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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.

After Socrata Inc. launched its online database service last year, it remained in beta for the next several months to see which types of customers would emerge as a fit.

Small businesses were natural early adopters of the company’s online spreadsheets, which allows people to visualize, filter, comment on and search large datasets within a Web site.

But soon, a new, deep-pocketed customer appeared that encouraged Socrata to shift gears: the federal government.


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Companies are getting sold early than ever before. Tech companies are often sold only one or two years from start up. This is happening now because the IPO market is dead, the Venture Capital model is broken and the fundamental structure of the American economy has changed dramatically.

Very few entrepreneurs, and angel investors, have sold more than a few companies. There is very little good information available about selling companies.

Almost all of the earlier books on exit strategies were for business owners who wanted to retire. Recently, there have been a number of books written about exit transactions for traditional venture capitalists. “Early Exits” is the first book about selling companies specifically written for entrepreneurs and angel investors.

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What have the British-based multinational Unilever, oil firm BP, pharmaceutical giant GSK, and electronics manufacturer Philips got in common? The answer is they have all embraced Open Innovation (OI) as way of developing new products or accessing new technologies.

Now Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) has produced a new guide to show how other companies can follow in their footsteps.

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Rob H alerts us to an article that starts out sounding reasonable... pointing out that politicians in the EU are meeting because they're worried about intellectual property laws holding back innovation in Europe... but then it goes off the rails. You see, they're not worried that the laws are holding back innovation because they're too strict, but because they're too weak. As you look, though, you realize that these politicians have basically been lobbied by businesses that want protectionist policies. The "report" they discuss talks not about how to better incentivize innovation, but how to "better favour business." What that means is they went and spoke with a bunch of incumbent businesses, not innovative startups, and those businesses said they want more patents. Someone should send them a copy of Against Intellectual Monopoly ...

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The recession is spurring British inventors on to turn their creations into businesses, new research suggests.

Aspiring inventors cited the current economic climate and the greater risk of being made redundant as the two main inspirations for moving forward with their business ideas, the poll by Business Link London found.

The recession is also apparently promoting innovation and invention within existing small businesses. Some 49% of small businesses said they had been proactively innovating during the past year.


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The feature stories in JumpStart Connect are all about progress, and usually, we focus on the progress of our client companies. But in this edition, we'd like to share some progress of our own.

In our non-profit world, we experience a major change every three years as our Board composition changes due to term limits. One of the biggest changes for us this year will be the change of our Board Chair. Three years ago, JumpStart welcomed Chris Schmid as Board Chairperson. Chris has been an ambassador for JumpStart's mission and significant partner, providing strategic advice and counsel. As he steps down and welcomes in his successor, JumpStart would like to express our gratitude for the leadership, vision, and passion Chris brought to the position. Thankfully, Chris will remain on as a member of the Board and we are certain he will continue to advocate for JumpStart and all of Northeast Ohio's entrepreneurs.


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The northern Chinese city of Dongying is building a public cloud computing platform that it hopes will aid its transformation from an oil-rich manufacturing hub into a high-tech service-based economy.

The Yellow River Delta Cloud Computing Center will be used as a common platform to promote e-government services. It will also be used to develop applications to boost the efficiency of the petroleum industry and the use of green technologies.

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NEW YORK, NY -- 09/29/09 -- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Foundation today announced a partnership with The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), the premier global competition for undergraduate students who own and operate revenue-generating businesses while attending a college or university.

The grant from the NYSE Foundation will support the expansion of the GSEA to 24 countries, including five new participating nations -- India, Ireland, Singapore, South Korea, China -- advancing the mission of student entrepreneurship shared by both organizations. The NYSE Foundation has committed to helping GSEA develop a mentorship and legacy summit for GSEA students. In addition, this year GSEA and the NYSE Foundation will work with and honor the world's top high school entrepreneur by providing him / her with the mentorship needed to grow a business and succeed.

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Usually, franchisers don't want to gamble on young entrepreneurs—they prefer seasoned managers who have built up lots of savings to plow into the venture. Now a host of companies are rethinking that logic. They're aggressively recruiting twentysomethings through franchise brokers, marketing themselves in youth-friendly venues like Facebook, and in some cases offering financial lures to get young people on board—such as deep discounts on franchise fees, which many beginners can't afford.

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Over 25 years ago, the Federal government created a way to ensure that innovative solutions to tough science and technology problems would be developed. And, very cleverly, they did it in way that bolsters the largest job creation sector of our economy – small business. This initiative is called the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

Here’s how it works: The largest Federal agencies (those that spend over $100 million annually on outside research and development), must set aside a percentage (currently 2.5%) of their R and D budget for SBIR projects. In 2008 this represented over $2 billion of available funding. These projects are reserved for our domestic for-profit small businesses that are independently owned and operated by individuals (not large entities). The agencies pose problems, usually tough ones that they need solved to help fulfill their missions. The small businesses are invited to submit proposals for solving them, describing how they’re going to do the work and spend the money (up to $850K in two phases – feasibility and prototype development).

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A NEW era of encouraging inventions and research results in Nigeria is set to unfold as different government agencies involved in the sector are tidying up plans to jointly work together to ensure maximum results.

