For our weekend business readers:

ANALYSIS AND ADVICE FOR ARKANSAS’ NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Surprisingly that analysis and advice comes from Forbes, but when you think about it college football is a huge business, and all the money being spent on SEC coaches is a lot of “Benjamins.”

Still Forbes contributor, Patrick Rishe weighed-in on the Razorback hire, Bret Bielema.

Money aside, I actually find this a rather curious decision for Coach B in some respects:

– Regarding job security, he was golden in Madison after 3 straight trips to Pasedena…even though this year was an outlier given the probationary status of undefeated Ohio State;

– Regarding competitiveness, Wisconsin seemingly is always in the hunt for Big Ten Championships. Conversely, Arkansas must contend with Alabama, LSU, and now Texas A&M in the SEC West.  And this on the heels of an embarrassing season that is bound to make recruiting that much more difficult in the next few seasons.

Fore more of Rishe’s analysis and his very tricky advice, click on this link.

THE SCHOOL BELL TO DISMISS COULD BE RINGING LATER IN SOME STATES
Starting in 2013, five states will be adding a minimum of 300 hours of curriculum time in certain public schools.  The Wall Street Journal reports the move “is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.”

The three-year pilot program will affect almost 20,000 students in 40 schools, with long-term hopes of expanding to include additional schools — especially those that serve low-income communities. Schools, working with districts, parents and teachers, will decide whether to make the school day longer, add more days to the school year or both.

The WSJ says a mixture of state and federal money along with aid from non-profits will help support the endeavor.

Spending more time in the classroom, education officials said, will give students access to a more-well-rounded curriculum that includes arts and music, individualized help for students who fall behind and opportunities to reinforce math and science skills.

But there are critics who say shorter school days are not the reason America’s students are falling off the pace when compared to some other countries.  And will teacher unions support the proposed longer school days?

Get the complete outlook by going to this link.

TAKE THE INDIVIDUAL OUT OF INNOVATION
It’s called a “coral reef” for technology startups or as Harvard Business Review points out, an “Innovation Ecosystem.”  That ecosystem has been spawned at the University of Texas through a unique method because “there is less focus on the kinds of structures that promote a culture of innovation.”

At the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas, we have been exploring the ecosystem of innovation using the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) as a model. While traditional incubators focus on providing inexpensive space and business advice for new companies, ATI, under director Isaac Barchas, helps early-stage technology companies to get their first round of funding.

ATI brings together new companies, experienced business leaders, faculty researchers, government officials, established technology companies, and investors. This environment provides those new companies with a wealth of technical expertise, business experience, and access to capital that supports innovation in the early stages of growth.

To learn more about the core aim of “innovation reefs” and for solid recommendations to help your organization innovate if it relies too heavily on individuals, follow this link for the full post.

GROUNDBREAKING INNOVATION FROM STUDENT TEAMS
It’s called the Imagine Cup and it’s a student technology competition sponsored by Microsoft.

Every year, Microsoft crowns the winners of the Imagine Cup that offers over $300,000 in prizes to the winners. For the second year running, Microsoft tacked on a new component: the Imagine Cup Grants program, a three-year grant program to help students turn their innovations into nonprofits or social enterprises that work on specific issues.

The teams are required to use Microsoft technologies for their entries.

The winners of the Imagine Cup range from a new navigation app to an attempt to automatically translate sign language into speech – all invented by people who haven’t even graduated yet.

Fast Company has a closer look and video presentations of the student Cup winners from around the world at this link.

LEGENDARY JAZZ MUSICIAN DIES
Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck has died at the age of 91.  He died from heart failure this past week a day before he would have turned 92.

Brubeck recorded the first jazz album to sell a million copies, “with its centerpiece Take Five.”  He started a renaissance for jazz in the 50′s and 60′s with his experimental style.

Mr. Brubeck experimented with time signatures and polytonality and explored musical theater and the oratorio, baroque compositional devices and foreign modes. He did not always please the critics, who often described his music as schematic, bombastic and — a word he particularly disliked — stolid.

But his audience loved him and he toured and recorded with his famous quartet for 17 years before they broke up in 1967.

The New York Times has more on the life of Dave Brubeck, an American original and true musical genius.
 
ONCE POPULAR BEERS AMERICANS NOW SHUN
Americans love their beer, but that love has begun to fade on some brands.

24/7 Wall St. has a list of “The Nine Beers Americans No Longer Drink.”

And if you’d like to know which states down the most cold ones you can find that out as well by popping the top on this link.  (Hint:  Those beer guts in Arkansas are well-earned.)

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