The Anti-Tesla and The Power of Women Entrepreneurs

The Rainforest Revolution
The Rainforest Revolution

 

THE BIG PICTURE


 

Why I Drive The Anti-Tesla

Victor Hwang, CEO & Co-Founder of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
T2 Venture Creation Chief Executive Officer and innovation author Victor Hwang explains why his new muscle car more fully captures the spirit of Silicon Valley than the many Teslas he sees zipping around town. Read more here.

 

Unlocking the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs

Council on Foreign Relations
Around the world, governments and economic experts are recognizing the power of women entrepreneurs as one of the most powerful and untapped sources of job creation. Read more here.

 

Blueprint for the Global Village

Social Evolution Forum
Rivalry and selfishness are part of the natural world, and can flourish in human societies, but selflessness and cooperation have always had distinct advantages. Read more here.

 

Elon Musk Is Right, Burning Man Is Silicon Valley

TechCrunch
T2 Venture Creation’s Greg Horowitt is one of the technorati quoted in this extensive profile of Burning Man that shows how the festival has grown from a party in the desert to “an experimental prototype for human technological possibility.” Read more here.

 

NextGen Innovators

Forbes
Profiles of rising stars working at the front-lines of innovation. Read more here.

 

THE LATEST NEWS


 

Innovation Lessons From China

MIT Sloan Management Review
Studying China’s unique form of technology innovation can help others find ways to make ideas commercially viable. Read more here.

 

Europe’s hottest startups 2014: Tel Aviv

Wired UK
Mandatory conscription in Israel’s armed forces for everyone 18 years of age may be a significant cause of the country’s impressive startup success. Read more here.

 

Berlin, The Startup City: Big Dreams and Growing Pains

Masahable
The multicultural mix that enlivens Berlin’s “Silicon Allee” has contributed to some uber-cool startups, but the German tech scene has had trouble delivering on its promise of exit-worthy hits. Read more here.

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS


 

Global Innovation Summit + Week 2015

Learn.  Love.  Build… Together.

February 16-20, 2015  |  Silicon Valley, California

40% early bird discount — last day is September 30! Plus highly discounted rates for students, startups, nonprofits, universities, and governments.

 

WE ARE HIRING!


 

T2 Venture Creation

T2 Venture Creation (www.t2vc.com) is seeking an ambitious, motivated, conscientious, and diligent applicant for the position of Sales Manager. The Sales Manager will be responsible for executing on sales opportunities and leads, as well as generating leads, for T2 Venture Creation’s three main product lines:1.      Innovation Design & Consulting Services
2.      “Global Innovation Summit” Sponsorship Opportunities
3.      “Global Innovation Week” Sponsorship OpportunitiesThis position is initially 100% commission-based.  Based on success over the coming year, however, this position offers room to grow.  If you are interested in joining Silicon Valley’s leading innovation ecosystem design practice, please send us your resume, sales experience, and writing and/or visual samples to info@t2vc.com.

 


Stop and smell the roses

You’ve got to stop and smell the roses
You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday
You’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way

From a song written by Carl Severinsen and Mac Davis

It affects nearly all of us, whether we are drumming our fingers in front of the microwave oven telling it to hurry up, wanting ever faster internet connections, or finding our attention spans are getting shorter, we have a need for speed.

One purpose of this blog series is to search out research findings and relate them to innovation ecosystems and particularly to the Rainforest framework. A framework that balances the science of innovation with the science of business is, we suggest, useful for economic development across a great diversity of mindsets, motivations, and worldviews.

July’s and August’s blogs about agile innovation ecosystems suggest that there is a need for rapid diffusion, spread, or flow, of information (knowledge, learning, innovations) if such networks are to be responsive. It is to this feature we shall turn our attention in this blog – with two caveats.

First, the results presented here are from several different contexts and there is no certainty that they will be directly relevant to innovation ecosystems. However, they should at least catalyze our thinking.

