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Business Plan Competition 2007: The 'Eight Great' Make Their Pitch
In a perfect world, there would be faster computers, less lower back pain, more accurate ways to detect the warning signs of a heart attack and even better-fitting business attire for female executives. And that would mean more comfort and time to enjoy the sweet things in life, like a gourmet chocolate bar. If the "Eight Great" finalists in the 2006-2007 Wharton Business Plan Competition -- who recently competed for more than $70,000 in prize money -- are able to achieve their entrepreneurial schemes, the world would indeed become such a place. Knowledge@Wharton summarizes the presentations and announces the winners.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship
"Venture Capital Has Gone From One Unreality to Another"

Last week the Barksdale Group, a $180 million venture fund launched by former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale and his partners, quietly announced that it was closing shop. It is a sign of the times. If one industry has been severely mauled by the twin dot-com and telecom debacles, that is venture capital. Do opportunities still exist in the private equity business? Knowledge@Wharton asked William P. Egan II, a Boston-based venture capitalist. His response: Private equity may be down but it certainly isn't out.

Future Boy: Trading Places.
Enron's intellectual godfather wants to make tomorrow's markets more useful for buyers and sellers.

Protecting peopel above patents.
Even during its "war on terrorism," the U.S. government says it can't suspend patents. Wrong: it's done so before.

Driving Business Efficiency
"In the business world, great inventions are often those that improve efficiency. Three inventions -- the rotary drill bit, the Bessemer steel making process, and the jet engine -- changed the course of American business history. In each of these cases, the inventor didn't create something entirely new, but rather a better way of doing something that had been around for awhile."

In Search of Innovation
by Robert Buderi

In an era of unrelenting competition, innovation has become a priority for corporations, institutions and nations. Heightened interest is spurring widespread efforts to analyze what underlies the process and assess how firms and countries are doing, because good measurement is central to effective management. Meet the researchers bent on prying the lid off innovation's black box.

Four Pillars of Innovation
by Michael Dertouzos

Michael Dertouzos, Director, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, squarely addresses the most frequently asked question that he has heard in the last 25 years, as individuals and organizations in Europe and Asia, but also in the United States, strive to get on the bandwagon of high-tech innovation. "How can we become innovative, like MIT, and the startup companies of Route 128 and Silicon Valley?"