Rainforest Rev: Who Created the Economy?


Who Created The Economy?

Economic prosperity was an evolutionary phenomenon. The more people trade and the more they divide labour, the more they are working for each other. The more they work for each other, the higher their living standards. The consequence of the division of labour is an immense web of cooperation among strangers. Read more…

The Dawn Of The “Craft Economy”?

Innovation Observer
Small companies can now compete with larger players, and even disrupt them with the ferocity not imagined just a few decades ago. The real question of today is how small and large companies can work together to ensure global economic growth through innovation. Read more…

How The Arts Add To Urban Economies

The Atlantic
A recent study finds substantial evidence that performing arts organizations can help cities attract talent, spur innovation, and grow their economies. These organizations can be the proxy for the broader creative and cultural climate of a city. Read more…

To Succeed As An Entrepreneur, Focus On The 5 Golden Priorities

Five priorities to serve as entrepreneurial groundwork: innovation, profitability, cash flow, culture and improvement. Read more…


The Surprising Startup Hub That’s Second Only to Silicon Valley

The Nordic countries, particularly Sweden, have the highest percentage of unicorns per capita in the world, and have developed more successful brand-name billion-dollar startups. Read more…

How A Nation Of Tech Copycats Transformed Into A Hub For Innovation

China’s old attitude has been swept aside by a surge in prosperity. There is a new level of confidence and boldness in the country’s young urban techies. Read more…

Despite Unrest, The Israeli Tech Ecosystem Is Flourishing

Tech Crunch
Global capital is streaming into Israel, despite the regional instability. The Israeli venture ecosystem has more than doubled in two years. Read more…

Rainforest Rev: Does Corporate Culture Really Matter?


The Big Question: Does corporate culture really matter?

Capital Ideas, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Corporate culture is the key determinate of the firm’s reputation. Culture acts as an overarching framework for employee behavior. Leaders demonstrate and set examples for others to follow. As the company grows, employee selection and training become the levers to inculcate the company core values. Read more...

Building A Rainforest Firm: Lessons From Silicon Valley

Promote leaders who are “keystones” in leveraging the collaborative potential of your team. They will be brokers of trust and cooperation among everyone else in the firm. Read more…

An Evolutionary Approach to Sustainability Science

Social Evolution Forum
If the strength of selection on groups for resource conservation is stronger than the strength of selection on individuals for greater consumption, costly conservation practices and group-beneficial policies are likely to emerge. Read more…

7 Ways to Nurture Your Creative Soul

The bias of our perspective is rooted in our expertise; it influences the way we see the world. Step into the worlds of your teammates and study their processes and understand their methodology.  It can in turn provide insights on what you can tinker with your own creative process. Read more…

4 Key Ingredients For Creating An Ideas Incubator

Fast Company
Large companies must find a way to make these incubator initiatives feel like meaningful, all-or-nothing endeavors, much like how entrepreneurs feel. To stay on top through innovation, corporations need to adopt the hands-off stance of an investor. Read more…


Engineers Meet Artists: Discover the Startup Ecosystem in Bristol and Bath

The Next Web
There’s a burgeoning startup ecosystem in Bristol and Bath, which form part of the so-called Silicon Gorge in the south west of England. Read more…

Silicon Prairie: Tech Startups Find A Welcoming Home In The Midwest

National Public Radio
One of the secrets to the economic success of Lincoln, a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, is a surprisingly strong tech startup community that is part of what some in the region are calling the Silicon Prairie. Read more…

These Are the 20 Richest Cities in America

Bloomberg Business
San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle house more headquarters of the world’s largest technology companies than other places. These cities are also some of the most productive hubs in the U.S. economy. Read more…

Rainforest Rev: Reinventing the Company


Reinventing The Company

The Economist
Startups are redesigning the basic building block of capitalism. The disrupters are reinventing how business works. They are also reinventing what it is to be a company. Today’s startups are pioneering a new sort of company that can do a better job while exploiting new technology. Read more…

How Can Your Company Create A Culture Of Innovation?