Second, all these results are based on modeling information flow along links between nodes connected in networks. There are ongoing investigations among researchers as to just how the structure, or topology, of a network of nodes and links influences information flow. Past research has also investigated the type of network structure, such as clustering, which enables rapid diffusion and social learning – and what features can block social learning. An alternate, and less researched model, is that of flow of fluids through pipes which we will consider in a future blog.

In their 2014 paper Rapid innovation diffusion in social networks http://www.econ2.jhu.edu/people/young/KreindlerYoung.pdf Gabriel E. Kreindlera at MIT and H. Peyton Young at the University of Oxford, derive results that are independent of a network’s structure and size. We will get to their results in a moment.

In other recent work, a team of researchers at Facebook and the University of Michigan have also been looking into information diffusion among over 200 million Facebook users and published their findings in Role of Social Networks in Information Diffusion http://www.scribd.com/doc/78445521/Role-of-Social-Networks-in-Information-Diffusion.

Let’s look at some of the conclusions from these two investigations about factors influencing information flow; those that appear to be common sense, others possibly less so.

Both groups note that innovations often spread through social networks as we respond to what our ‘friends’ are doing. However, in looking at how diffusion of information occurs there is a difficulty: did my behavior influence yours or do you and I behave similarly because we have common characteristics or interests (similar peer behavior)?

It would seem to make sense that if I only interact infrequently with others, that is my links are weak and there is not much similarity between myself and these weakly linked individuals, not much information volume is likely to flow through these weak links. On the other hand information flow should be strong between me and those with whom I interact frequently – my strong links or strongly clustered ones. Strong and weak links, or ties, and their role in stabilizing networks were discussed in our June 2013 blog. The Facebook studies have surfaced results demonstrating the function of strong and weak links in diffusion of information.

To quote the Facebook report: “Weak ties are collectively Information feed strong & weak links 1more influential than strong ties. Although the probability of influence is significantly higher for those that interact frequently, most contagion occurs along weak ties, which are more abundant.” Used in this context, contagion means the spread of information or ideas from person to person.

These results extend the classic studies of Mark Granovetter described in our June 2013 blog.

The MIT/Oxford studies discovered that that diffusion is fast whenever the payoff gain from the innovation is sufficiently high; greater payoffs produce greater speed of diffusion. For example, a technology may be adopted more quickly if the benefit payoffs are substantial. This seems intuitive. Less obvious is another finding that the speed at which an innovation increases when there are a “greater number of errors, experimentation, or unobserved payoff shocks in the system” (also called noise or variability). This may explain the remarkable results which are sometimes achieved in some circumstances by people working under unexpected crisis conditions.

Noise may be interpreted as the weeds in a Rainforest system, born out of uncontrolled environments and necessary for growing innovative companies. Shocks can be good for testing system resiliency, as long as the system as a whole does not tip into a chaos state. We will introduce Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety next month in discussing resilience. Finally, we know it is the connections between the individual innovation ecosystem components which are critical; non- existent or non-functioning links can destroy communication and knowledge flow without adequate redundancy.

How seriously should we take all these findings? How do they relate to the Rainforest model and Type 2 complex adaptive innovation ecosystems? These questions will be discussed in next month’s blog but I wonder if a paradox is emerging. Might designing lean and agile ecosystems in fact discourage adequate experimentation and learning from mistakes, thus defeating their very purpose? Could rapid diffusion in innovation ecosystem networks be increased if we, as the song says, stop and smell the roses along the way?

Next time: An innovation flow paradox? Shocks and innovation ecosystem resiliency.


Rainforest Rev: Roadblocks to Innovation

The Rainforest Revolution

The Rainforest Revolution

 

THE BIG PICTURE


 

There Are Three Roadblocks To Innovation. Do A Walkabout To Find Yours.

Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
Honestly listening to the people around them can help leaders find ways to overcome their organization’s innovation challenges. Read more here.

 

Innovation Reality – A Smuggler’s Tale

Guest post from an anonymous Rainforest builder, from The Innovation Rainforest blog
In this two-part series (Part 2 can be found here), an anonymous blogger exposes the grueling, front-line truths behind the happy clichés of the innovation trend. Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

 

The Lovers, the Haters and How They Helped Drive Innovation at Kraft

Knowledge@Wharton
Big ideas can be big winners, but you have to be willing to invest, sacrifice, and see them through. Read more here.

