CT Ranks Behind 33 States as Technology Innovation Adopter, Report Finds

Twelve states and the District of Columbia are now championing innovation-friendly policies at the highest level according to the 2016 Innovation Scorecard, an annual innovation policy performance index developed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin are first-time Innovation Champions – the top designation - joining repeat champion winners Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia.CT scorecard

Connecticut ranked in the third of four tiers, as an Innovation Adopter. The CTA Innovation Scorecard grades every state and the District of Columbia on 10 criteria, ranging from quantitative to qualitative, and ranks them across four categories — Innovation Champions (13 states), Innovation Leaders (20 states), Innovation Adopters (12 states including Connecticut) and Modest Innovators (6 states).

"We hope the Innovation Scorecard will be a guide for states who want to embrace those policies that best drive innovation, create good jobs and fuel economic growth," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association. "We've identified and measured some key practices that enable innovators to thrive including drawing entrepreneurs from across the country, welcoming disruptive business models and educating the workers of tomorrow. But unless more state policymakers adopt a light regulatory framework, they risk sending valuable talent and economic growth to a neighboring state - or, far worse, overseas."cover

The 2016 Innovation Champion states earned high grades for maintaining strong right-to-work legislation, fast Internet access, a robust entrepreneurial climate and an open posture to new business models and technologies. Other Scorecard criteria are tax policy, tech workforce, investment attraction; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees; unmanned innovations and sustainability policies. Since the last edition of the Scorecard, six states regressed to a lower tier.

Connecticut’s top grade, a B+, come in the Attracts Investment category.  The state earned a B in four categories:  Fast Internet, Tech Workforce, Welcomes New Business Models and Grants STEM degrees, and a B- in Entrepreneurial Activity.  The state’s lesser grades were in the categories Tax Friendly (C-), Innovation-Friendly Sustainable Policies (D) and Right to Work (F).  The report indicates that “Connecticut’s state-run electronics recycling system overcharges residents and manufacturers of consumer tech products, who pay for recycling at twice the market rate.”

investmentThe report also highlights an area of decline in Connecticut:  “Over $100 million of venture capital left Connecticut in 2015, causing the state to lose ground after earning an ‘A-’ in the category in the inaugural 2015 Scorecard. Connecticut should improve its tax code, which is among the least growth-friendly in the country, and reform regulations that stifle innovation.”

Among the findings: Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah and the District of Columbia have the fastest Internet speeds in the country; Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming are among the leading states - along with the District of Columbia - at creating new jobs and new small businesses; and Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi and Oregon were the only states earning a top grade for creating a policy environment favorable toward drones.

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, is the trade association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry.

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Four Connecticut Companies Among Most Innovative in National Rankings

Four Connecticut companies are among the most innovative, according to rankings published by Fast Company magazine.  Harman Industries, Oxford Performance Materials, Priceline Group and GE were named among dozens of the companies, in a range of industries, for noteworthy innovative business practices and systems. Overall, the top 10 most innovative companies of 2016, according to Fast Company, are Buzzfeed, Facebook, CVS Health, Uber, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Black Lives Matter and Taco Bell.  The next 10 include, Robinhood, Universal Studios, Huawei, Cyanogen, InMobi, Novocure, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, Spotify and GE.fast company

Fast Company also announced Top 50 lists selecting the most innovative companies in more than two dozen sectors, including architecture, design, automotive, biotech, education, energy, fitness, enterprise software, gaming, healthcare, marketing & advertising, media, retail and robotics.

Stamford-based Harman International Industries reached the list of the most innovative companies in the world for vehicle technology, led by an auto sound system that creates individual “sound zones” within vehicles. Harman ranked seventh on the Fast Company ranking of the 10 most innovative companies in the automotive sector.HarmanLogo

According to published reports, Harman’s individual sound zone concept allows drivers and passengers to personalize their own audio experiences with limited disruption or interference from other vehicle occupants, with digital signal processing tuned to the vehicle cabin and speakers to reduce the signals from other zones, regardless of whether they are music, vocal or other sounds. The Harman system utilizes a vehicle’s existing speakersOPMlogo_no text with the addition of headrest and ceiling speakers.

A Connecticut-based biotechnology company, South Windsor-based Oxford Performance Materials (OPM), reached the biotechnology list, ranking seventh.  The company, founded in 2000, was recognized for developing spinal implants. OPM’s founder and CEO is Scott DeFelice.

