To our U.S. readers: We hope you had a happy (and safe) 4th of July! Here’s what you may have missed while you were celebrating America’s independence.
1) The INSEAD Global Innovation index is out. Does it matter?
Global business school INSEAD has released its index of the world’s most innovative countries. The United States ranks seventh behind Switzerland (first), Sweden (second), Singapore (third), Hong Kong/China (fourth), Finland (fifth) and Denmark (sixth). INSEAD has been releasing the index since 2007. According to the report’s preface:
A key goal of the GII has been to find metrics and approaches to better capture the richness of innovation in society and go beyond the traditional measures of innovation such as the number of Ph.Ds, research articles produced, research centers created, patents issued, and R&D expenditures.
But, CNN’s Konstantin Kakaes writes that the report, while it has its merits, lacks an ironclad methodology. For example, the study measures a nation’s creativity while, at the same time, acknowledging that the connections between creativity and economic, social and cultural innovations are “not well understood.” These seeming inconsistencies prompt Kakaes to write:
But the raison d’être of the report, the ranking of countries by innovativeness, is akin to a list of the 100 most eloquent novels — fundamentally silly in conception, and no more an aid to understanding innovation than such a list of novels would be to understanding felicity in prose.
Kakaes acknowledges the inherent value of the report, saying that it “will no doubt have good details buried under lazy aggreagtions.”
But what do you think: Is the report a valuable assessment of international innovation, or not? The comments are all yours.
2) The big IPOs: Where are they now?
TechCrunch rounded up this year’s big technology IPOs so far — a who’s who of the companies that may or may not be heralding in the next tech bubble. The index includes well-known companies like LinkedIn and Pandora. However it also includes lesser-known companies like Chinese social network company RenRen, which has fallen significantly from its initial trading price of $14 a share.
Next up to the IPO starting line are real estate Web site Zillow, travel search engine Kayak, deal site Groupon and social media gaming company Zynga. And, in the yet-to-be-determined future, of course, there’s review and deals Web site Yelp, publishing and advertising network Glam Media and social media behemoth Facebook (Washington Post Chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)
3) Demystifying the venture capital term sheet
A fitting follow-up to our number-two post, Scott Edward Walker, founder and CEO of Walker Corporate Law Group, PLLC, has a running series on the arcane terms used in venture capital term sheets. In his latest installment, Walker tackles “redemption rights,” rights afforded the investor that require a start-up to re-purchase the investor’s shares after a set period of time.
4) Pre-flight manual? Check. Now, chuck it for an iPad.
If you’ve ever wondered what airline pilots are carrying in their luggage, wonder no longer. They’re pre-flight manuals. The bulky notebooks contain checklists, schematics, and details about the plane you’re riding. But, as The New York Times reports, some pilots have been given permission to trade in the bulky manuals for an iPad. The transition allows pilots to speed up decision making — thanks to the iPad’s ability to digitally index hundreds of pages of information in one of 250 aviation applications.
The key takeaway, however, is the speed and eagerness with which pilots are embracing the new technology, something they are generally reluctant to do:
“I don’t remember a time when one product seemed to get so much buzz and acceptance,” said Ian Twombly, spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “Many pilots approach new toys with skepticism, and the iPad seems to be almost universally appreciated as a cockpit device.”
5) Did you miss Prizes.org? We almost did.
Slide, a social gaming company Google acquired last year, has started a Web site called Prizes.org, which allows users to create contests with cash prizes of anywhere between $10 and $50. The contests range from people asking for the best place to get a rental car in San Francisco to trip-planning advice. Each contest has a time limit.
If you are a first-time visitor to Prizes.org, you will not immediately realize it is a Google venture, but a look at the site’s privacy statement spells everything out.
The site requires a Facebook and Twitter log-in in order to participate. No Google+ yet.