 

Charting the Innovation Ecosystem 

Industrial Research Institute
T2 Venture Creation’s Victor Hwang and Alistair Brett are heavily cited in this business analysis of the innovation movement, which may turn out to be more of a revolution than a fad. Read more here.

 

Was Territoriality Important in the Pleistocene?

Social Evolution Forum
Humans specialize in cooperation and in using culturally transmitted technology and social institutions that might have been difficult to sustain at very low densities. Read more here.

 

THE LATEST NEWS


 

Polish Government Announces $100M Fund To Support Ukrainian Startups

TechCrunch
Poland reacts to its neighbor’s political instability by offering assistance to small Ukrainian companies struggling to succeed in a nation under siege. Read more here.

 

Japanese Govt to Fund Start-up CEOs

innovosource
The Japanese government is launching a program to subsidize the living costs of entrepreneurs in an effort to fill the financial hole left by current subsidies that are prohibited from being used for living costs. Read more here.

 

Goodbye Silicon Valley: Why Tech Startups are Flocking to Megacities

The Guardian
New York’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg explains why the latest generation of disruptive startups is looking beyond the Valley to solve problems in the real world. Read more here.

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Brazil in the 21st Century 

Partner Event: BayBrazil annual conference to discuss technology, entrepreneurship and Brazil’s role in the global economyFriday, Sep 12, 2014, 9am – 5:00pmRock Center at Stanford University Law School, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, CA

 

Global Innovation Summit + Week 2015

Learn.  Love.  Build… Together.

February 16-20, 2015  |  Silicon Valley, California

40% early bird discount — last day is September 30! Plus highly discounted rates for students, startups, nonprofits, universities, and governments.

 

WE ARE HIRING!


 

T2 Venture Creation

T2 Venture Creation (www.t2vc.com) is seeking an ambitious, motivated, conscientious, and diligent applicant for the position of Sales Manager. The Sales Manager will be responsible for executing on sales opportunities and leads, as well as generating leads, for T2 Venture Creation’s three main product lines:1.      Innovation Design & Consulting Services
2.      “Global Innovation Summit” Sponsorship Opportunities
3.      “Global Innovation Week” Sponsorship OpportunitiesThis position is initially 100% commission-based.  Based on success over the coming year, however, this position offers room to grow.  If you are interested in joining Silicon Valley’s leading innovation ecosystem design practice, please send us your resume, sales experience, and writing and/or visual samples to info@t2vc.com.

Rainforest Rev: Feminine Leadership and Agile Innovation Systems

The Rainforest Revolution

The Rainforest Revolution

THE BIG PICTURE


Are Feminine Leadership Traits The Future Of Business? 

Victor Hwang, CEO & Co-Founder of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
T2VC Chief Executive Officer and renowned innovation author Victor Hwang explains that strong innovation ecosystems require high levels of connectivity, communication and collaborative sharing. Those are stereotypical feminine traits. Read more here.
Yes, Virginia, there are women nerds.  But how to make them leaders?

 

Lean and Agile Innovation Ecosystems

Alistair Brett, T2 Venture Creation’s International Technology Commercialization Advisor, from The Innovation Rainforest blog
In this two-part series (Part 2 can be found here), T2 Venture Creation’s Alistair Brett traces the development, components, and characteristics of advanced innovation systems, which incorporate lessons learned from lean manufacturing, agile software development, agile enterprises, and lean startup methodology. Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

 

The Persistence of Innovation in Government: A Guide for Innovative Public Servants

IBM Center for The Business of Government
A well-researched study finds innovation thriving throughout U.S. government agencies, including a surprising increase in initiatives that foster collaboration. Read more here.

Do We Choose Our Friends Because They Share Our Genes?

NPR
The latest research indicates that friends are as genetically similar as fourth cousins, but their immune systems may differ significantly as an evolutionary trick to provide greater protection from illness. Read more here.

