Europe’s booming software clusters still no match for Silicon Valley

o John E Dunn 
27.11.2013 kl 13:34 |

The EU has built a core of world class software zones but remains some way from emulating Silicon Valley’s ability to fuse technological innovation with economic success, a Fraunhofer Institute study looking at the continent’s top 15 clusters has found.

The EU has built a core of world class software zones but remains some way from emulating Silicon Valley’s ability to fuse technological innovation with economic success, a Fraunhofer Institute study looking at the continent’s top 15 clusters has found.

Read more here:

Rainforest Rev: Innovation Lessons from the Land and the Science of Complexity

Come to the world’s biggest gathering place for innovation ecosystem creators! The Global Innovation Summit continues its momentum as we get closer to Feb. 2014. We already have people coming from 20 different countries!  You can be the 21st country if you sign up soon! Hotel rooms are limited and are going fast. Please hurry before they are sold out!
The second early bird deadline is coming up soon! Join the Global Innovation Summit before the prices go up. Register now and save money! Feb. 17-19 in Silicon Valley.
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The Latest News on Innovation Ecosystems – How Do We Create Innovative Environments in Companies, Communities and Countries?

What Does Dirt Teach Us About Life? Warren Buffett’s Son And Grandson Reply
Victor W. Hwang, CEO of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
Victor Hwang interviews Howard G. and Howard W. Buffett on their new book, 40 Chances, which describes how world hunger can best be addressed through self-sustaining ecosystems that help farmers connect to markets, infrastructure, and knowledge — the same paradigm that helps innovation rainforests thrive. Read more here.

Fury and Adrenaline
Alistair Brett, International Technology Commercialization Advisor, from the innovation rainforest blog.

T2 Venture Creation’s Alistair Brett uses the science of complexity to apply a missing analytical base to the field of technology commercialization and rainforest development. Read more here.

Hemingway’s Secret to Maintaining Productive Momentum
Fast Company
Papa Hemingway’s secrets to creative productivity can help your workflow work a little harder and flow a little faster. Read morehere.
Why Innovation Is Tough to Define — and Even Tougher to Cultivate
Innovation: It’s something everyone talks about, but few people really understand. Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach and some of his expert friends help codify a truly useful understanding of innovation. Read more here.
What’s Wrong With Your Company’s Culture?
The Wall Street Journal
CEOs frequently cite their company’s culture as a leading reason for its success. And research confirms it. Culture can account for 20%-30% of a company’s performance differential compared to “culturally unremarkable” competitors. Read more here.
Creativity is all about knowing what is meaningful to people: Bruce Nussbaum
Business Standard
How do you measure someone’s creativity? Even more important, how do you foster it? Knowldge mining, framing, and other techniques for understanding Creative Intelligence can also provide insights into boosting creativity in the workforce. Read more here.


London Hipsters Lose to Cambridge Labs in Venture Funding
VCs once flocked to London’s hipster ‘hoods in search of cutting-edge ideas. Now many are drifting back to the ivy-covered towers of academia. Read more here.
Q&A: Google Talks About Supporting Startups in Egypt, And Censorship
The Wall Street Journal
Google’s regional manager in North Africa explains how the tech giant is investing in Egypt’s startups despite political uncertainty, cultural differences, and a weak overall economy. Read morehere.
‘Locavesting’ Meets Crowdfunding Meets Social Entrepreneurship
Seattle’s Community Sourced Capital project helps small investors put their money into neighborhood enterprises. Read more here.

Malaysia conducive for start-ups
The Star Online
One investor calls it the “Disneyland for entrepreneurs.” Is Malaysia the next innovation paradise? Read more here.


|What Does Dirt Teach Us About Life? Warren Buffett’s Son And Grandson Reply – Forbes

Want to hear more from Victor Hwang?  Come to Global Innovation Summit in Feb 2014! #GISummit2014
Victor W. Hwang

Victor W. Hwang, Contributor

My mission: to design ecosystems that nurture innovators & dreamers


What Does Dirt Teach Us About Life? Warren Buffett’s Son And Grandson Reply

Omaha40Chances (c) Tom Mangelsen

Howard W. Buffett and Howard G. Buffett (Photo Credit: Thomas Mangelsen)

About one billion people in the world are chronically hungry, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.  This problem persists, despite giant technological advances in agriculture, investments of billions of dollars by institutions and foundations, and the good intentions of countless people.  Why should such a conundrum be so difficult to solve?  According to Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett, the son and grandson of Warren Buffett, the answers are not the traditional ones.

