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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.

Accidental Innovation? It Happens at Some Companies: Deloitte Online Poll

According to a new Deloitte online poll, 31 percent of executives surveyed believe innovation happens by accident at their company. Meanwhile, only 25 percent of respondents say their companies encourage innovation as a mandate.

"Companies need to build innovation into their DNA instead of relying on chance," said Mark White, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and moderator of the webcast. "Bad times in the economy present opportunities for organizations to refocus on innovation as a difference maker to driving their business performance and being in the best possible position to deliver results. That is why in Silicon Valley cycles of recession are cycles of innovation. Web 2.0 and semiconductors were churned during a recession."

In the wake of the death of venture capital: Finding a balance between the incubator and VC models by Ross Dawson

There are manifold reasons for the VC sector's challenges, not least the vastly lower capital requirements of the typical web start-up of today.

One of the poster-children of the new wave of seed capital has been Y Combinator, which provides very small amounts of capital to kick-start new ventures.

Science, Technology, Innovation Ministry To Double R&D Output

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation is to strengthen institutional support for Research and Development (R&D) to increase output of its five key result areas (KRAs) identified said its Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili on Monday.

He said the ministry and its 28 agencies aim to appropriately fulfill the KRA and 15 Key Performance Index (KPI) identified during a two-day workshop over the weekend.

BusinessWeek: Turning Corporate Taxes into an Innovation Spur by Rob Atkinson

As Michael Mandel has written in BusinessWeek, the current U.S. recession is due in part to a shortfall in innovation and competitiveness. Those lags, in turn, can be traced to the U.S. corporate tax code. U.S. statutory and effective corporate tax rates are high compared to those of other nations. Moreover, the code provides only minimal incentives for companies to invest in the building blocks of innovation: research, new capital equipment, and labor skills. It is time to redesign the tax code to help turbocharge the U.S. innovation engine. Doing so will improve U.S. competitiveness, not only by reducing international tax differentials, but by also spurring more domestic investment in research and development, productivity-enchancing capital expenditures, and worker training.

KTEC Pipeline will take applications starting Aug. 17 by the Kansas City Business Journal

The KTEC Pipeline technology entrepreneur fellowship will start taking applications Aug. 17 for 2010, the program’s fourth year.

The fellowship, part of Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., is a state-sponsored technology entrepreneur fellowship program designed to identify high-potential tech entrepreneurs; match them with best-in-class training, resources and mentors; and help them grow, the fellowship said in a Tuesday release.

World Bank launches “Ghana Innovation Marketplace 2009” in Tema

GNA - The World Bank, in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, on Wednesday launched the “Ghana Innovations Marketplace (GIM) 2009” in Tema with a call on Ghanaians to change their behaviour towards waste management.

Mr Pooya Nikooyeh, Programme Manager at African Aurora, a representative of the organizing committee of GIM at the World Bank, said Ghanaians must passionately check indiscriminate disposal of solid waste in their communities.

WSJ: A Global Surge in Tiny Loans Spurs Credit Bubble in a Slum

RAMANAGARAM, India -- A credit crisis is brewing in "microfinance," the business of making the tiniest loans in the world.

Microlending fights poverty by helping poor people finance small businesses -- snack stalls, fruit trees, milk-producing buffaloes -- in slums and other places where it's tough to get a normal loan. But what began as a social experiment to aid the world's poorest has also shown it can turn a profit.

About driving innovation in Africa by Subsaharska

One of the first sessions at Maker Faire Africa on the first day was a panel discussion about "What drives innovation in Africa?" The initial reasons are obvious with things such as necessity, curiosity, and information coming to the forefront. But of course, these are common to most anywhere and say nothing specifically about Africa.

A Step Toward Economic Recovery by James F. Cotter

A company that has a net worth of $18 million or less, and whose after-tax net income for the previous two years is not over $6 million, may be eligible for funding from an SBIC, or Small Business Investment Company. If your business does not qualify by these standards, it may still qualify as a small business by other criteria, such as employment or amount of annual sales, both of which standards vary from one industry to another.