A pioneer in personalized medicine, OPM Biomedical became the only company to receive FDA clearance to manufacture 3D printed patient‐specific polymeric implants when it received clearance for its cranial prostheses line for surgeons in 2013, the company website points out. The company reports it now has two additional FDA clearances, and is an original equipment manufacturer for maxillofacial implants as well as its first spinal implant line.The-Priceline-Group

In addition, Norwalk-based Priceline Group was recognized by Fast Company among hospitality companies for its Booking.com hotel reservation system. The Priceline Group is the world’s leading provider of online travel & related services, provided to consumers and local partners in over 200 countries through six primary brands:  Booking.com, priceline.com, KAYAK, agoda.com, rentalcars.com, and OpenTable.



Nominations Sought for Women of Innovation as Efforts to Boost Representation in STEM Fields Intensifies

The Women of Innovation® awards gala, held annually, recognizes Connecticut women accomplished in science, technology, engineering, math and those who are involved in their community.  As the January 16 nomination deadline for this year’s 11th annual event approaches, organizers at the Connecticut Technology Council are urging state residents to nominate their peers, colleagues, mentors and students, teachers and business leaders, research associates and inventors. A study last fall for the U.S. Small Business Administration found that “the gender gap persists for women in STEM fields. Women have increased their representation in STEM graduate enrollment, but that increase has been uneven across STEM fields,” the report found.women of innovation

“While women have achieved parity for PhDs in biological and medical sciences, their enrollment continues to lag in some of the most entrepreneurial fields, such as bioengineering, mechanical, and civil engineering and materials science,” the report pointed out.

Last month, the White House urged women in the technology fields to share their stories as a way of attracting more women to the STEM disciplines. “When it comes to inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM fields,” the White House website explained, “research has already shown us what works: Providing early, hands-on experience and encouragement; sharing the stories of positive role models in these fields (like the women whose stories we share); and illustrating the broad impact of roles in these fCT-ORGields.”

In Connecticut, the Women of Innovation awards recognizes women who have demonstrated and sustained accomplishment in their field, from students to business owners.  Women can be nominated for awards in eight categories:

  • Research Innovation and Leadership
  • Academic Innovation and Leadership
  • Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership
  • Large Business Innovation and Leadership
  • Small Business Innovation and Leadership
  • Youth Innovation and Leadership
  • Collegian Innovation and Leadership
  • Community Innovation and Leadership

The awards event is "a time for like-minded, successful women to get together and celebrate their accomplishments” – and it provides a reminder that women are excelling in fields where their ranks have traditionally been slim.  The awards will be presented at the annual Women of Innovation Gala on Wednesday, April 1 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.  Presenting sponsors include Boehringer Ingelheim, Covidien, Day Pitney and United Technologies.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Frontier Communications, headquartered in Stamford.  Wilderotter serves on the boards of Xerox Corporation and Procter & Gamble Company and on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations. Frontier Communications Corporation  offers broadband, voice, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for residential customers, small businesses and home offices and advanced communications for medium and large businesses in 27 states.It recently began offering services in Connecticut for the first time.SBA

The SBA report also found that “women are more likely to start firms that provide research and consulting services and are less likely to start firms in semiconductor and aerospace manufacturing, navigational instruments or communications equipment, which may correlate with lower reported rates of R&D activities for women STEM PhDs.”

As Connecticut seeks to promote growth in the bioscience and related technology fields, the SBA findings may be of particular note, including that “High-tech women-owned businesses may also be less likely to locate in geographic regions where they can take advantage of regional clustering of highly skilled labor and knowledge spillovers.”  The report found, however, that “female STEM PhDs value the independence of self-employment more than their male counterparts.”

The White Houwhite hosuese Office of Science and Technology Policy notes that “Supporting women STEM students and researchers is not only an essential part of America’s strategy to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world; it is also important to women themselves.”

Women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in non-STEM occupations and experience a smaller wage gap relative to men, according to the Office.  “Increasing opportunities for women in these fields is an important step towards realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.”