In their new book, 40 Chances, they describe how well-intentioned policies often undermine food security for the people they are trying to help.  Giving seeds and fertilizer sounds like a good idea, but when the supplies run out, farmers are right back where they started.  Instead, they say the key is to develop a self-sustaining ecosystem that helps people help themselves, by linking farmers to markets (e.g., roads), speeding the transmission of good ideas (e.g., teaching farming techniques and building agricultural schools), and creating reliable infrastructure (e.g., grain storage systems).

The Buffett approach, I believe, is part of a broader paradigm shift in economic thinking.  It is the notion that we solve our big problems not merely by pushing more inputs into a system.  Instead, we focus on the interconnectivity of the people within the system.  What are the barriers that get in the way of people exchanging ideas, resources, talents, and capital with one another?  How do we reduce those barriers, whether physical or social?  Ecosystems depend on human connectivity across traditional barriers, the power of trust among diverse strangers, and liberating people to reorganize themselves to solve problems.  (Note: These are the themes for our upcoming Global Innovation Summit + Week, which explores how to build and scale ecosystems to transform entire industries and countries.)

I was honored to have this interview with Howard G. Buffett (HGB) and Howard W. Buffett (HWB) about 40 Chances.  The title of their book is based on the fact that each farmer has only forty productive years in which to get their crop right.  It’s a great metaphor for life itself.

Victor Hwang:  You tell an interesting story about “Circles of Competency.”  How has yours influenced where you’ve focused the Foundation’s efforts?

HGB:  It’s something I learned from my Dad, to focus on investing in the things you really understand well. And then he would remind me that my circle of competence is really small! I consider myself a farmer first and foremost. I personally farm 1,500 acres and our Foundation operates three research farms: 1,400 acres in Arizona; 4,000 acres in Illinois; and 9,200 acres in South Africa.  It was natural for me to focus our Foundation on food security and particularly agricultural development since the vast majority of food insecure people in the world are smallholder farmers. Farming is highly specialized and context-specific – I’ve been doing it for over 30 years and I still learn something new every year. Yet it’s amazing to me how much influence non-farmers have on agricultural policy globally. It’s kind of like me going to a doctor who didn’t go to medical school – chances are the outcome is not going to be good.


(Photo Credit: Howard G. Buffett Foundation)

Hwang:  You talk a lot about the need for experimentation in philanthropy, and that you think one of the important roles for philanthropy is to take the risks that investors can’t.  What does that look like when it comes time to write a check?

HGB:  Well I certainly don’t suffer from “analysis paralysis.” We do our due diligence on organizations and ideas but the truth is, I try to find the best people with the best ideas, and given where we work like the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (EDRC), that often means that the odds of success are already pretty low. You can’t really build a business plan for how to use development to end conflict like what we’re trying to do in EDRC – or I should say, you can make a plan, but you will have to make a lot of assumptions and accept that everything will change and a lot will go wrong. So when I write the check, I am not viewing some artificial measure of improved household income as my definition of success. I’m looking at whether I have someone on the ground who I trust, who has great ideas, and who will be flexible and adapt when circumstances change. I write the check knowing that most other philanthropists would not write that check – those are the problems I want our Foundation to work on. My Dad told us when he gave the first big gift in 2006 to pick big problems to work on, to not get caught up trying to bat 1.000, to take risks. I know that when we do have success with an idea, it will be a homerun, not a base hit.

Hwang:  How should success be defined and what role, if any, does “impact” have in that decision?

HWB:  I think for too long one’s personal success was defined in terms of wealth, power, or fame. I am happy to see more and more people, especially young people, demanding a different definition of success, one based on creating positive impact, or positive change in the world. That is certainly something we are seeing affect the definitions of success in philanthropy, particularly among a new generation of philanthropists coming out of the technology space, or by philanthropists like my Dad, who have learned first-hand that the old approach doesn’t offer lasting solutions.

Hwang:  You’re many things, but you’re both farmers: What does dirt have to teach us about life?

HGB: First of all, we don’t farm in dirt, we farm in soil. There’s an important distinction!

HWB: Soil is a living ecosystem, and is a farmer’s most precious asset. A farmer’s productive capacity is directly related to the health of his or her soil. There are more living organisms in a tablespoon of highly organic soil than there are people on the planet.

