Rainforest Rev: Status Quo Leadership and How to Promote Entrepreneurship


Status Quo Leadership Is The Biggest Impediment To Innovation

Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
If you’re looking for an innovation revolution in your organization, don’t look for more money or more places to spend money.  Don’t look for activities or tactical interventions or things to do. Look for heroes. Read more here.

Guidelines for Local and State Governments to Promote Entrepreneurship 

Kauffman Foundation
Two commonly used strategies to promote entrepreneurship are public venture funds and business incubators. They have failed to foster entrepreneurship because the tactics are not suited to the experiential and collaborative process that characterizes entrepreneurship. They often neglect an essential principle: connectivity and learning by entrepreneurs. Read more here.

In The Future, Nothing is Certain Except Uncertainty

An open collaborative culture will foster the kind of continuous innovation required to survive in the future. In a world where everyone and everything is ripe for disruption, experimental organizations that welcome unwelcome ideas will flourish. Read more here.

What Is the Next ‘Next Silicon Valley’?

The New York Times
Nerds love Silicon Valley. The gap between San Jose and the No. 2 metro area is large. Seattle, no tech slouch with Microsoft, Amazon, Zillow and others, has 16 percent of its work force in advanced industry compared with 30 percent for San Jose. Many successful start-ups start somewhere else but eventually get sucked into the Silicon Valley vortex. Read more here.


‘Piggybackers’ Hitch Themselves to Airbnb, Uber

The Wall Street Journal
Many entrepreneurs are building derivative startups, or businesses pegged to others’ success.  At least half a dozen businesses are pegged to Airbnb in the last three years. Read more here.

Technology Startups Take Root in Tehran

The Wall Street Journal
Foreign companies, deterred by international sanctions or banned in Iran, have yet to launch Iranian versions of their content. Iranian versions of Amazon, Google Play, Groupon fill the void left by censorship. Read more here.

Report: Venture Capitalists Invested $470M in 53 Deals in First Half of 2014

San Diego Business Journal
Venture capitalists invested $470 million in 53 deals in San Diego during the first half of 2014. Entrepreneurs created 228 startups in innovative vertical markets in San Diego during the period. Read more here.


Licensing Executives Society Silicon Valley Chapter’s 15th Annual Conference
Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Palo Alto, CA

Licensing in Sports and Entertainment Conference. Meet the minds behind the licensing of such mega-hits and teams as Star Trek, Star Wars, San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers, PAC-12, and the media & technology companies that fuel them, including Technicolor, Dolby Laboratories, TiVo, and Starz!

Wold Cup Tech Challenge

Apply now to represent your startup—and your country —at the World Cup Tech Challenge on June 4th, 2015 at Microsoft in Silicon Valley! Startups accepted into the World Cup Tech Challenge are in a pre-global stage, meaning they have launched their products in their respective local markets and now ready for a global launch. We welcome startups from all over the world to apply to present their product—and represent their country—at the 2nd Annual World Cup Tech Challenge 2015! Don’t miss your chance to win the Cup, a fabulous cash prize, and more. Check it out on www.worldcuptech.com!

Apply to qualify to one of the Tech Groups Below:
1. Digital Media
2. HealthTech
3. FinTech
4. Next Gen Technology
5. EdTech
6. Enterprise Software

How to apply:
In order to be considered for the competition, please visit worldcuptech.com and fill out the application form. The deadline for submission is May 4, 2015; however, the 35 investor judges are screening applications as they come in, and therefore strongly encourage you to send in your application before the deadline. The 24 qualified startups will be announced no later than May 15th, 2015.

For questions or concerns, please visit worldcuptech.com or contact at worldcuptech@svforum.org.

Can Sherlock Holmes help us make decisions?

Yes, I have a turn both for observation and for deduction. The theories which I have expressed there, and which appear to you to be so chimerical are really extremely practical—so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese.” Sherlock Holmes. The Sign of Four, Chapter 2: The Science of Deduction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1890.

In the March 2015 blog Practical Reasoning: Decision making in Rainforest innovation ecosystems in this series, we quoted David Milligan from his book Reasoning and the Explanations of Actions, written in 1980 but still fresh. Milligan explains that a good deliberative reasoner is “not someone who simply obeys the rules of logic,” but someone who is also a sound judge, can make intelligent decisions, and can defend his or her decisions about how to act by pointing to reasons which support actions.decision-making-fork-2

Relating decision making to action, or a series of actions, based on these decisions goes far beyond explaining how a system state came to be, but produces interventions to change the present system state to a future desired state through reasoned actions.

We also noted that rather than downgrading the importance of logic, Milligan work launches us into the necessary search for non-deductive ways of reasoning and decision making in environments where there is an abundance of wicked problems – which is almost everywhere. (Don’t try to tame wicked problems: Part 1).

Let’s see how this works in practice by taking an example from commercializing university research through creating a new business around the technology (a spin-off company). See a previous blog in this series Solving the Right Problem: Part 1 for more on spin-offs.

What characteristics of the university’s innovation environment might support greater spin-off company activity? To make things simple, consider the case of trying to reason and choose one of just two options out of many possibilities:

  • Resources: make available more financial and supportive resources for spin-off creation.
  • Culture: develop a culture of innovation throughout the university and its broader stakeholder community.

After deliberation, two reasons emerge as reasons in favor of Culture which we will call P, and Q. Two reasons against Culture also emerge which we will call R and S. It turns out that P and Q outweigh R and S, therefore Culture development is the better option.

In linear systems the argument from the P and Q to the selection of Culture must be deductive, although neither P nor Q is necessarily a conclusive reason for Culture. In non-linear complex (Rainforest) systems where wicked problems are the norm, and deduction cannot be used, forming an acceptable good reason involves deliberation involving evaluations, sometimes called reason statements, which can be defended, or indeed changed if they fail to hold up against a challenge. This reasoning will typically involve drawing non-deductive conclusions from observations.

An example of this is when we deploy The Rainforest Scorecard: A Practical Framework for Growing Innovation Potential process and scoring model introduced in our January bonus-blog Measuring Culture, Performance, and Innovation.

When the Scorecard is applied reasoning is used in two ways.

  1. To qualitatively apply non-deductive reasoning to produce a quantitative score for each of the 6 Scorecard categories: Leadership; Frameworks, Infrastructure, Policies; Resources; Activities, Engagements, Role Models; and Culture.
  2. To find relationships between the 6 categories from Scorecard data collected during its application.

In both cases deliberation, producing reason statements, draws on experience, knowledge networks, references to related past results, cognitive insights, contexts, cost-effectiveness, and so forth. In some cases deliberation may also identify a small number of key variables which greatly influence results – more on this in a future blog.

For details of finding relationships between the 6 Scorecard categories see the Forbes blog by the Rainforest Scorecard co-author Henry Doss, Status Quo Leadership is the Biggest Impediment to Innovation.

As Milligan notes “reasons can be good and sufficient to justify a conclusion without being deductive… in the context of deliberations reasons which are not deductive are the most important.”

Or as Sherlock Holmes put it, don’t rely entirely on deduction to make a living.