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

o John E Dunn 
27.11.2013 kl 13:34 | Techworld.com

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: http://news.idg.no/cw/art.cfm?id=017DD60E-0E47-278A-334C4EC17F339287
#GISummit2014

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

THE BIG PICTURE
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
Knowledge@Wharton
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.


THE LATEST NEWS
London Hipsters Lose to Cambridge Labs in Venture Funding
Bloomberg
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
Forbes
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! http://www.innosummit.com #GISummit2014
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Victor W. Hwang

Victor W. Hwang, Contributor

My mission: to design ecosystems that nurture innovators & dreamers

ENTREPRENEURS 
 

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.

BI8U81981

(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.


HEMINGWAY’S SECRET TO MAINTAINING PRODUCTIVE MOMENTUM – Fast Company

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! http://www.innosummit.com/

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BY 

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 http://www.fastcompany.com/3021905/work-smart/hemingways-secret-to-maintaining-productive-momentum


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 http://innovationrainforest.com/2013/10/13/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 http://www.therainforestbook.com/ 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? http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=9645  whereas Ian McCarthy applies ideas of complex adaptive systems to new product development New Product Development as a Complex Adaptive System http://itdepends4.blogspot.ca/2012/09/new-product-development-as-complex.html?goback=.gde_76119_member_194199540

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 innosummit.com. 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?

THE BIG PICTURE

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
Forbes
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.


THE LATEST NEWS
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
CITY A.M.
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

Image

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! http://www.innosummit.com/#global-innovation

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: http://www.npr.org/2013/11/11/230841224/lessons-in-leadership-its-not-about-you-its-about-them?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=20131117&utm_source=mostemailed