Announcing Our New Book, The Rainforest Scorecard

I’m proud to announce the publication of a new book today. It’s a short book, at only 40 pages. But it is grand in ambition.

What makes this little book so ambitious? We believe it is the world’s first comprehensive scientific measurement tool for growing innovative, entrepreneurial ecosystems. Its authors, Henry H. Doss and Alistair M. Brett, have made a profound gift to the world. We’ll feature it in our upcoming Global Innovation Summit in four weeks in Silicon Valley.

The book is called The Rainforest Scorecard: A Practical Framework for Growing Innovation Potential. It’s the third book in our series on building innovative, entrepreneurial ecosystems. Our first book, The Rainforest, explains the scientific theory and models for complex ecosystems like Silicon Valley. The second book, The Rainforest Blueprint, is a usable design handbook for the broader public. This third book seeks the next step: to provide a practical tool for measuring and growing ecosystems in all types of organizations, public and private, large and small.

Why does the world need such a tool? Because the game has changed. The age of industrialization has passed, and the world has entered the age of innovation. The Rainforest Scorecard should be understood in its historical context.

In a way, the book actually started being written 27 years ago. In 1988, the Department of Commerce created the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to establish a systematic standard for measuring corporate efficiency and productivity. The Baldrige program was called by Professor David Garvin of the Harvard Business School “the most important catalyst for transforming American business. More than any other initiative, public or private, it has reshaped managers’ thinking and behavior.”

The Rainforest Scorecard was inspired by the Baldrige program and adopts a similar methodological approach. But it is different, because innovation is the counterpoint to production. Whereas production calls for predictability, innovation allows for mistakes and failures. Whereas production calls for efficiency, innovation seeks experimentation. Whereas production often calls for cold-blooded competition, innovation thrives on positive-sum collaboration among diverse strangers.

Production is like prose. Innovation is like poetry. We must live our lives with both, but we must recognize the difference. The book seeks to strike that balance.

This Rainforest project is bigger than us. It’s about transforming the way the world thinks of economic value. That is why we are releasing this new book under a Creative Commons license, so that the world can “remix, tweak, and build upon” this work non-commercially. We just ask that you credit the original book and license your work under the same terms.

We hope this book is a useful lever for leaders seeking to foster innovation. A new economic paradigm is emerging based on entire innovative ecosystems, not just the strength of input factors. Such ecosystems, at a micro level, depend on interactions among human beings. Those patterns of interactions are what we call culture. Culture, therefore, is a lever for economic growth.

Think about that statement. It is revolutionary. This little book is our attempt to nudge the world forward.

Victor W. Hwang is the Executive Director of Global Innovation Summit + Week, a conference that convenes 50 countries on building ecosystems to foster entrepreneurial innovation. He is primary author of The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.

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