HGB: There are a lot of problems that technology and progress can solve for, but I have yet to see technology build organic matter in soil. If we don’t start taking care of our soil – and in Africa’s case, rebuilding highly weathered and degraded soil – we will not be able to meet our growing food needs.

HWB: Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

HGB:  And we each get a limited number of chances to do the best job possible. That’s true for farming – a farmer will have on average 40 crop seasons over a lifetime before turning the farm over to his son or daughter – and that’s true in life more generally.


How to be productive in a business environment?  Check out this Fast Company article.  How to be productive in your innovation ecosystem?  Check out the Global Innovation Summit. Early bird pricing ends today!



To Ernest Hemingway, writers are like wells: “The important thing is to have good water in the well,” he told the Paris Review, “and it is better to take a regular amount out than to pump the well dry and wait for it to refill.”

In this way, Hemingway coined the phrase leaving water in the well: instead of spending all your creative juices all at once, you leave a little bit of inspiration so that you can return to the same momentum that you left it with. Hemingway, whose habits of badass productivity we’ve talked about before, said to never stop writing without knowing how you are going to start again, to, in other words, never end a day’s work without knowing how you are going to start the next day. Read more here

Fury and adrenaline

Notes on the practice of innovation and technology commercialization

No one descends with such fury and in so great a number as a pack of hungry physicists, adrenalized by the scent of a new problem.”  D. Watts. Small Worlds: The dynamics of networks between order and randomness. Princeton University Press, 1999.

I’m postponing the promised discussion on learning from agile manufacturing (see my October blog Create early, use often: Lego™ blocks, learning objects, and ecosystems. Part 2 in order to talk about where my blogs are heading since I wrote the first one last February.

The point I’m attempting to make in these pages is that, at least in my experience, most analyses of technology commercialization are rather surface and have little depth or theoretical underpinnings. By comparison, economics, engineering, and law, each have an analytical base. Maybe this lack of depth is because it’s only been some 30 years since Paul Romer recognized technology as an endogenous growth factor. Of course, we are all aware of problems caused by physicists “descending” on economics and in some cases giving the practice an unjustifiable mathematical rigor based on unsustainable assumptions. I speak as a physicist myself – not an economist. I also speak not as an academic or researcher but as a practitioner seeking insights into practice.

In my work I find that technology commercialization methodologies for developing countries are frequently being unnecessarily re-invented, and reusable knowledge is not sufficiently shared (the topic of my last two blogs). My hypothesis is that this is because the basic analytical infrastructure which underpins commercialization activities in disparate regions of the world is not well understood, and that which is understood is not efficiently available to practitioners.

Through these blogs, In a small way, I’m trying to create a more complete basis together with tools, based on theory and practical experience, for use by practitioners.

So, having set this task, what does this “analytical base” look like – and where does JMW Turner’s 1805 Shipwreck painting (below) come into the story?Image

Previous blogs in this series have discussed, in addition to reusable knowledge objects, the role of networks and links, decision making and problem solving, transaction costs, imperfect optimization, and complexity. It is this latter topic – complexity – which will be the rationale for the next few blogs which will attempt to at least approach an analytical foundation. We shall begin to see how these ideas relate to issues in The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley by T2VC’s founders Greg Horowitt and Victor Hwang and how the book’s principles can be applied.

We will try to collect results from researchers and practitioners applicable to technology commercialization and, more broadly, creating the architecture of economic development ecosystems. This will not be a simple task as thousands of research papers, blogs, and articles are published each year on this subject.

At two ends of the application spectrum, Jean Boulton talks about the world as a complex system So the world is a complex system – what should aid agencies do differently?  whereas Ian McCarthy applies ideas of complex adaptive systems to new product development New Product Development as a Complex Adaptive System

We live in a complex and non-linear ecosystem usually in far from equilibrium situations so I begin by briefly explaining these terms, in the present context, along with related concepts.      

There are many definitions of a complex system (which reflects the fact that we have an incomplete understanding of such systems). An informal definition is a large network of relatively simple components with no central control, in which emergent complex behavior is exhibited.  We will return to “emergence” in a later blog. The term “adaptive” is often appended to complex systems and means a system which is capable of learning.

