The science and technology-based economic development community is usually focused on job and wealth creation, but some new voices are creeping in, calling for increased inclusion. According to Jonathan Holifield, author of a new paper, that traditional economic development and cluster-based strategies have tended to have a broad regional focus that "increases the likelihood that historically distressed areas and populations will be unable to reap the rewards of these initiatives." Jonathan, a visionary that I met last fall at the SSTI conference, writes, "Not only can the improved outcomes derived from cluster initiatives help to 'lift all boats,' but an emphasis on inclusiveness results in enhanced productivity and competitiveness." The question for rural states like Maine with relatively homogenous populations is how this emphasis on inclusiveness can also extend to the less educated and less affluent citizens. Read the full article HERE.
SBIR Changes Implemented
As you think about submitting a SBIR or STTR application this year, look carefully at the new regulations that take effect January 28. The one thing that doesn't change is the 500 employee size limit for small business, but the rules around ownership have gotten much more complicated, allowing for firms with majority ownership by venture firms and other investors. Eligibility remains as it has been in the past, with a cautionary note that there are other extenuating circumstances as listed in the SBIR and STTR policy directives such as requiring the small business to certify it meets the other program criteria (e.g. performing the required percentage of work, employing the principal investigator) at the time of award and during the lifecycle of the award. HERE's the link to the new rules. Specifics start on page 76225.
Trends in Technology-Based Economic Development in 2012
A new summary of the TBED community's activities in 2012 by SSTI points out that since most states were in the second year of new administrations, changes were less sweeping and more strategic. But many states are still launching new initiatives aimed at commercializing new technologies and investing in research (Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Idaho, Virginia, and Washington) while others were modifying their tax incentives to encourage more private and outside investment in their states (Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). STEM initiatives were launched in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas and Utah to address workforce challenges. Finally, programs supporting entrepreneurs and regional clusters were initiated in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, St Louis and Skokie, IL. The full report with details about the various new programs is available HERE.
Expect Changes Ahead
Disruptive change is now the norm, and we all need to be better at seeing it coming and figuring out proactively how to respond, rather than reacting when the change overwhelms us, our companies, our communities or our states. An unscientific survey of trends likely to be disruptive in 2013 was contained in this Harvard Business Review blog by Scott Anthony:
1. 3-D Printing;
2. The Internet of Things (meaning home automation devices like smart thermostats);
3. New healthcare business models using mobile technologies;
4. Low-cost, online, competency-based learning universities.
Read the whole blog HERE.
Take Back Your Life
Is the pace of life and business faster than ever or am I just getting old? (That's a rhetorical question - please don't answer!). Here are ten suggestions from Tony Schwartz for taking back your life:
- Get enough sleep
- Move more
- East less, more often
- Renew more
- Invest in those you love
- Give thanks
- Do the most important thing first
- Practice reflection
- Keep learning
- Give back.
Read the whole blog HERE