THE LATEST NEWS


 

Europe’s hottest startups 2014: Helsinki

Wired UK
Nokia is only one of many tech success stories coming out of Helsinki, which is awash in budding mobile and gaming startups. Read more here.

Google To Open Campus For Startups In Seoul

TechCrunch
Google adds one of its signature co-working and support spaces for entrepreneurs to learn, connect and build companies in the South Korean capital, where flourishing startups are known as some of the best in Asia. Read more here.

The World’s Most Innovative Countries 2014

INSEAD
This year’s rankings give special weight to the “human factor” in innovation, including education, talent and mobility. Read more here.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Brazil in the 21st Century 

Partner Event: BayBrazil annual conference to discuss technology, entrepreneurship and Brazil’s role in the global economyFriday, Sep 12, 2014, 9am – 5:00pm

Rock Center at Stanford University Law School, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, CA

Global Innovation Summit + Week 2015

Learn.  Love.  Build… Together.

February 16-20, 2015  |  Silicon Valley, California

40% early bird discount — last day is September 30! Plus highly discounted rates for students, startups, nonprofits, universities, and governments.

WE ARE HIRING!


T2 Venture Creation

T2 Venture Creation (www.t2vc.com) is seeking an ambitious, motivated, conscientious, and diligent applicant for the position of Sales Manager. The Sales Manager will be responsible for executing on sales opportunities and leads, as well as generating leads, for T2 Venture Creation’s three main product lines:1.      Innovation Design & Consulting Services
2.      “Global Innovation Summit” Sponsorship Opportunities
3.      “Global Innovation Week” Sponsorship OpportunitiesThis position is initially 100% commission-based.  Based on success over the coming year, however, this position offers room to grow.  If you are interested in joining Silicon Valley’s leading innovation ecosystem design practice, please send us your resume, sales experience, and writing and/or visual samples to info@t2vc.com.

Innovation Reality – A Smuggler’s Tale (Part 2)

Guest post from an anonymous Rainforest builder

Conformist Hacking

Change, enlightenment, engagement happens one mind at a time, but a smart Smuggler knows not all minds are ready to be blown away with new ideas.

A smart Smuggler learns an individual’s motivators. Is it internal recognition or fear of internal ridicule if the idea fails?  Is it ambition, or wanting to stay below the radar because you have kids on their way to college and you can’t afford risk a change in your lifestyle?

For some, Smugglers inspire a wonderful vision for the future. For others, they go to great pains to minimize and explore fears (again and again and again). The purpose is always for good. Throw a block to allow change to happen, sometimes run or throw the ball, and sometimes be the ball! It may require finesse, or a bludgeon. It always requires a team.

Smugglers trust without expecting reciprocation. We know that in order to succeed risks must be taken, and we exercise our own right to take risks by identifying that our thoughts diverge from business as usual. This is how we attract other Smugglers, but it is also how we become radioactive to those who want to remain conformists.

Code language of the business conformist:

  • No
  • It will never be a priority
  • I don’t have resources
  • That’s not the way we do things here
  • The VP will never approve this
  • I struggle to understand why we would do this
  • Welcome to (fill in your company name here)

How Great Ideas are Assimilated into Large Corporations

For all of you entrepreneurs out there who want to know why it takes so damned long to get decisions made, well here it is: you are most likely to start your corporate incursion in the company of a conformist. Conformists are polite, and will tell you how exciting your product or service is, and how much promise it has, and they’ll make you feel really good. But they won’t tell you that they are not about to rock the boat internally. They will also fail to mention the fact that if they actually were to get buy-in from the boss, they would then be expected to implement, which means more work, which means no. So that will spin your wheels for about four months, and you will not be an inch closer to your goal.

You’ll do much better if you are lucky enough to connect with an actual Smuggler, but it will still take a very long time. First, your Smuggler will find out who are friends or foes of your idea, and understand the correct paths for gaining buy-in and for funding. Then there may be months of ‘seeding’ the pain of the problem your product solves, before your technology is even mentioned. The pain points tend to fall along the lines of “competitors are kicking our ass”, or “we had better be prepared for what’s coming”. Fear of being measured against the competition is worse (more motivating) than seeing what’s coming—unless, of course, the competition has already made strategic moves in this area!