World Economic Forum and Knowledge Wharton
We need to learn the art of celebrating failures and the lessons from those failures, so that people push the boundaries, try new things, experiment, co-create with the customers and build an environment that is full of innovation, and that keeps you progressing in short bursts along with your customer. Read more…

Innovation Isn’t So Much About The Eureka Moment

PBS Newshour
The processes to create the Reebok Pump & helmet impact sensor were mundane and tedious. First they establish a clear objective, then conceptualize what they want to do, explore what materials they need to build the product, and then assemble it. Read more…


An Orange Carpet for Entrepreneurs

Kauffman Foundation
Four years after the White House launched the Startup America project, more than 60 nations have emulated the effort in different ways. The StartupDelta was set up to establish the Netherlands as one of the top three most attractive startup ecosystems in Europe. Read more…

Brunei Darussalam: A Time for Stock Taking

Southeast Asian Affairs
Brunei’s government is moving beyond the oil and gas industry, which has dominated its country. Progress can be seen in three clusters of domestic business enterprises: small/micro industries in services or products; Information and Communications Technology-related enterprises, and large industries through foreign investment and joint ventures. Read more…

The Best and Worst Countries to Run a Business, According to the World Bank

The Wall Street Journal
The top 10—the most business-friendly countries—were largely unchanged from last year, with Singapore holding its No. 1 ranking and the U.S. still in the No. 7 spot. Eritrea, Libya, South Sudan and Venezuela were ranked the worst countries to try and run a business, respectively. Read more…

Rainforest Rev: Innovative Organizations and Design Firms


The Innovative Organization: Learning From Design Firms

Design firms align their innovation processes to discern unarticulated, even unconscious, user needs. Designers generate new ideas based on user insights within an atmosphere of freedom and playfulness. Producing fast and cheap dummy versions to test out concepts means that even when the experiments flop, failures are not negative events but learning experiences. Read more…

Winds Of Change At Dyson

Fast Company
The company’s innovation team comes up with a dozen prototypes, which are modeled and shown off to other engineers every week. The most promising, no matter how seemingly far-fetched, are sent to James Dyson himself. An engineer could work up his prototype and have it in hand by the end of the day.  Then comes the long testing process. Read more…

Why Lego’s CEO Thinks More Grown-Ups Should Play At Work

The Huffington Post
Playfulness is at the root of creativity. Injecting a sense of fun into work situations gives everyone permission to be more authentic and to take risks. Out of that comes greater innovation, more collaboration and richer learning. Read more…

Five Ways To Make Innovation ‘Sticky’

The Brookings Institution
Unfortunately, America’s ability to capture the benefits of the domestic scale-up of U.S. technology innovation remains spotty.  Making innovation sticky depends on strengthening local ecosystems. Read more…

Are Big Cities Still A Primary Engine For Scientific Innovation?

National Public Radio
Groups of people who are thinking about similar things – when they get together, they’re much more productive than if they were not together. A new analysis from Stanford University suggests that, when it comes to invention and to scientific innovation, it’s not as important as it used to be. Read more…


Michigan State University Business Librarian Book Report

Northern Lakes Economic Alliance
If you are going to create new products or services, then The Rainforest Blueprint is insightful in helping you to conceptualize the goal of developing innovation capability and to plan the steps to carry it out. Read more…

Global Cities 2015: The Race Accelerates 

A.T. Kearney
Sixteen global cities dominate with their ability to attract and retain global capital, people, and ideas, as well as their future prospects. New York, London, Paris and San Francisco lead in the latest research. Read more…

Iran’s Digital Start-Ups Signal Changing Times

Western business people returning to Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal may be surprised to find plenty of entrepreneurial drive from a new generation of online start-ups, which have appeared despite years of international sanctions. Read more…

Santiago’s Startup Culture In ‘Chilecon Valley’

The Wall Street Journal
Start-Up Chile in Santiago provides entrepreneurs with $40,000 and a six-month residency visa to launch their businesses. The government aims to turn the city into Latin America’s innovation and tech hub. Read more…

Rainforest Rev: Emotions That Make Us More Creative


The Emotions That Make Us More Creative

Harvard Business Review
Recent research suggests that the critical variable influencing one’s scope of attention is not emotional valence (positive vs. negative emotions) but motivational intensity, or how strongly you feel compelled to either approach or avoid something. Read more here.

