Innovative Solutions ______ February 2007
In this issue
-- Feature Article: U.S. Continues Leadership In Innovation
-- Engineering Tip: Another Units Converter
-- On A Personal Note: Fresh Wine and the Keys
-- On A Lighter Note: Excuse Notes
-- Article Policy

Welcome to the February 2007 edition of Innovative Solutions, the monthly newsletter from Innovative Thermal Solutions. If you find this information interesting or useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Word count approx. 1078
Reading time approx. minutes. 4

Feature Article: U.S. Continues Leadership In Innovation
In the December newsletter article, I discussed the four key sources of U.S. competitiveness and how those can be leveraged for future prosperity. Those sources are entrepreneurship, education, energy, and innovation. This month let’s focus on one area in more detail – innovation.

American companies lead the world in innovation. They hold 8 out of the top 10 and 16 out of the top 25 positions in a recent survey ranking the world’s most innovative companies. R&D spending or patent rates (traditional metrics of innovation) capture only part of what makes a firm innovative. Even productivity metrics typically revolve around a more efficient use of resources for generating the same level of output. They imply that cost and efficiency advantages in labor and capital automatically translate into more market share. Real growth depends on innovation – on creating new markets and new value. This is reflected in the fact that almost 50 percent of current corporate sales are accounted for by products that are less than three years old. The drivers of value creation are increasingly intangible – ideas, relationships, design, branding, and the ability to connect with customers in new and meaningful ways.

The availability of talent, increasing global science and technology capabilities, and the rapid growth of emerging markets are all leading companies to globalize their R&D activities. While the rise of emerging markets as R&D centers has the potential to transform global competition, the impact so far has been relatively small. The United States still receives significantly more foreign investment in R&D than China. In fact, the United States receives more R&D investment from foreign companies than American companies invest overseas. The United States also has a positive trade balance in royalties and technology licensing. Corporate R&D remains the least internationalized activity of multinationals; production, IT, finance and back office operations are significantly more globalized. Research intensive activities often represent the core value generators of a company and companies are reluctant to move them off shore, particularly to countries where protections for intellectual property may be weak.

Industry has been the primary driver of growth in U.S. R&D investment. Since 1986 total corporate R&D more than doubled in real terms, while total federal spending has grown by only 13 percent. Industry now funds and performs the vast majority of U.S. R&D. As industry’s investment has risen significantly, the federal government’s share of total U.S. R&D investment has fallen from more than 60 percent in 1965 to less than 30 percent in 2002. Within overall R&D spending there has been a shift in emphasis from basic and applied research to development. All of the net increase in corporate R&D investment has been focused on developing new and improved goods, services, and processes.

There is a trend for large multinational companies to explore the opportunities provided by investing in foreign R&D centers. However, the statistics clearly show that most companies are focusing their R&D investment on innovative developments and that innovation comes from the U.S. If your company needs help developing innovative new thermal system products please call Innovative Thermal Solutions at (517) 424-7107.

Engineering Tip: Another Units Converter
A while back I provided a link to a unit conversion calculator. That one always wants to connect to the internet – It needs to “phone home” so to speak. Here is one that runs locally on your computer and is completely free. Units converter

On A Personal Note: Fresh Wine and the Keys
In past newsletters I’ve talked about two of my very special interests, the vineyard and vacationing in the Florida Keys. Here is an update on both. This past weekend I bottled 15 gallons of wine that I made from grape juice that I purchased last fall. I found a vineyard/winery in western Michigan that sold fresh pressed juice to home wine makers. I need to learn about wine making if I’m going to have grapes next fall. I made 9 gallons of Seyval Blanc and 6 gallons of Chardonnay. After a few months of aging, I think the Chardonnay is going to be very good. I’m not so sure about the Seyval Blanc. As for vacationing in the Keys, remember that I said I’d have to sell my October time share because October vacations aren’t really compatible with vineyards and wine making. Well here it is – Topsider. I sure hate to see it go.

On A Lighter Note: Excuse Notes
These are (reportedly) actual excuse notes teachers have received, spelling mistakes included.
  • My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
  • Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.
  • Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
  • Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating.
  • Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip
  • John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.
  • Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part
  • Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
  • Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.
  • Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
  • Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.
  • Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.
  • Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault
  • I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because I don't know what size she wear.
  • Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.
  • Sally won't be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral.
  • My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines.
  • Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.
  • Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.
  • Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.
  • Please excuse Burma, she has been sick and under the doctor.

Article Policy
© 2007 Innovative Thermal Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You are free to use material from the Innovative Solutions newsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

The attribution should read: "By Bob Utter of Innovative Thermal Solutions. Please visit Bob's web site at for additional articles and resources on engineering services and new product development." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

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