Noting that intellectual property had become a critical element in modern strategy for the promotion of innovation, inventiveness, and transfer of technology, the bodies are fashioning out more imaginative patenting strategies to be able to fully and fruitfully arouse innovative and inventive activities.

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“Activity breeds innovation,” Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen of Finland told an eager panel. “New things are not created without taking risks.” And never has there seemed a more urgent need for new ideas than now, with the world’s economies still reverberating from the worst slump in generations and public debts expanding almost beyond control. The key to a sustainable recovery will be entrepreneurship and innovation, he said, and in Finland, “it is in times of crisis when governments have to be particularly active” in promoting them. Finland’s experience, he continued, shows that extraordinary difficulties can be overcome with the right policies and enterprise; so too for the rest of the world, “in the coming years governments will play a bigger role than before.”

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Six decades later, nearly half the U.S. economy is driven by industries that depend heavily on intellectual property rights. If we are to jumpstart a second economic renaissance, then we must begin by protecting and stimulating the lifeblood of America’s economy: its ideas.

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center —whose mission is to champion IP — is hosting its sixth annual IP Summit. Jobs are the issue of the day as speakers from a wide array of IP-intensive industries, along with members of Congress and senior administration officials, discuss how protecting and promoting strong IP rights in the U.S. can lead to economic transformation.

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A SEED capital fund has been launched to support start-up companies in the Heads of Valleys.

Supported by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Heads of the Valleys strategic regeneration programme it is designed to support entrepreneurial activity and meet the demand for early-stage funding for start-ups.

The fund will run until 2013 and have the capacity to support up to 170 businesses, leading to the creation of up to 190 jobs.

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VOL 7. No 38  SEPTEMBER 28 2009

An imressive collection of top global experts participated in the National Energy Summit and International Dialogue, organized by the Council on Competitiveness (COC), and held Sept.23-24 in Washington DC. Over 350 invited participants took part in the summit, which was also webcast.

Under a theme of Driving Competitiveness Through Sustainable Energy, the event first explored how future US economic prosperity is inextricably tied to the ability to create a sustainable and balanced energy system, and the pivotal role to be played in this transformation by the private sector in terms of speedy action and scale.

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New ITIF Report:
"Designed for Change: End-to-End Arguments, Internet Innovation, and the Net Neutrality Debate"

Many advocates of strict net neutrality regulation argue that the Internet has always been a “dumb pipe” and that Congress should require that it remains so. A new report by ITIF Research Fellow Richard Bennett reviews the historical development of the Internet architecture and finds that contrary to such claims, an extraordinarily high degree of intelligence is embedded in the network core. Indeed, the fact that the Internet was originally built to serve the needs of the network research community but has grown into a global platform of commerce and communications was only made possible by continuous and innovative Internet engineering. In the new ITIF report Designed for Change: End-to-End Arguments, Internet Innovation, and the Net Neutrality Debate, Bennett traces the development of the Internet architecture from the CYCLADES network in France to the present, highlighting developments that have implications for Internet policy. This review will help both engineers and policymakers separate the essentials from the incidentals, identify challenges to continued evolution, and develop appropriate policy frameworks.

Read the report

Report release event audio and video

Managers wondering how to make their organisations more innovative should look at Davila and company’s fine book, Making Innovation Work, not least because it contains many real-world examples.

As a lifelong fan of the Marx Brothers (I loved them at age eight, and I love them in my forties), I was delighted to read his take on Groucho Marx and in particular his assessment of their act as not being about innate creative talent or effortless idea-generation at all but about hard graft and a willingness to try things out.
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The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has taken the next step in setting up the UK Innovation Investment Fund (UK IIF), a venture capital fund of funds to support the UK's technology companies. Capital for Enterprise Ltd. will release the Request for Proposals (RFP) for prospective Fund of Fund managers for the UK UF. The RFP is a key milestone in delivering the fund as it sets out the parameters for the fund and details the information expected from prospective Fund of Fund managers. The RFF will ask potential Fund Managers to target the sectors of the future, such as life sciences. Low carbon, digital and advanced manufacturing. Success in these sectors is key to the UK Government's industrial strategy to create highly skilled jobs as Britain emerges out of the global downturn . The RFP will also ask Fund Managers how they will raise money from private sector investors to create the largest technology Fund in Europe.

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China is embarking on a new, parallel path of clean power deployment and innovation. It is the Sputnik of our day. Unfortunately, we’re still not racing.

Most people would assume that 20 years from now when historians look back at 2008-09, they will conclude that the most important thing to happen in this period was the Great Recession. I’d hold off on that. If we can continue stumbling out of this economic crisis, I believe future historians may well conclude that the most important thing to happen in the last 18 months was that Red China decided to become Green China.

Yes, China’s leaders have decided to go green — out of necessity because too many of their people can’t breathe, can’t swim, can’t fish, can’t farm and can’t drink thanks to pollution from its coal- and oil-based manufacturing growth engine. And, therefore, unless China powers its development with cleaner energy systems, and more knowledge-intensive businesses without smokestacks, China will die of its own development.
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