Rules Of Engagement: How To Tango With Startups

Big companies should create an ecosystem that encompasses partnerships with different types of entities. Also, they should build a portfolio of engagements that represents the different stages of innovation, from generating ideas to buying a technology to acquiring a company. Read more here.

Collaborative Innovation: Transforming Business, Driving Growth

World Economic Forum
European corporates and start-ups must collaborate more and better on innovation if Europe is to remain internationally competitive. Read more here.

How To Hack Creativity

The Next Web
Understanding the way your brain works and regularly training it can help you better exploit your limited creativity reserves and increase them over time. Read more here.


Improving The Mongolian Labor Market And Enhancing Opportunities For Youth

RAND Corporation
Despite a recent slowdown, Mongolia has experienced dramatic economic growth in the 2000s, exceeding global trends. Foreign direct investment, mining, infrastructure spending, and strong fiscal and monetary stimulus measures have driven much of this growth. Read more here.

How Blazing Internet Speeds Helped Chattanooga Shed Its Smokestack Past

Chattanooga is building the largest and fastest Internet networks in the Western Hemisphere. It has attracted billions of dollars in new investment and a flock of entrepreneurs to the city. Read more here.

Getting To Cambridge

The Economist
A marriage of academia, private money and entrepreneurial savvy—exemplifies that of Cambridge. What began with the creation of business parks to host enterprising dons and their doctoral students in the 1970s has grown into the most exciting technology cluster in Europe. Read more here.

Women Make Strides In Business Ownership

The Wall Street Journal 
The growth rate of new businesses remains stalled, but the share of women-owned firms has climbed. Read more here.

Rainforest Rev: Human Capital and Celebrities’ Secret Invesments


The Human Capital Report

World Economic Forum
Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century. To unlock human capital, governments, business leaders, educational institutions and individuals must each understand better the global talent value chain. Read more here.

Innovation Ecosystems: A New Way of Seeing 

Go Productivity
An ecosystem is a nonlinear complex adaptive system, and is therefore not the sum of its parts. It constantly adapts to changes in the environment – often in unexpected ways. Within the system there are dynamic networks of interconnections, and creation, destruction, survival and evolution. Read more here.

The Celebrities Secretly Funding Silicon Valley’s Next Stars

The Washington Post
A growing number of Hollywood actors and musicians who have turned their attention up north in recent years, pouring their personal wealth into some of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups. Read more here.

What Steve Jobs Was Missing About Innovation

The Globe and Mail
In Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, he pushes readers to discover their purpose, cause, or belief that inspires them to do what they do. To better understand the connection between passion, innovation, and a clear “why” is to help you to gain clarity on why your company exists. Read more here.


Adobe Kickbox Gives Employees $1000 Credit Cards And Freedom to Pursue Ideas

Adobe puts the creative process in a box, packed with exercises, suggestions, and a checklist of six steps. Each box contains a set of actions that employees complete to reach the next level.  This makes the concept of innovation a lot less abstract. Read more here.

New Generation of Rwandan Entrepreneurs Offer Tech Solutions to Farmers’ Dilemmas

PBS Newshour
The rise in entrepreneurship in Rwanda was planned. By 2009, entrepreneurship classes were mandatory in secondary school. The government also runs workshops, radio programs and contests aimed at promoting entrepreneurialism. Strong entrepreneurship is equated with patriotism and nation-building. Read more here.

The State Creating the Most Green Jobs Is…Georgia?

Georgia is beating out previous frontrunners like California and Texas.  Georgia is now No. 1 in clean-energy employment growth. Conservatives and left-leaning environmental groups pushed the state legislatures to support third-party solar-panel leasing. Read more here.

A Step Forward for ‘Womenomics’ in Japan

The Wall Street Journal
Japan raised the pressure on companies to hire more women and promote them to management, a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s efforts to revive an economy hobbled by a shrinking population. Read more here.