This definition can be extended by saying that a complex system is a system which has heterogeneous smaller parts, each carrying out some specialized function, not necessarily exclusively, which then interact in such a way as to give integrated responses. In a complex system, as opposed to a complicated one, the function of the whole in a complex system cannot always be guessed from the function of its parts, and the reassembly of the parts does not always give back this function. This extended definition is based on work by David Snowden, which we shall discuss in future blogs.

Colonies of ants, our immune system, flocks of birds (below), and the World Wide Web are examples of such systems.Image

The notion of nonlinearity is important here: the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Innovation is considered to be such a system which also exhibits another property of nonlinearity, namely, where the same input may not always yield the same output. This means that to understand a complex system we have to study the system as a whole; different from the “reductionist” methodology of decomposing systems into their individual components to see how they work.

Some results from research in complex systems we might say are common sense (which is another way of expressing our personal experience) such as the theory behind the emergence of new ideas from a group of people arguing with each other. Other results may be counter-intuitive, such as how small changes in initial conditions may produce large effects later on.

And Turner’s Shipwreck painting?  His magnificent brush strokes show a Far from equilibrium state. That is, one in which it is definitely not business-as-usual and events are occurring which push a system into a highly dynamic and unstable state. Much more about this concept later.

Next time: If all of life is a dispute (according to Nietzsche), let’s argue – a case example of a far from equilibrium state of affairs in technology commercialization.

Rainforest Rev: Frontier Experience and Lessons in Leadership

This is the last week to get the best early bird price for the Global Innovation Summit! Discounts as great as 75% off are available through Friday, Nov 22! The prices increase after Nov.22.  Act fast and don’t wait!
The Summit is on February 17-19, 2014, in Silicon Valley. To apply for an invitation for this special event, please visit Join us to celebrate the rise of the world’s innovation ecosystems!

The Latest News on Innovation Ecosystems – How Do We Create Innovative Environments in Companies, Communities and Countries?


Creativity As A Kind Of Frontier Experience: Ideas For Rainforest Architects

By Jiro Tanaka, Rainforest Architect, from The Innovation Rainforest Blog
In The Rainforest book, Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt write about the “frontier experience” and how essential it was for the growth of Silicon Valley. At its core, the quintessentially American frontier experience was a disruption of rigid, established hierarchies—one that created a space from which new forms of cooperation and mutualism emerged. Once the old “conventional walls and hierarchies have been broken down,” new modes of trust and connection come into play. Much of The Rainforest is about forming the kind of social networks that permit a “promiscuity of ideas,” the free play of ideas required to generate startling and valuable innovations. Read more here.

Lessons In Leadership: It’s Not About You. (It’s About Them)
National Public Radio
The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem. That notion of leadership is bankrupt. That approach only works for technical problems, where there’s a right answer and an expert knows what it is. Leadership is about mobilizing and engaging the people with the problem rather than trying to anesthetize them so you can go off and solve it on your own. Read more here.

Why Cities Are Our Most Important Innovation Platform
Innovation ecosystem has three elements that are crucial—talent, technology and tolerance—all of which cities have in spades. As Steve Jobs noted, creativity is about connecting things.  The more random collisions you have with people who have different ideas, the more creative you’ll be.  That’s why he designed Apple’s new headquarters to facilitate interactions, with lots of open spaces and common areas. Read more here.

Innovate Or Evaporate
The Huffington Post
Neuroscience is teaching us that innovation is hardwired in our brain. When fear “owns our brains” we cannot think creatively. The part of our brain needed for thinking in new ways closes down–the prefrontal cortex or the executive brain–and the primitive brain called the reptilian brain (better known as the amygdala) masters our mind, and then? All we think about is how to protect ourselves. Read more here.


