Since Our Last Issue: Innovation News You May Have Missed

2014’s Most Innovative Companies

Google, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Xiaomi led Fast Company’s “Top 10” ranking of companies whose products or services “can radically remake an industry, change consumer habits or challenge economic assumptions”: Google “for becoming a $350 billion giant that lets loose almost too many innovations and milestones to count”; Bloomberg Philanthropies “for doing good methodically”; Xiaomi “for reinventing the smartphone business model in the world’s largest marketplace.” Details on top 10 and top 50 “World’s Most Innovative Companies” at

2015 Tech IPOs

There are 588 venture capital and private equity-backed technology companies in the CBInsights 2015 Tech IPO Pipeline. Their real or rumored valuations exceed $100M and demonstrate significant momentum, the information provider says. Silicon Valley dominates with 315, while Internet companies make up nearly 60% of the Pipeline.

Young Entrepreneurs Faltering?

Under-30 owners of private businesses are at 24-year low, according to 2013 data from The Wall Street Journal and the Federal Reserve. Also, the number of new U.S.businesses fell in Q1 of 2014, according to the U.S. Labor Dept.

The WSJ also reported (Jan 3-4, 2015, p.1) the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation finding of a 17-year low in the proportion of young adults starting a business in 2013.

2015 R&D Spending Forecast

Little change in 2015 R&D budgets is expected by respondents to the Industrial Research Institute’s annual R&D Trends Forecast. The flat outlook compared to IRI’s 2014 forecast is based on responses from 96 organizations, 78 of which are IRI members, surveyed during late summer of 2014. Only two industries—metals and food— expect moderate increases. The analysts attribute the 2015 data to “inertia, not a return to growth.” Details in Research-Technology Management, Jan.-Feb. 2015, pp. 24-33.

New Supercomputers

National Science Foundation has committed $16 million to build two cloud-based and data-intensive advanced computing systems for the open science community. The systems—”Bridges” at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and “Jetstream,” co-located at the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) and The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)—are scheduled to go online early in 2016.

CIOs Need Advanced Analytics

With the amount of data growing in every industry, CIOs need to become proficient in more than “normal” descriptive analytics, says Gartner research director Alexander Linden. (, 12/23/14 ). While descriptive analytics tools mainly report what has happened, advanced analytics can predict future outcomes and behavior, Linden told his Gartner interviewer. One example: predicting a machine will break down and what to do about it..

Every Company a Tech Company?

“Innovation in the industrial sectors such as medical, automotive and transportation will lead technology companies to look for non-traditional business partners and inspire us to rethink what it means to be a technology company,” is the No.1 prediction for 2015 from Cisco strategy executive Joseph M. Bradley (, 12/31/14). Bradley cites Google’s acquisition of Nest Labs,Inc, the thermostat maker, as starting the trend.

In another prediction, Bradley cautions that “Big Data is nothing without Big Judgement.”

MIT’s Innovation Initiative

MIT is implementing a new Innovation Initiative intended to institutionalize the emerging science of innovation, defined as “the systematic analysis and understanding of the conditions that shape innovation outcomes.” Based on a four-part strategy encompassing capabilities, communities and infrastructure to accelerate innovation, the Initiative includes establishing a new lab focused explicitly on innovation science and policy.

The proposed lab would be a research center for new knowledge of the innovation process; promoting new data, methods and metrics related to innovation science; and formulating evidence-based, practical recommendations for industry and policy partners.

Massachusetts Tops S&T Index

Once again Massachusetts has rated first in the Milken Institute’s latest State Technology and Science Index. The index tracks and evaluates every state’s tech and science capabilities – and their success at converting those assets into companies and high-paying jobs. Conducted every two years for more than a decade, the index has found Massachusetts performing in first place in every edition since 2004.

“With a critical mass of universities, research institutions, and cutting edge firms, it is the indomitable state,” said Kevin Klowden, Milken’s managing economist and one of the report’s authors. Maryland, California and Colorado, were ranked 2,3 and 4,respectively.

Complete rankings and the full report, including an assessment of “California’s Position in Technology and Science,” are free from


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