Rainforest Rev: Bias and Being Nice


Please, Not Another Bias! An Evolutionary Take On Behavioral Economics

Evolving Economics
A large part of our evolved behavior involves our desire to signal important traits and qualities to potential mates, allies and rivals. Our evolved minds are sometimes out-of-sync with our modern environments. An evolutionary lens provides a guide as to what people are looking for in a product. Read more here.

It Pays To Be Nice

The Atlantic
What an organization is a bunch of people trying to do something together. The goal of a business is to get the members of the organization to put the good of the organization ahead of their own personal good. Read more here.

The World Needs A Secular Community Revolution

This View of Life
We’re less religious than ever, lonelier than ever, and the loneliness is making us unhappy and unwell. Solution? Building secular community to provide opportunities for people to establish high-quality social relationships that are intergenerational and diverse.Read more here.

Teamwork Gives Us Added Personbyte

Financial Times
The word “personbyte” describes the amount of knowledge that one person can reasonably know. The way to escape the constraint of the personbyte is to work in larger teams. More complex products require elaborate networks of teamwork and collaboration. Read more here.

My Real-Life Shark Tank: Tips For Winning Startup Pitches

By Victor Hwang, CEO & Co-Founder of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
The recent winner of TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield provides tips on how to win startup pitch contests, and tips for judging contests too. Read more here.


From Casino Past To Entrepreneurial Future: Reno Remakes Itself

By Douglas Erwin, a friend and collaborator of T2 Venture Creation, from Kauffman Thoughtbook
EDAWN (Economic Development Agency of Western Nevada)created an entrepreneurial development strategy that leveraged the concepts from Brad Feld’s Startup Communities and Victor Hwang’s The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley. Read more here.

Top Countries & Industries Luring Global Talent: A LinkedIn Study Reveal

New data from LinkedIn shows certain professionals are moving away from countries like India and flowing into places like the United Arab Emirates. Tech and telecom play a prominent role among the most active migration countries. Read more here.

How Europe Is Finally Taking On Silicon Valley

Fast Company
The E.U. is taking legal and regulatory action that would boost local upstarts and rein in U.S. tech giants. The European Commission has proposed a plan to update and unify commercial regulations across Europe. Read more here.

Rainforest Rev: Altruism and Mindsets of Innovation


Does Altruism Exist?

Cooperation, and group-level functional organization that produces cooperation, cannot be explained by selection within groups. It evolves primarily as a result of selection between groups. Read more here.

Naming the Mindsets of Innovation

Stanford Social Innovation Review
Social sector leaders can encourage innovation by fostering three productive mindsets. Read more here.

3 Questions: Economies as computers, products as information

Massachusetts Institute of Technology News
New book argues that economic development is a special case of the growth of information. Read more here.

Empire of the Geeks

The Economist
At its best Silicon Valley is an expression of iconoclastic freedom and creativity. It would be a terrible shame if it became an unpopular and remote manifestation of elitism. Read more here.

The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Startup Compass
A newly released 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking is here. Ecosystems have become more interconnected and startup teams have become more international. Read more here.


Styling itself as the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’

Nikkei Asian Review
The establishment of a Free Trade Zone in Penang in the early 1970s has provided attractive incentives to foreign investors. Read more here.

How Did Israel Become a Hub for Innovation?

Though a unique combination of circumstances, culture, and a strong will to succeed, Israel becomes this hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Read more here.

Denver Job Market Lures Millennials

The Wall Street Journal
Denver has long been a regional hub, with established industries such as oil and telecommunications that leaders have built upon to create thriving sectors such as energy information technology and digital health care. Read more here.

2015 Global Innovation Summit Agenda



2015 Global Innovation Summit Agenda

You’ve never seen an agenda like this!  The Global Innovation Summit is not just a conference.  It’s a living ecosystem, and the world’s largest gathering for builders of the new economy.  We are proud to announce the agenda of the Summit.  No parade of talking heads and powerpoints.  Instead, we feature dynamic interactive learning, hands-on design prototyping, real life case studies, practical tools, and a 50-country-strong peer network.  Come experience an innovation ecosystem spring to life.  Register or apply for the Summit today.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.02.59 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Opening Ceremony: Welcome and Introduction to the Summit
A New Paradigm for a New Economy – a new economic model, one that nurtures the growth of ecosystems that foster successful new ideas, solutions, and ventures.