Middle School Girls to Focus on STEM Fields at Annual Innovation Event

Connecticut’s drive to promote the development of the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – to boost Connecticut’s economy and create sustainable jobs includes women and girls as essential to the efforts’ success. girls of innovationThat aspect will be front and center on Saturday, June 7, when the Connecticut Technology Council sponsors the annual Girls of Innovation program in Hartford, geared specifically to middle school age girls, entering grades 7 and 8, “to experience science and its challenges in a fun, interactive way,” according to program organizers.

Girls of Innovation “inspires today’s middle school students to consider careers in science and technology-related research, health services and business areas.” During the day, volunteers drawn from the Connecticut Women of Innovation program and CTC membership meet and work with the girls. They talk with the students about their experiences and careers and guide them through the challenges created by the Staff Scientists at the Connecticut Science Center.GOI-LOGO-crop-web

Hank Gruner, Vice President of Programs at the Connecticut Science Center, which hosts the program, understands the need to develop programs that will bring more middle school girls into science and technology fields. “The Connecticut Science Center feels strongly that this type of project is essential for Connecticut’s future science and technology workforce,” says Gruner.

Officials point out that although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM related careers. A key message from the Girls of Innovation program is to show participating middle school students real scientists who are “like me” and to inspire girls with the confidence, enthusiasm and persistence to continue pursuing their scientific interests. The program achieves that by bringing the girls together with women working in STEM careers who can talk with the girls about their own career path and interests and choices they made while growing up. The program sponsor is Covidien. New this year, and as a thank you to the girls participating in the science challenge, program sponsors will be coordinating a hands-on activity and distributing Genius Boxes at the conclusion of the event. A Genius Box is a do-it-yourself, boxed project containing all the necessary materials a child needs to complete the challenge inside. genius-box-287x300

The Genius Box co-founders will be distributing their prototype Circuits Genius Box to the middle school girls at the event, completing a Flying Saucer circuits activity in small groups with program participants and then presenting each girl with a box to take home containing two remaining Circuits activities - a DIY Circuit Board to light up an LED and sound a buzzer, made up of a 3 volt battery, paper clips, and fasteners, and also a Pop-up LED Circuits card made from a 3 volt battery and copper wire.

A new entrepreneurial start-up developed as part of a college challenge by students Kate Pipa and Shivangi Shah, Genius Box delivers a monthly themed box of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) experiments “right to your door, packed with projects and learning opportunities.” The drive behind the business is clearly stated: “We empower the changemakers and problem-solvers of tomorrow, today.” CTC logo

The mission of the Connecticut Technology Council is to build an interactive community of innovators and their supporters that can leverage these great advantages to create a thriving economy, job growth, a global reputation for entrepreneurial support, and a lifestyle that attracts the best and brightest people to come here and retains the young people who have grown up here. The CTC recently hosted the 10th annual Women of Innovation awards, which recognized 59 women from across Connecticut for their innovation and leadership contributions in the STEM fields.

Connecticut is Nation’s Fourth Most Innovative State, Data Reveals

Connecticut is ranked as the nation’s fourth most innovative state, in a new analysis from Bloomberg Technology.  The state’s ranking was based on factors including education, professionals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, state research and development spending, and technology companies.

The state’s overall score in the analysis, 76.45, is just behind top-ranked Washington’s 83.25, California’s 81.97 and Massachusetts’ 80.93. States were ranked on a scale of zero to 100 in six factors, and received an overall score that was an average of the six. Because productivity consisted of two sub-factors, each was weighted 50%.

 Connecticut’s ranking was based on the following factors:states of innovation

  • STEM professionals as a percentage of state population: 2.72% (CT ranked #7)
  • Science and tech degree holders as a percentage of state population: 10.2% (CT ranked #6)
  • Utility patents granted as a percentage of U.S. total: 1.74% (CT ranked #17)
  • State government R&D spending as a percentage of U.S. total: 2.79% (CT ranked #8)
  • Gross state product per employed person: $114,891 (CT ranked #5)
  • Three-year change in productivity: 0.88% (CT ranked #32)
  • Public tech companies as a percentage of all public companies based in the state: 17.65% (CT ranked #17)

Sources of the data include Bloomberg, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, U.S. Census, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  The analysis was updated in November 2013, and the rankings were published this month.

The remainder of the top 20 innovative states were:

5. Oregon 6. New York 7. New Jersey 8. Colorado 9. Maryland 10. Minnesotabloomberg technology 11. Virginia 12. Texas 13. Utah 14. Arizona 15. North Carolina 16.  Illinois 17. Pennsylvania 18. Kansas 19. New Hampshire 20. D.C.

