Notes from Innovation Policyworks


I'm happy to report that after six months of work, I have passed the exam to be a Certified Black Belt in Innovation EngineeringTM. Thanks to my friends and colleagues at US Dept of Commerce for supporting this endeavor--I didn't think I should be preaching about IE without doing all the learning!


Along the way, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what creates a culture of innovation in a company or organization so that a process like Innovation Engineering takes root. It was just a short hop and a skip to thinking about what it would take to have a culture of innovation in a state or region. See my blog for the whole story.



 Six Drivers of Economic Growth


The National Governors Association new report, Growing State Economies: A Policy Framework, lays out six drivers of growth, and suggests that while "each state must decide on its tax, spending and regulatory policies," these activities can be refined to improve job creation. The six are:


  • Entrepreneurs, the individuals who seed, grow and renew businesses;
  • Education and skills, the concentration of highly educated, highly skilled individuals within economies;
  • Innovation and technology, the new ideas that enter an economy;
  • Private capital, debt and equity at all stages of company formation;
  • Global markets and linkages; and
  • Industry clusters, that experience higher growth rates than firms not embedded in these networks of institutions that provide education, training finance and marketing.

The Framework is available here

Another Negative Evaluation of Film Tax Credit


The Louisiana Budget Project has concluded that the state's film tax credit takes more out of state coffers than it brings in. In 2011, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development distributed $231 million in credits. About 2,510 people in Louisiana worked in film production last year. Supporters note that Louisiana is now #3 in the country in film production activity. Film tax credits are often criticized because of the transient nature of the activity they support and the proportion of expenditures that leave the state granting the credit.

R U Happy?


The good folks at the New Economics Foundation have decided that we need new measure of progress. So they created the Happy Planet Index. This is as the product of well-being and life expectancy divided by ecological footprint. According to this measure, no country is achieving high and sustainable well-being and the US is in 105th position out of 151 countries. Ecological footprints bring down the scores of high-income countries substantially. Read more here

R U Happy 2?


A recent study at the Harvard Business School showed a dramatic correlation between the levels of employee engagement and the overall effectiveness of their supervisors. The engagement of employees with the worst bosses was exceptionally low, while the best leaders had the happiest, most engaged and committed employees. Another study found that 60 percent of the employees working for the US federal government are miserable - not because of pay or benefits, but because they have bad bosses. So, no offense to any past bosses I've had, just saying....

How Many Lobsters Does It Take to Power a Lightbulb?


Researchers at Clarkson University, Case Western Reserve and Joseph Fourier (in France) have discovered how to harvest electricity from live organisms. Lobsters, it turns out, have an output of 12 microwatts, about 1/3 the voltage of a AAA battery. Given the price of lobsters this summer, compared to oil, this might be a cost-effective idea! What will the folks at PETA say? You can see an amazingly disturbing video here at Dr. Evgeny Katz's website.

 Impacts Starting to be Felt from Patent Law Changes

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has begun publishing the rules that will implement the sweeping changes to the patent system due to the new America Invents Act passed last year. The biggest change is the switch to first-inventor-to-file system of granting patents that begins next March. However, another big change is that the way patents can be challenged has been made substantially less costly. Experts are now weighing in, suggesting that patents will be weaker because they can be challenged more easily. And, everyone agrees that it's now more important than ever to file a provisional patent soon after documenting an invention. 

New Fuel Efficiency Standards Expected to Create Jobs


Last week, the Obama Administration announced new fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles. The BlueGreen Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council have calculated the economic impact of these new rules on the states. Their analysis is based on an Input-Output model that looks at the impact of the savings that drivers will realize on transportation fuel. For Maine, the impacts are calculated to be: 2,800 jobs created, 95 millions gallons of fuel saved equating to $415 million, and 1,120,000 metric tons of CO2 reduction. Read more here.

In This Issue
Six Drivers of Economic Growth
Film Tax Credit Panned
R U Happy?
R U Happy 2?
Lobsters and Energy
Patent Law Changes
IELI in Maine Sept 24-26

Join Our Mailing List


To University of New England for the award of a $10 million grant to facilitate the discovery and development of new pain therapies. The five-year grant from NIH is a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), the third in Maine. Previous COBRE grants went to the Maine Medical Center Research Institute. These grants are only available to the so-called "EPSCOR" states, of which Maine is a member. This designation means that the state receives less federal funding for R&D than other states. Under EPSCOR, states receive extra funding for basic research in an effort to broaden the country's R&D base.


To the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences which has received a new grant of more than $1 million towards the construction of a new facility focusing on ocean acidification.


To Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) which has deployed its first commercial tidal energy device into Cobscook Bay this summer. This project has injected more than $14 million into Washington County, and supported more than 100 local and supply chain jobs. This is the first tidal energy project in the US with long-term contracts to sell electricity. See more here


To the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), a new partnership in the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia region selected by DoD for a $30 million award to focus on additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing. If you aren't familiar with this incredibly transformational technology, check out this Forbes article.

Innovation Retreat 

in Maine 

The next Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute is September 24-26 at the Morgan Hill Event Center in Hermon. 


This three-day intensive introduction to Innovation Engineering will get you and your company on the road to a process that increases speed of innovation up to 6 times and reduces risk by 30-80 percent. It works! 


Maine businesses, nonprofits and UMaine alums can attend for just $495 per person.


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96 Maine Street, Suite 183 Brunswick, ME 04011 207.522.9028
Innovation Policyworks, LLC, is an innovation strategy and evaluation firm focused on the development and measurement of effective state and regional technology-based policies and programs. Dr. Catherine S. Renault has been delivering innovation-based economic development results in rural states for over 20 years. She has been a technology-based economic development practitioner in two states and consulted with many more, most recently as science advisor and Director of the Office of Innovation for the State of Maine.   For a list of projects, see www.innovationpolicyworks.com/projects.