  • Victor W. Hwang, Executive Director
  • Mark Newberg, Deputy Director

Opening Keynote Interview: The New Capitalism
One that is based on collaborative teams, shared success among diverse parties, a hands-on “maker mindset,” and high levels of trust and rapid experimentation among creative teams.

  • Interviewer: Mary Kay Magistad (BBC Radio and Public Radio International)
  • Kamran Elahian (Global Catalyst Partners)

Design Lab #1: The Rainforest Master Plan
Small teams in a massive real-time, hands-on “laboratory.” Build your own ecosystem and work on designing solutions for tough systemic challenges offered by your peers.

Evening Event: Celebration of Art & Innovation
A live indoor street festival featuring talented and provocative artists, musicians, performers, poets, and others from Silicon Valley and elsewhere.


Wednesday,  February 18, 2015

Special Breakfast Session, sponsored by University of Waterloo
Regional Innovation Ecosystems: Foundations for Growth in the 21st Century.

  • David Fransen Ph.D., chair of the 2015 Waterloo Innovation Summit
  • Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech

Keynote Case Study: The Shinola Story 
Why open a watch factory in Detroit?  As the company has grown, they’ve created an entire ecosystem around the art of manufacturing and craftsmanship.

  • Interviewer: Loren Feldman (Entrepreneurship Editor, Forbes)

Design Lab #2: Ecosystem Mapping
When building an ecosystem, it always helps to view your challenges from multiple sides. Using leading edge design tools and approaches, the teams will begin to address the issues facing them all…and plotting the solutions.

Conversation #1: Design 

Innovation Inside: Building Innovative Teams
The art of building innovative teams requires skill, vision, perseverance, and the right culture. But how do groups of distinct individuals become high-functioning teams?

  • Moderator: Joe Sterling (Head of Consulting, T2 Venture Creation)
  • Pablo Salazar Rojo (Managing Director, Naranya Ventures)
  • Natalie Sweeney (Senior Business Innovation Strategy Consultant, Highmark)

Rubiks’ Cubed: Creative Problem Solving at Scale
Every ecosystem has its creative individuals, but what makes creativity happen at large scale?

  • Moderator: Ade Mabogunje (Senior Research Associate, Stanford University)
  • Megan Kachur (Creative Development Manager of Innovation, Walt Disney World)
  • Conrad Von Igel (Executive Director, Centro De Innovacion)
  • Maggie Hsu (Director of Marketing & External Relations, Las Vegas Downtown Project)
  • Maryann Feldman (Heninger Distinguished Professor, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Educated Insight: The Reinvention of Learning
What happens to education when students seek innovation skills as much as raw knowledge, when there are no obvious “right” answers to real-world problems?

  • Moderator: Diana Walker (Principal, Walker Impact Strategies)
  • Mark Hatch (CEO, TechShop)
  • Rick Beyer (President Emeritus, Wheeling Jesuit Univ.)
  • Wanny Hersey (Superintendent & Principal, Bullis Charter School)
  • Wayne Li (Oliver Professor of the Practice of Design & Engineering, School of Industrial Design, Georgia Institute of Technology

Case Studies: Design of Startup Ecosystems

  • Prafull Anubhai (Chairman, Ahmedabad University)
  • Marcelo Cabrol (Manager of External Relations and Innovation Lead, Inter-American Development Bank)


Conversations #2: Capital

Atlas Hugged: When Big Money Builds Global Ecosystems
By embracing ecosystems as a means to achieving returns, or by building ecosystems to address big challenges, leaders are charting new paths for capital at scale.

  • Moderator: Isabel Alvarez-Rodriguez (External Relations, Inter-American Development Bank)
  • Jason Baron (Managing Director & Head Portfolio Manager for Social Investments, US Trust)
  • Per Fredrik Ilsaas Pharo (Director, Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative)

Catching Waves: Investing in Emerging Ecosystems
How can startup investing succeed in emerging ecosystems? We’ll explore how early-stage investments are made around the world.