Then there’s the task of explaining all possible solutions to various stakeholders, in order to move people toward the conclusion you have been hoping for—that this is a problem worth solving. Then there is even more time spent, understanding multiple solutions and unleashing a PowerPoint barrage that explains why you didn’t select certain vendors (‘CYA PowerPointing’). And if that weren’t enough, there are then iterations of how changes can be made, and committees formed to evaluate ethnographic research and (fill in the blank) other things that hold up progress, whether by coincidence or design.

There are a thousand good ideas, products, services and opportunities out there that can help corporate entities become better and bigger and more profitable. Unfortunately, if you are part of the innovation ecosystem and do not have an understanding of Smugglers and their networks, you’ve already missed the boat.

Smuggled Success

Sometimes Smugglers have to dilute an entrepreneur’s vision. It is a bad feeling. Nobody wants to make a potentially career-altering decision, so we ‘shrink’ the concept and its implications in order to reduce the perceived risk to the stakeholder. By this point we have a ‘yes’ that there is a problem, and we know that a ‘yes’ to even a watered-down solution is a big win, because it creates opportunities for us to pivot back to the original solution.

Ironically, the greatest success for a Smuggler happens when someone else takes credit and requests a bigger budget to deploy the idea. There is no greater win for a Smuggler than the acknowledgement that the idea is outstanding and is heralded by people in the organization without having to be prompted. Smuggling is always about advancing the idea. It is never about the Smuggler.

But we Smugglers can never rest, because once someone else takes over, corporate entropy asserts itself: corners are cut; integration becomes a nightmare; relationships are frayed; budget becomes a weapon; there are endless meetings. Or, better, we do get to manage the pilot, and it is a huge success, but is then shelved because some VP just doesn’t like it. Each of these developments call for more smuggling. Good Smugglers get the word out on the shelved efforts. We create movements. One mind at a time.

Code language of Smugglers:

  • Yes
  • Let me see how I can accelerate this
  • I will find resources
  • We need to change things around here
  • I will get this approved
  • Why wouldn’t we move fast on this
  • And finally, are you freaking kidding me? What do you mean we aren’t doing this already?

A Smuggler’s Core Virtue – Hope

In cell division, cohesion is the protein which keeps the sister chromatids together (that squiggly x thing you remember from science class). Anaphase promoting complex (APC) initiates cohesion destruction. Essentially, stuff stops sticking together after APC hits the scene. Fellow Smugglers, you are the most important part of innovation. You are the catalyst, the APC inside the corporate machine, disrupting the status quo and creating opportunities for growth.

In the sociology of science “Matthew effect” describes how eminent scientists will often get more credit than a comparatively unknown researcher, even if their work is similar; it also means that credit will usually be given to researchers that are already famous, even if a grad student did the all the work. Stigler’s law states that no scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer. Smugglers don’t care about credit. They care about results.

World, you have amazing ideas and products. We in corporate America know you need cash and speed to market. In order to get that, you need to stop, think, and understand how tirelessly the Smugglers inside a corporate machine work to create a shared vision of the future. It takes tremendous emotional and mental capacity to be a Smuggler; to answer the question—why am I doing this?

Our struggles don’t get featured stories in your inspirational magazines. We don’t require thanks. We do get just a bit annoyed when the glory of the light side of innovation eclipses our work.

Hail to the Smugglers of new ideas, the igniters of hope and inspiration, who work on the dark side of innovation! Our successes are celebrated behind the scenes, 12 to 24 months before you have even heard of the solution.

