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Notes from Innovation Policyworks
While reading the new Deloitte study about the impact of technology on job creation (below), I came across this sentence: "While change is the driver of prosperity, it is also profoundly unsettling."

Wow. Talk about understatement. Yet, this simple thought may well explain the incredible political phenomenon that is unfolding in front of our eyes during this year's presidential campaign. Blue-collar workers are angry, there is no question about that. And, they are likely to have been on the receiving end of the technology trends that are causing fewer and fewer jobs in manufacturing, even as productivity and output is picking up.

The solution is more education and training to ease the transitions borne by those displaced by technology. This will make a much bigger difference than all the monies flung at companies to save dying industries, or building walls designed to stop the inevitable changes coming. Jobs will follow expertise, and worker excellence. It's not sexy, ribbon-cutting economic development, but it works. Read MORE.

Cathy
Tech Creates More Jobs than it Destroys
Every now and again, someone comes out against new technologies that are so-called job killers. Now, a research project by Deloitte has found definitively that new technology creates more jobs than it destroys. Looking at job records in the UK going back to 1871, the team found that as new technologies are implemented, savings on consumer goods have increased spending power, allowing people to purchase a larger and more diverse basket of goods and services. Technology does tend to shift jobs between industries (witness the current round of job cuts in papermaking in ME, for instance), but net employment goes up, primarily in jobs in caring, creative, technology and business sectors. Jobs destroyed tend to have been dangerous, dull, and reliant on muscle power. Read MORE.

Diversity Matters: The Demographics of Innovation in the US
Rob Atkinson has done it again, releasing a groundbreaking survey that shows just how important immigration and diversity is to the US innovation ecosystem. Using a broad sample of people who have been awarded patents, the survey found that more than one-third were born outside the US, and another 10 percent were second-generation Americans. More than 17 percent were not yet US citizens. Furthermore, immigrant innovators were better educated on average that native-born innovators, with more than two-thirds holding doctorates in STEM subjects. On the bad news side, only 12 percent of US innovators are women, a smaller percentage than would be expected based on the female share of undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. Minorities are also significantly underrepresented. Overall, innovators in the US are highly educated, with 4/5 holding at least one advanced degree and 55 percent having earned a PhD. MIT educated more innovators than any other single institution. Contrary to the image of young entrepreneurs, the median age of innovators is 47. The survey also found that over 60 percent of private sector innovations originate from firms with more than 500 employees, and more than half of small companies with innovations had federal grants, including SBIRs.  Read MORE.

Quality, not Quantity Matters in Entrepreneurship
Jorge Guzman and Scott Stern released an important new paper this week, adding to the literature about American entrepreneurship. Much has been written recently about the decline in business starts, but this paper says what really matters is the number of business starts of companies that intend to grow. They differentiate between a new restaurant or dry cleaner, and a company trying to commercialize new technology. The latter, "innovation-driven enterprises," are the ones that intend to grow from the start and can have significant economic impact.

It turns out that the quality of a city's startups is predictive of its future economic growth. They find that a doubling of entrepreneurial quality predicts an increase of 6.8% in GDP 11 years in the future." Startup quantity is not linked to future GDP.  However, this is correlation, not causation, the authors caution, they also note that the percentage of companies that want to grow and actually succeed is exceedingly small, and difficult to predict in advance. Read MORE.

i6 Grant Announced for MCED
Congrats to my friends and colleagues at Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) for the award of nearly $390,000 for the Top Gun Rural Accelerator Network Expansion from the Economic Development Administration's Regional Innovation Strategies program. US Asst. Sec of Commerce Jay Williams made the announcement of all of this round's winners at MCED's offices in Portland. MCED's project will build on the Top Gun entrepreneurship programs to accelerate companies through training, mentorship and connections, and overcome the unique challenge of how to model a business accelerator for a rural state. (Disclosure: I am Chair of the MCED Board of Directors.)

Patent Incentives That Work
"Patent Box" is the nickname of a UK tax incentive named after a box checked on tax forms in Europe. The incentive offers relief on corporate taxes related to revenues generated by products and processes covered by patents, as well as revenues from licensing, and other patent activities. The idea is to attract businesses and spark innovation. Other European countries have some form of this incentive.  There have been some attempts to link the revenues directly to R&D performed in the jurisdiction offering the incentive, so the UK incentive is being amended.  However, the overall adoption rates have been high, but there is no data yet on whether or not innovation rates have also risen. Read more HERE.

