, brainstorming sessions... yet acutal creative innovation was inevitably challenging to find. It's hard to be "innovative on demand."

 

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Finding a work-life balance, no pun intended, is a work in progress. And in a world where your work can follow you anywhere, finding this balance is becoming increasingly more difficult. The new infographic from Family Living Today and Now Sourcing looks at why it is especially hard for workers in the US.

Compared to the 38 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the US comes in at number 30 for work-life balance. A couple of the reasons it is so low is because 11.4 percent of Americans work 50 or more hours per week, while they spend 11.4 hours for leisure and personal care daily.

Image: https://smallbiztrends.com

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Software giant Oracle has chosen Austin for its first U.S. startup accelerator program.

The Startup Cloud Accelerator announced today follows the recent completion of Oracle’s 560,000-square-foot campus southeast of downtown Austin. 

Oracle, the second-largest software company in the world, will pick five to six startups focused on cloud technology to take part in the six month program, which it will run twice a year.

Image: Shonda Novak/American-StatesmanOracle says its new campus near downtown Austin will ultimately house several thousand employees in two phases.

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One of the most pressing challenges we are facing in the startup ecosystem today is the staggeringly low number of diverse founders receiving VC funding. In the last year, investors awarded women a quarter of the investment they were seeking– male founders, in turn, received half. The numbers are even shockingly lower for founders of color. To challenge this, several VC firms have been working through these issues and coming up with innovative ways to reach and invest in diverse teams.

Image: Credit: Village Capital - Victoria Fram, co-founder and Managing Director of Village Capital, on her passion for creating a more equitable playing field in VC investments

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When was the last time you were lost on your smartphone? Because for me, it was just this morning. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or email itself, I end up tapping something that takes me to a web page stuck inside an app, and I’m left scratching my head, wait, aren’t I just on the web? What app am I in again?

Now Google is taking aim at just this problem with a new initiative called AMP for Email. Instead of an email from Pinterest just kicking you to some in-app browser or an external app as soon as you tap one of its links, a new AMP-infused Pinterest email is the web. So you can pin to your heart’s content, right inside the email window. With AMP for Email, you never need to leave the message itself to browse web content.

 

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Around the world, including the United States, senior populations are rising much faster than those of other ages, as fertility rates have plummeted. Since the 2010 Census, the share of US population 65 years of age and older has risen 3.3 percent annually, more than four times the overall average of 0.7 percent and more than ten times the 0.3 percent average growth rate for people under 65 years of age (Figure 1).

Image: http://www.newgeography.com

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Once they’ve finished pitching investors, many founders leave the boardroom thinking things went well. The venture capitalists in the room nodded politely, said they’d “follow up,” and admitted the business model sounded “compelling.”

But after a seemingly good pitch, that promised follow-up doesn’t always happen. No second meeting gets booked, and no investment is made. What’s really being said behind closed doors after the pitch wraps up and the founder leaves the room? These five VCs share the inside scoop.

Image: skyNext/iStock

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Get this special report to learn how institutions can better serve adult students.

America’s adult students have long been an afterthought in higher education. But demographic changes and economic pressures will soon require institutions to expand their horizons in order to survive or thrive.

This Chronicle report explores the growing imperative for colleges to support the adult-student movement.

Image: https://store.chronicle.com

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It’s early days for quantum computers, the still mostly theoretical subatomic processors so powerful they can make our fastest supercomputer look like an abacus. Mike Lazaridis, the co-inventor of the BlackBerry, says that when it comes to quantum technology, he’s learned his lesson. He won’t be iPhoned again.

After years of watching his brand wither during the iPhone era, Lazaridis stepped down as the company’s co-chief executive officer in 2012 and devoted most of his energy to researching quantum technologies, including computers, sensors, and a wide range of other gear.

Image: Quantum researchers use this device to test superconducting films on silicon at the atomic level. SOURCE: DAVID CORY/IQC

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