Notes from Innovation Policyworks


Are Mainers and other New Englanders more "allergic" to failure than residents of other states, and therefore less likely to be innovative? Does our history and heritage make us less entrepreneurial? In a moment of frustration, a friend recently blurted out, "This is such a backwards state!" I think the answer is no, but we deal with risk and failure in our own way. More HERE. 





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:


  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Move more
  3. East less, more often
  4. Renew more
  5. Invest in those you love
  6. Give thanks
  7. Do the most important thing first
  8. Practice reflection
  9. Keep learning
  10. Give back.
Read the whole blog HERE.
In This Issue
SBIR Changes Implemented
TBED Trends
Disruptive Change
Take Back Your Life
2014-2015 Budget

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To the University of Maine for a major award from the US Department of Energy for the installation of a pilot floating offshore wind farm with two 6-megawatt direct-drive turbines on concrete semi-submersible foundations near Monhegan Island. 


In addition, Statoil North America also received an award from the same Advanced Technology Demonstration Program to deploy four 3-megawatt wind turbines on a floating spar buoy structure off Boothbay Harbor at a water depth of approximately 460 feet. The spar buoys will be assembled in the harbor and then towed to the installation site.   

Quote of the Month 


"Do one thing every day that scares you. 


Eleanor Roosevelt


Cathy's Corollary:

"All great ideas scare you to death "


Gov LePage's 

2014-2015 Budget Proposal Spares Innovation


Governor LePage announced his biennium budget in early January. While the headlines are all about the most controversial elements of his proposal, advocates of the innovation economy in Maine note that the major programs - Maine Technology Institute, the entrepreneurship centers, and the Maine Economic Improvement Funs (MEIF) at the University were all proposed at the current level. 


However, since the budget is apparently DOA because of its proposed elimination of municipal revenue sharing, it remains to be seen whether these proposed funding levels will survive needs in the Education and Health and Human Services Departments. If you want to look at all the details, click HERE.

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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.  

Cathy has recently been facilitating a number of strategic planning sessions for non-profits using Innovation Engineering tools. These tools help folks find the creativity most of us lost in first grade! 
For a list of projects, see www.innovationpolicyworks.com/projects.