—–

SIDEBAR

—–

The Smuggler’s Manifesto

  1. Smugglers are a symbiotic, beneficial organism in any bureaucracy.
  2. The Smuggler’s mission is to stimulate new thinking, and to enable new products, new services, and new ways of doing things to infiltrate. They do battle on the side of innovation, against its foe, stagnation.
  3. The Smuggler’s passion is the safekeeping of innovation in all forms. They do not rest when progress is threatened.
  4. Smuggling is dangerous, because big organizations develop resistance to change, which becomes disdain for innovation, which morphs into fear and hostility.
  5. Smugglers become very adept in avoiding traps set for them. They conform as appropriate in the light. But in the dark, they strive to circumvent bureaucracy and overthrow complacency.
  6. A lone Smuggler will have a difficult time, but Smugglers recognize each other in subtle ways, and readily join forces.
  7. Through constant communication, Smugglers find new sources of inspiration and share them with each other. This makes the Smuggler an extraordinarily resilient breed.
  8. Smugglers may have any rank or title, but they are rarely limited by established norms of authority. Instead, they take what they need.
  9. Smugglers quickly learn the paths to those who need innovation to survive. These are the havens of the Smuggler, where they need not suppress their joys and frustrations.
  10. Above all, the Smuggler always acts in the best interests of the organization. Even if those who ‘rule’ the organization do not.

 

The organization that learns to treasure its Smugglers will gain market share, profitability, competitive advantage, and myriad cultural benefits. Organizations that become aggressively at odds with Smugglers are at great risk of losing them entirely. When that happens, weaknesses are progressively exposed, and like aging or injured prey, they eventually fall.  


Rainforest Rev: Education Revolution and Geniuses

The Rainforest Revolution

News on growing ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship

THE BIG PICTURE


The Education Revolution Is Here Right Now. Don’t Miss It.

Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
Henry Doss’ second interview with a managing partner at a higher education investment firm reveals the disruptive innovations that are revolutionizing the way we teach, learn, and live — and the forces resisting these changes in education. Read more here.

Genius Is a Team Effort

strategy+business
New books about Intel and Apple question the stereotype of the lone entrepreneurial genius, revealing corporate cultures that succeeded on the strengths of their “collaborative charisma.” Read more here.

When Does a Start-up Stop Being a Start-up?

Marketplace
This well-researched effort to define the word “startup” yields insights into the strengths and weaknesses companies experience as they reach various sizes. Read more here

Government Grants May Help Ease Business Challenges

The New York Times
Grant programs across the country are stepping in to help startups where angels fear to tread. Read more here..

Lawrence H. Summers on the Economic Challenge of the Future: Jobs

The Wall Street Journal
The ongoing drive toward efficiency and innovation will likely solve problems of scarcity in American society, but may only worsen unemployment in the U.S. economy. Read more here.

THE LATEST NEWS


Why Massachusetts’ Plans for Economic Development Could (And Should) Blaze a Trail for Other States

Inc.
Massachusetts is targeting $80 million in economic development outside the Route 128 tech corridor, looking to boost business in less startup-friendly parts of the State. Read more here.

Brasília Has a Life Beyond the Government with an Accelerator on the Horizon

STARTUPi
An article in Portuguese examines a Brazilian think tank that encourages tech startups in the capital city of Brasília through an approach the author likens to the Rainforest ecosystem of T2 Venture Creation’s Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt. Read morehere.

Chicago’s Tech Job Growth Near the Top of U.S. Cities

Crain’s Chicago Business
In the race to increase tech jobs between 2011 and 2013, the “City of Big Shoulders” muscles in line behind San Francisco, Austin, the San Francisco peninsula, New York, and Silicon Valley. Read more here.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Global Innovation Summit + Week 2015

Learn.  Love.  Build… Together.

February 16-20, 2015  |  Silicon Valley, California

50% early bird discount — last day is August 31! Plus highly discounted rates for students, startups, nonprofits, universities, and governments.

WE ARE HIRING!