Creating An Innovation System For Knowledge City
RAND Corporation
China’s Guangzhou Development District (GDD) will be the site of the new innovation cluster known as Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City. Establishing an innovation-oriented financing system will be critical to its development. The Knowledge City will not have an innate advantage over competing areas, so it must develop assets to attract innovative firms and their workers.  Read more here.
What Israel Can Teach About Fostering Business innovation
The Globe and Mail
Israel’s  chief scientist’s $450-million (U.S.) budget spawns $1-billion worth of R&D investment every year, a key piece of the model that has made Israel the runaway leader in civilian R&D spending with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development club of wealthy countries. Governments may not be particularly good at mentoring entrepreneurs or growing companies. But they are uniquely able to shoulder risks, particularly over the longer haul, that private investors won’t touch. Read more here.
Four ideas From Silicon Valley On Creating Scale From Britain’s Startups
UK STARTUPS don’t lack enthusiasm (over 440,000 have been founded in 2013 so far), but Britain lags behind the US in the number that reach scale. This is an economically important issue. A report by the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses UK programme found that just 1 per cent of all firms – high-growth small businesses, on the OECD definition – created 23 per cent of all new jobs between 1998 and 2010. Read more here.
Miami’s Tech Start-up Scene Is Heating Up
USA Today
A new technology innovation ecosystem is forming in Miami. Great weather, cheaper real estate, labor and being the gateway to Latin America doesn’t hurt either. The bottom line: Miami’s a great place to live and work, and now, with a tech scene that’s organized and united, the future can only hold promise. Read more here.

Lessons In Leadership: It’s Not About You. (It’s About Them) – National Public Radio


Ronald Heifetz draws on his training as a psychiatrist to coach aspiring leaders at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Want to learn more about leadership lessons?  Come to the Global Innovation Summit 2014 on February 17-21, 2014 in Silicon Valley!

Ronald Heifetz has been a professor of public leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School for three decades, teaching classes that have included aspiring business leaders and budding heads of state. Each year, he says, the students start his course thinking they’ll learn the answer to one question:

As leaders, how can they get others to follow them?

Heifetz says that whole approach is wrong.

“The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem,” he says. “I think that notion of leadership is bankrupt.” That approach only works for technical problems, he says, where there’s a right answer and an expert knows what it is.

Heifetz trained as a psychiatrist, and he describes his view of effective leadership with an analogy from medicine. “When a patient comes to a surgeon, the surgeon’s default setting is to say, ‘You’ve got a problem? I’ll take the problem off your shoulders and I’ll deliver back to you a solution.’ In psychiatry, when a person comes to you with a problem, it’s not your job actually to solve their problem. It’s your job to develop their capacity to solve their own problem.”

Read more here:


Creativity as a Kind of Frontier Experience: Ideas for Rainforest Architects


Albert Bierstadt, The Oregon Trail, 1869.

In The Rainforest, Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt write about the “frontier experience” and how essential it was for the growth of Silicon Valley. At its core, the quintessentially American frontier experience was a disruption of rigid, established hierarchies—one that created a space from which new forms of cooperation and mutualism emerged. Drawing on the work of the historian Frederick Jackson Turner, Hwang and Horowitt write: “The moving ‘frontier line’ meant that American culture had evolved away from traditional European style institutions on the East Coast—such as established churches, aristocracies, strong governments, and landed gentry.” (Ch. 5: “Rules of the Rainforest”)

Once the old “conventional walls and hierarchies have been broken down,” new modes of trust and connection come into play. Much of The Rainforest is about forming the kind of social networks that permit a “promiscuity of ideas,” the free play of ideas required to generate startling and valuable innovations.

Modern psychology and neuroscience have been telling us something similar about human creativity in general. The ability to look at an issue sideways or to see new combinations of old ideas requires that we break out of habitual patterns and automatic mental associations. Easier said than done. For all our talk (and TED talks!) about creativity, we often forget that it is far easier to fall back into mental routines and habits. To demonstrate how tricky and subtle our own mental processes are, let’s conduct this simple experiment:

Consider the moon. No really, think about it in great detail. Imagine it however you wish: maybe it’s the last time you saw a full moon, or the last time you could clearly see the craters and valleys. Stop reading and take a few moments to think about it. What were you experiencing when you saw it? If you’re having trouble recalling, take a look at one of these:

  moon09     moon03

We’ll get back to that in a second (and don’t skip ahead!).

In a famous line from Remembrance of Things Past, the great French novelist Marcel Proust wrote: “Perhaps the immobility of the things that surround us is forced upon them… by the immobility of our conception of them.” Psychologists love to quote from Proust, primarily because he intuited some interesting things—for example, about memory and smell—that scientists would begin to explain only decades later.

Now, please think of a brand of laundry detergent and write down the very first name that comes to mind. (Try not to filter your response, and don’t read ahead!)


The most famous scene in Proust’s novel is that of the petite madeleine, a little scallop-shaped cookie, dipped in tea. When the narrator is offered the madeleine, its taste and smell, combined with that of the tea, spark the vivid recollection of a life that had, until that point, been buried in the distant past.