Male and Female Brains not that Different Afterall
A new Tel Aviv University study confirms that all brains are on a spectrum of characteristics previously identified as "male" and "female." That is, very few brains are consistently at one end of the spectrum or the other. The study concludes that most brains are "comprised of unique 'mosaics' of features, some more common in females compared to males and some common in males compared to females, and some common to both. This study of over 5500 individuals demonstrated that human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories: male or female. Read MORE

NE Doubled Share of Dollars and Angel Deals in 2015
Maine Angels again made the list of the top ten most active angel investor groups, along with groups from the West Coast, Texas and New York. Overall, NE invested 15% of the Angel Group dollars in 2015 and 11.9% of the number of deals, placing behind only California. And, NE angels are loyal to their region, with almost 89% of the investments made in-region, a significantly higher percentage than in any other area. See all the details HERE.

Wave Energy Growing
The US Dept. of Energy announced that nine teams are finalists in the $2.25 million Wave Energy Prize, a 20-month design-build-test competition that aims to double the energy captured from ocean waves. It is estimated that America's technically recoverable wave energy resource ranges from 898-1,229 terawatt hours per year. Approximately 90,000 homes could be powered by just 1 terawatt, for comparison. The nine teams include RTI Wave Power or York, ME; Sea Potential of Bristol, RI, Wavefront Power of RTP, NC and six teams from the West Coast. Read MORE.

Clean Energy Cleaning Up
Despite the dramatic fall of oil and gas prices this year, clean energy is continuing to advance as a dominant source of electricity in the US. There are three main reasons for this shift. First, solar prices have dropped by 75 percent since 2008, and now more than 3 gigawatts of solar have been deployed. Second, state and federal policies have encouraged the energy industry to reduce costs and scale up production of clean energy technologies. Most states (29) now have renewable energy portfolio standards and more than two-thirds have standards or goals for the deployment of renewable power.  As a result, wind and solar accounted for 48% of new capacity in 2014. And. The number of net-metered customers has grown by 50 percent annually since 2009, from 70,000 to more than 482,000 customers by the end of 2013. Read MORE.

Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Up
Marc Andreessen is often quoted as saying that "software is eating the world." Now, it seems that software is eating manufacturing. As a result, software-enabled manufacturing startups are gaining traction. Examples are Nebia, a water-efficient showerhead maker in San Francisco, Drop, a startup that makes an iPad connected kitchen scale and Fitbit. A recent HBR article suggests why these companies and others like them are having an easier time. First, the authors suggest that crowdfunding makes initial financing easier, Second, accessible design tools and 3D printing make development and prototyping easier. Third, supporting infrastructure like studios, accelerators and incubators are available to help entrepreneurs focused on making things. And, contract manufacturers are taking an interest, too. The HBR article is HERE.
In This Issue - March 2016

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Quote of the Month 
 
"Your cell phone doesn't just make phone calls. Why should our benches just be seats?" 

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh talking about the SoofaBench, a park bench that also can charge your phone.
Join us for two webinars on entrepreneurship:
 
Cultivating Entrepreneurs in Rural Communities
 
March 23, 2016, 3:00 PM
 
Enacting a successful tech-based economic development strategy poses unique challenges in rural areas. Yet, with educational attainment rates lower and poverty rates higher than metro areas, there are clear motivations for striving to improve rural prosperity. During this month's Inspiring Thought webinar, SSTI will host a conversation with some of the country's successful and innovative rural TBED programs.
 
The speakers are Heather Stafford from Business Oregon and Bruce Gjovig from the University of North Dakota, with Catherine Renault of Innovation Policyworks LLC moderating.

FMI: SSTI

Understanding Innovation & Entrepreneur Eco-Systems
for Economic Development
 
April 21, 2016, 10:30 AM
 
Fostering innovation and entrepreneur ecosystems is critical to local and regional economic growth. Much attention on this topic focuses on the importance to businesses. In this NEDA Best Practice webinar, we'll take the discussion further to provide insights and example s regarding how economic developers can support andleverage innovation and entrepreneur eco-systems to drive economic growth across industries and communities.
 
Speakers are Catherine Renault of Innovation Policyworks LLC, Don Macke, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and Maria Meyers,
Founder, U.S. SourceLink & Director, UMKC Innovation Center. Jim Damicis, Camoin Associates, will facilitate the discussion.
 
FMI: NEDA
Envisioning Maine
This book of essays by Maine's leaders shows the way forward. Buy your own copy at www.envisionmaine.org. 

Dr. Renault's essay talks about the importance of an innovation culture to support economic growth. 
 
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135 Maine Street, Suite A-183 Brunswick, ME 04011 207.522.9028

Innovation Policyworks enables economic development officials at state, regional and local levels make better, data-driven decisions by providing expert research, analysis and recommendations. Our clients see innovation and entrepreneurship as critical elements of their economic development strategy, and are developing new programs or policies, and/or evaluating existing ones. 


Dr. Catherine S. Renault has been delivering innovation-based economic development results in rural states for 25 years, most recently as science advisor and Director of the Office of Innovation for the State of Maine. Cathy is currently working with the Newton/Needham (MA) Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Enterprise and Maine-based Midcoast Magnet. 
For a list of selected projects, see www.innovationpolicyworks.com/projects.