  • Moderator: Fernando Fabre (President, Endeavor)
  • Paul Breloff (Managing Director, Accion Venture Lab)
  • Kevin Fong (Special Advisor, GSR Ventures)
  • Jessica Loman (Director of Operations and Impact, Toniic)
  • Walid Bakr (Director, The Abraaj Group)

Making it Matter: Impact Investing at the Cutting Edge
How impact’s leading practitioners approach the dual challenges of making money while doing good and explore the ecosystem that has arisen to support their work.

  • Moderator: Cathy Clark (Adjunct Professor and Director, CASE i3, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University)
  • Raul Pomares (Founder, Sonen Capital)
  • Miguel Granier (Managing Director, Invested Development)
  • Johanna Posada (Founder & Managing Director, Elevar Equity)
  • Abigail Noble (Associate Director & Head of Impact Investing Initiatives, World Economic Forum)

Case Study: Investing By Geography

  • Moderator: Ben Thornley (Founder & Managing Director, ICAP Partners)
  • Ahmed Alfi (Founder, Sawari Ventures)
  • Nasir Ali (CEO, Upstate Venture Connect)

Designing Ecosystems Case Studies:

Ecosystems are being built everywhere, but what actually works? 
Catchafire has created an ecosystem of service, driven millions of dollars worth of benefit to non-profits and companies, built a tech platform for good, and made a market where none existed.

  • Moderator: Cynthia Muller (Senior Director of Impact Investing, Arabella Advisors)
  • Scott Schwaitzberg (Head of Enterprise Business, Catchafire)

Building Finance for the Under-banked
What happens when an underserved market intersects with an overlooked opportunity?

  • Arjan Schutte (Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital)
  • Jennifer Tescher (President & CEO, Center for Financial Services Innovation)

Crowdfunding Case Study

  • Jason Yuan (Managing Director, CircleUp)

Startup Ecosystem Case Study

Design Lab #3
All teams will create 3-D models of a real-world solution to a difficult systemic challenge. Synthesizing. Ecosystem prototyping.

Ecosystem Design Gallery
Featuring over 50 ecosystem prototypes and tackling a wide variety of global challenges.

Startup Showcase, sponsored by European Young Innovators Forum
Featuring 10 of the most exciting startup companies from Europe


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Conversation #3: Leadership

Phoenix Rising: Triumph Over Crisis
What happens in a major crisis when a leader must deal with massive challenges yet have few obvious levers?

  • Moderator: Michael Lesnick (Senior Partner, Meridian Institute)
  • Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (CEO, Afghan Institute of Learning)
  • Jeff Finkle (President & CEO, International Economic Development Council)
  • Michael Hecht (President & CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.)
  • Chid Liberty (CEO, Liberty & Justice)

Insight Included: Diversity by Design
Ecosystems thrive with greater diversity. So why is this so hard to implement in practice?

  • Moderator: Janet Crawford (Principal, Cascadence)
  • Kumardev Chatterjee (Founder & President, European Young Innovators Forum)
  • Ursula Oesterle (Vice President of Innovations, Swisscom)
  • Eric Ball (Treasurer & Senior Vice President of Finance, Oracle)

Case Studies: Leading the Technology Commercialization Process

  • Moderator: Soody Tronson (Founder and Principal, Soody Tronson Law Group)
  • Victor Hwang (Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Liquidity Corporation)

Case Studies: Leading Public Policy to Grow Ecosystems

  • Moderator: Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu (Managing Director & CEO, InfoGraphics Nigeria Limited)

Design Lab #4: Synthesis

Closing Keynote Conversation: Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Where does the entrepreneurial spirit come from?  How to encourage more of it?  This keynote interview features two of the most influential supporters of entrepreneurship in the world, one in social impact, and the other in the Middle East.  They will share insights, stories, and lessons on how to foster innovative risk-taking everywhere.

  • Nancy Pfund (DBL Investors)
  • Fadi Ghandour (Aramex)

Awards and Closing Ceremony
We announce the winners of the world’s leading awards for ecosystem building: The Rainforest Recognitions.