T2 Venture Creation

T2 Venture Creation (www.t2vc.com) is seeking an ambitious, motivated, conscientious, and diligent applicant for the position of Sales Manager. The Sales Manager will be responsible for executing on sales opportunities and leads, as well as generating leads, for T2 Venture Creation’s three main product lines:
 
1.      Innovation Design & Consulting Services
2.      “Global Innovation Summit” Sponsorship Opportunities
3.      “Global Innovation Week” Sponsorship Opportunities
 
This position is initially 100% commission-based.  Based on success over the coming year, however, this position offers room to grow.  If you are interested in joining Silicon Valley’s leading innovation ecosystem design practice, please send us your resume, sales experience, and writing and/or visual samples to info@t2vc.com.

Lean and Agile Innovation Ecosystems: Part 2

Brown and agile child, the sun which forms the fruit
And ripens the grain and twists the seaweed
Has made your happy body and your luminous eyes
And given your mouth the smile of water.

Pablo Neruda, “Brown and Agile Child”  

There are three themes to pursue this month in our continuing quest to understand the science of innovation ecosystems. First is agility. In July’s blog (http://innovationrainforest.com/2014/07/22/lean-and-agile-innovation-ecosystems-part-1/) we introduced the notion of agility in innovation ecosystems and looked at some principles of agile manufacturing systems and lessons to be learned from them.

agile 4Second is knowledge reuse. In our October 2013 blog (http://innovationrainforest.com/2013/10/13/create-early-use-often-lego-blocks-learning-objects-and-ecosystems-part-2/) reusability of knowledge was discussed at some length. Studies on knowledge reuse for innovation from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab at Caltech were summarized which found that users were motivated to reuse others’ ideas if: work processes optimize exposure to diverse knowledge sources; there exists a culture within the project which encourages malleable knowledge reuse; and there are efficient ways to locate, assess for credibility, and flexibility to allow knowledge reuse.

The third theme is more difficult to name. Let’s call it ‘familiarity’ until we can come up with a better term. It relates to a thread running through several blogs in this series, namely that there are common, or at least similar, features amongst seeming dissimilar innovation and technology commercialization ecosystems. These elements are building blocks which must be correctly connected for innovation to bloom.

A few reoccurring examples of difficulties with these elements I have seen in countries as diverse as the UK and Colombia, or the USA and Russia, include: poor relationships between educational organizations and industry (it is commonly believed that developed nations such as the USA has the problem completely solved – but it is not so); help for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) during early stage growth which proved in fact to be unattractive to SMEs; new business incubators; proof of concept, prototype development, and scale-up centers which are underutilized or lack needed services; and of course technology transfer offices at universities and research centers which may be inadequately staffed or supported – or have unclear missions.

Weaving these themes together suggests a greater reuse of knowledge and ‘how-to’ experience – familiarity’ – should lead to greater ecosystem agility.

Let’s call these ecosystems Agile Type 1, and postulate the testable hypotheses:

H1: If an innovation ecosystems is Agile Type 1 then there will be a rapid flow (or ‘diffusion’ to use a more traditional term) of ideas, solutions, knowledge, and so forth through system and its networks.

H2: If an innovation ecosystem is Agile Type 1 then the ecosystem will be capable of rapid self-organization, be highly responsive to system environment changes, and respond efficiently to errors and external shocks.

Cusp 2Ecosystem agility Type 1 also indicates a dynamic innovation ecosystem which exhibits both self-organization and which may have leaders within or outside the self-organized groups. Some degree of direction may be needed for example by those who have knowledge of constraining conditions such as resources available or the need to protect intellectual property.

Such capacity produces ‘areas of stability’ in complex adaptive systems – a frequently observed effect – represented by the phase space projection (right).

In the Rainforest (The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley http://www.therainforestbook.com/) model these are farms with the rainforest.

Both these hypotheses are of significance when rapid diffusion through social networks is investigated. Results from these investigations are both intuitive and curious. They will help us to speculate on innovation ecosystems of Agile Type 2. These will be postulated as systems which are more vulnerable than Agile Type 1. Agile Type 1 can be thought of as an ideal case, whereas Agile Type 2 innovation ecosystems are closer to reality.

Next time: some recent research on the diffusion of innovation in social networks and more on Type 2 ecosystems.

All previous blogs in this series can be found at http://innovationrainforest.com/author/alistair2013/


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