“[…I]n that moment all the flowers in our garden, and the water-lilies on the Vivonne and the good folk of the village and their little dwellings and the parish church and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, towns and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.”

In fact, the remembrance of this life is so vivid and detailed that the ensuing story encompasses six large volumes, and Proust himself never finished writing the story!

OK. Back to our experiment. What’s the brand of laundry detergent that you wrote down? Chances are you picked “Tide”—and not All, Wisk, Arm & Hammer, Purex, Gain, Seventh Generation, or your local grocer’s knock-off brand. Why? Because the association between the moon and the tide are strong enough that they’re “called up” in memory, even if you don’t consciously access it. It’s possible that you may be one of the few who didn’t pick Tide, but when this experiment is run with large audiences, the trend holds up.

Now, you may argue that Tide simply has a larger market share and is the most common brand, and that’s why you picked it. (Be honest: when was the last time you actually bought Tide?) I’ll even concede that I cheated by showing you some pictures of the moon. However, the experiment has been repeated with other cues, using more obscure categories or subtler stimuli. Psychologists call it “priming,” and some researchers have claimed that our unconscious associations may also reside at the core of stereotyping.

One prevalent theory on this phenomenon is that we seem to think in “frames,” or conceptual networks of associated concepts, images and meanings. The linguist George Lakoff famously started his lectures with the command: “Don’t think of an elephant!” You can’t do it, of course, despite the command “Don’t!” What’s more, many of your associations with an elephant—the trunk, the floppy ears, the tail, maybe a story from Rudyard Kipling—have been pre-loaded, even if you haven’t consciously accessed them yet. To use a baseball metaphor, they’re in the “on-deck” circle, even if they’re not up to bat yet.

Interestingly, the inability of computers to “think” in frames is a complicated problem in artificial intelligence research; it’s very difficult to get a computer to understand context or implied meaning. This is also why learning how to program can be so challenging—you have to instruct a computer, step by step, to do things that you can do automatically!

*          *          *

Researchers who study creativity come up with many scenarios, all designed to find out how people avoid the obvious, automatic choices to discover new or unexpected associations. For example, think of a tattered piece of tablecloth, and all the various things you could compare it to. Can you come up with some startling metaphors or similes? They can be humorous and light, or deep and insightful—whatever you’d like. Here’s what the poet Pablo Neruda penned:

A day like a tatter of tablecloth drying
flaps in a circle of lives and extension.

Wow. I had many associations, but nothing like that! Maybe you fared better. And yes, we often run the risk of blurting out absurd, silly creations and neologisms. But it’s worth it, because sometimes a jarring juxtaposition can shake us out of our slumber and offer some brief respite from the routinely automatic—and maybe we can derive some pleasure, if not wisdom from the experience.

This is why we spend so much time and money consuming art, and it’s the reason why we prize great art. It’s also why big companies that value creativity, like Google, expend resources to ensure that their employees can play ping-pong, mingle and wander on campus. It’s to get them to a mental frontier—that place where one can let go of, or at least suspend, one’s habitual conceptualizing and problem solving.

Or, to return to the frontier experience from American history: it’s the place where one might just succeed in escaping the “East Coast of the mind,” with its rigid hierarchies, efficient means-to-ends, and established ways of doing. It’s the place that permits disruption, recombination, and reassembly into new forms of cooperation among ideas and people alike. Yes, it’s risky and can produce monstrosities of the imagination, but sometimes it can also yield inventions that change our lives.

How Big Companies Can Innovate Like Start-Ups – Forbes

Every public company CEO is under tremendous pressure to increase revenue and profits every quarter.  It’s an exhausting treadmill and nearly impossible to do without innovation and creating new businesses (startups) inside the public company.  But public companies are not architected to create startups or attract and retain entrepreneurs who have a built successful businesses from just an idea.  Thus the reason most public companies grow and innovate by acquisition… read more here:


latest newsletter from T2 – Rainforest Rev: Sustainable Innovation and Do You Want the Impossible?

Global Innovation Summit early bird deadline is rapidly approaching.  Don’t wait to be a part of an electric few days that will challenge the status quo and make you look at things entirely differently as we celebrate the rise of the world’s innovation ecosystems.  
The deadline for early bird registration is Friday, November 22, 2013.  Register by this deadline and receive 25% to 40% off the registration fee!  To get your invitation to register for this exclusive event visit  This year the Summit is February 17-19, 2014 and is part of an exciting week of activities in the Silicon Valley with numerous companies hosting ancillary events through Feb 21st.