At the bottom of the list of innovative states were Louisiana, Tennessee, Wyoming, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Connecticut Resident Selected as Presidential Innovation Fellow, White House Announces

A Connecticut resident is one of 43 “incredible Americans” selected as new Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs), to serve 6- to 12-month intensive “tours of duty” in the US Government, where they will work hand-in-hand with top government innovators to develop solutions that can save lives, save taxpayer money, and help fuel private-sector job creation.

Nayan Jain is a Presidential Innovation Fellow working on the MyData Initiatives (Blue Button) at the Department of Health and Human Services.  Jain is an engineer and healthcare hacker with a passion for developing software that is able to simplify complexities by reducing noise and finding patterns in data.  His career in health IT began as an undergraduate with a dwhite hosueesign for an administrative database for the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory Hospital.

The Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program was created in 2012 to tackle five inaugural projects—each focused on making a part of the Federal Government work better for the American people.  Each team of innovators is supported by a broader community of interested citizens throughout the country. Presidential Innovation Fellows put aside their jobs and day-to-day home lives to offer their skills and expertise in collaboration with Federal agency teammates to create huge value for the American public.

The 1st round of five projects was launched in August 2012 with 18 inaugural Fellows. The first round selections included Nick Bramble, Director of the Law & Media Program, Information Society Project at Yale Law School in New Haven.  Bramble is a lawyer with a strong interest in improving how governments release data and promote engagement by citizens and startups.

The 2nd round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program will include ten projects,– four that are the second phases of Round 1 projects and six new projects. Presidential Innovation Fellows have a unique oppoNayan Jainrtunity to serve our Nation and make an impact on a truly massive scale.  The MyData Initiatives seek to spread the ability for people to securely access to their own data while spurring the growth of private-sector applications and services that a person can use to crunch his or her own data for a growing array of useful purposes.

After graduating and a stint writing applications for back-office propane systems, Nayan Jain  joined the DC-based startup, Audax Health.  While serving as Director of Mobile Technology at Audax, he helped build the core Zensey mobile and web platforms that aim to drive behavior change through consumer engagement and social game mechanics.  He collaborated to build MedTuner, an artificial intelligence that alerts its followers of important health events using techniques in machine learning and natural language processing, which was awarded first place at the 2012 Health 2.0 Developers’ World Cup in San Francisco, CA.

Most recently, he selected by Google to be a Glass Explorer and is looking forward to building wearable experiences that will help improve lives and patient outcomes.  He graduated with a BS in Computational Media, primarily focused on Human Computer Interaction and Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He currently lives in Connecticut, but spends his spare time in New York, according to the PIF announcement.innovation fellows

Jennifer Pahlka, Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation reports that some of the tech innovators and change-agents who comprise the new class of Fellows will work on second phases of Round 1 PIF projects such as Blue Button (which is helping veterans and others across the country gain secure electronic access to their own personal health records); Open Data (which is making more and more government information like car safety ratings and hospital pricing available for use by the American people, including entrepreneurs and software developers who are turning those data into useful products and services); MyUSA (which is greatly simplifying the Web interface that citizens can use to find what they need from the Federal Government); and RFP-EZ.

For Round 2 of the PIF program, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have partnered with the US General Services Administration (GSA).  Through this new partnership with GSA, which already works with every agency in the Federal Government, the prototype solutions that PIFs build will spread more efficiently throughout Government, enabling the program’s positive outcomes to reach more people more quickly.

For example, through Blue Button – a growing initiative across the public and private sectors – patients can download their own health information from a growing array of organizations (the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health system, private-sector health care providers, etc.) and securely share their medical histories with caregivers, import their prescription histories into mobile reminder apps, and more.

Others will work on new projects, such as developing tech tools to support disaster relief and recovery efforts; working with private-sector innovators to create consensus tech standards for the “Internet of Things,” which will connect a wide range of devices with embedded sensors and control systems, with big potential efficiencies and cost-savings; and helping Federal agencies save money through better, more cost-effective financial accounting systems.

Details on the entire class of Presidential Innovation Fellows is available on the web, and details about current and future rounds of the PIF program is at whitehouse.gov/innovationfellows,

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