Venture Exits Never Looked So Bad by Scott Austin

Just how difficult has it been for venture capitalists to exit a company since the last tech bust in 2001? Check out some research charts put together by SVB Financial for an answer, and make sure you’re sitting down. Using SVB’s data combined with information from Dow Jones VentureSource, the historical data measures the time and capital it takes to get a venture-backed start-up in a position to go public, be sold or go out of business. The charts, which are broken up by six sectors, don’t draw any conclusions, nor are they entirely surprising, but they do give us an idea of the fundamental problems affecting the venture capital industry. For instance, looking at software companies, the exit multiple - or the value of the company at the time of exit divided by the amount invested in the company - fluctuated between 3.7 and 10.7 between 1994 and 2000. Since 2001, that multiple has ranged from 0.0 to 1.1. Meanwhile, the median time it takes to exit these companies is at an all-time high of 91 months….

The Corporate Lab as Ringmaster by Steve Lohr

THE Internet has changed many things, of course, but one of its more far-reaching effects has been to transform the economics of innovation.

The nation’s big corporate research and development laboratories — at I.B.M., General Electric, Hewlett-Packard and a handful of other companies — have their roots and rationale in the industrial era, when communication was costly, information traveled slowly and social networks were fostered at conferences and lunchrooms instead of over the Web.

Innovation in a recession by RapidBi

Innovation is about more than new products and technologies – its about ideas – and ideas from your brain and the brains of your people and networks can be free – all you need to do is give permission to be creative harness the ideas that result – some you can use – most you wont be able to… yet.

Venture Capital, Still Seeking the Next Big Thing by Phyllis Korkki

This may seem a less-than-ideal time for an entrepreneur to seek venture capital. But the capital well is far from dry, according to a survey by the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University.

Of 185 venture firms surveyed last spring, 46 percent said they planned to make at least two investments over the next 12 months within their current fund; 54 percent said they planned to make three or more investments.

Finding an Innovation Strategy That Works by Frank T. Rothaermel and Andrew M. Hess

When it comes to pursuing innovation, choosing the right path can be tricky, even for the most seasoned of managers. That's because there are many options from which to choose, and no one-size-fits-all recipe for success.

To make it a little easier to find the right path, we spent five years analyzing some commonly used innovation strategies. In particular, we took an in-depth look at four approaches—recruiting and cultivating human capital, spending on internal research and development, engaging in strategic alliances, and acquiring technology ventures—and what happens when companies try to pursue some or all of them at the same time.

The BizCoach: Why Women Receive Less Angel Funding Than Men

You’re a woman with a great business idea, but you’re short on funds. You’ve also heard that it’s tough for female entrepreneurs to get financing from an angel investor – someone who funds early-stage companies.

Ironically, female entrepreneurs receive less angel funding than men, even though they launch more businesses, according to a study co-authored by a finance professor, Dr. John Becker-Blease, at Washington State University, Vancouver,

Knowledge blocks innovation

My respected former colleague Wilfred Rubens pointed me to an interesting posting on the HBR innovation blog of Scott Anthony. It is about the danger of knowledge blocking innovation. The central issue: people who have deep knowledge about a topic sometimes assume other people have that same knowledge. That in itself can be problematic for innovation, because R&D of companies can have wrong assumptions about level of knowledge of potential customers for their innovations. They assume customers know more then they do, making them blind for opportunities & threats regarding their innovations. Anthony supports this notion with a Gillette example. Although I agree to the expert blindness effect of having a deep body of knowledge in a field, I don’t see it block innovation. Most organisations involve multiple (knowledge) perspectives in their innovation processes, ranging from experts, production, marketing to customers. At least they will have extensive market research and field testing to overcome the issues Anthony is pointing at.

Deal Terms Still Look Shaky For Start-Ups, But Improving

Start-up companies continue to give into harsher funding deal terms set by venture capitalists, but there are signs the mood is brightening.

Two Silicon Valley law firms, Cooley Godward Kronish and Fenwick & West, separately issued reports this week that analyze the terms of venture financings in the second quarter. While the reports offer different results, they come to similar conclusions: Market terms showed signs of improvement in the second quarter. Or as Cooley cautiously states on the top of its report, there are “early signs of potential improvement.” At least the market isn’t spinning out of control as once feared.

Nigeria: Embrace Entrepreneurship, Youths Told

Abuja — Nigerian youths have been encouraged to think and change their mindsets, in order to generate business ideas that they can be engaged in while in school and upon graduation from the university.

This process can only be achieved through development of sound character, work ethics and integrity while working at improved productivity among young persons.