The Latest News on Innovation Ecosystems – How Do We Create Innovative Environments in Companies, Communities and Countries?

Six Lessons for Sustainable Innovation

IESE Insight
Collaboration in innovation takes many forms. A common model is the triple helix, which refers to the triad of business, academia and government. The quadruple helix adds media- and culture-based perspectives, which may come in the form of civil society actors, many of whom actively design their own services, providing critical input at key stages in the innovation process. Other innovation models, such as user-centered design and open innovation, have also gained traction, particularly in corporate circles.  In the analysis of these various innovation models, the study finds that no single approach dominates yet key features of each may offer a powerful lens to examine future sustainable living. Read more here.
If You Want The Impossible, Just Ask For It
By Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
We are wired to achieve, it seems, and calling out to that inner drive is what may distinguish the innovative, dynamic organization from the staid, somber one. The audacity to ask for the impossible — the urgent –  will create effort that is totally disproportional to the likelihood of individual reward.  When we are engaged with something that occurs as bigger than ourselves as individuals, some genuine cultural magic occurs: 1) Organizational Barriers Go Away 2) Urgency Eliminates Silliness 3) Speed Encourages Risk 4) Judgment Becomes Critique. Read more here.

Three Creativity Challenges from IDEO’s Leaders

Harvard Business Review
How to push yourself to think divergently? Mindmaps are a powerful way to overcome fear of the blank page, look for patterns, explore a subject, come up with truly innovative ideas, record their evolution so you can trace back in search of new insights, and communicate your thought processes to others. While lists help you capture the thoughts you already have, mindmaps help to generate wildly new ones.  Another way to be creative is to observe human behavior.  Synthesize your observation and research by creating an “empathy map”. Read more here.

Is Creativity Endangered? Work Has Changed; Management Should
The New York Times
Companies should nurture both this mind-set and the more goal-oriented strategic creativity. One recommendation is to avoid dilution of individual creativity. It’s popular to use group brainstorming, but many heads are not necessarily better than one. Many heads often reduce creativity by producing group-think. Give individuals space to create, with well-defined goals. Then use the group to build on those ideas and to improvise. Read more here.
3 ways to build a better city
Developing a world-class city often involves creating a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem. New studies from McKinsey and the National League of Cities, both reveal ways in which local governments and leaders aren’t waiting for national policies to change, but are taking matters into their own hands to build cities with sustainable models that will promote ongoing growth. Read more here.

The five contradictory reasons Silicon Valley’s success won’t be replicated elsewhere
Silicon Valley Business Journal
Silicon Valley is a meritocracy for people who have executed something, and compared to other places, there’s definitely a focus on equality.  Accenture’s research found that IT professionals in Silicon Valley are simultaneously: 1) Laid-back, yet driven for speed 2) Committed, yet independent 3) Competitive, yet cooperative 4) Pragmatic, yet optimistic 5) Extrinsically motivated. Money motivates people, but their fulfillment comes from being recognized for their creativity and innovation. Read more here.


Building Innovation Ecosystems in Porto Alegre, Brazil 
YouTube video
Porto Alegre has a rich base of resources: high quality universities, great companies and talented people.  But the people seemed disconnected from one another – the “invisible infrastructure”  of the community is missing.  It’s the culture and how people behave that make the difference. People need to trust one another and work across diverse groups of people. The system needs to design opportunities for serendipity to happen. People can bump into one another and form new ideas easily.  Watch video here.
Innovation in Iraq Context
Iraq STI – Iraq Science, Technology and Innovation Blog 
The existing national innovation ecosystem in Iraq lacks several basic and important components. The relationship between economic firms and research organizations need to be strengthened and new modes of coöperation have to be developed. Improving the innovation system in Iraq will have an important impact on economic activity and will help in implementing two important goals of Iraq development, economic diversification and job creation. Read more here.
Silicon Savannah 
Africa has an abundance of natural resources, a rising middle class, a deep penetration of mobile phones and, in another 20 years, it will have the largest concentration of young people on Earth. This continent is about to explode economically. IBM is opening a new technology center in Nairobi, it will beckons the African diaspora. Read more here.