Rainforest Rev: Lean Innovation Management and Nerdopolis


Lean Innovation Management – Making Corporate Innovation Work

Steve Blank blog
The author has been trying to find a unified theory of innovation that allows established companies and government agencies to innovate internally with the speed and urgency of startups. Companies that want to do continuous innovation need to execute their core business model while innovating in parallel. In other words, in an ambidextrous company you need to be able to “chew gum and walk at the same time.” Read more here.

Welcome to Nerdopolis

Capital Ideas, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Knowledge workers are reshaping the map of the global economy. The only way to move a city from a bad equilibrium to a good one is with a big push: a coordinated policy that breaks the impasse and simultaneously brings skilled workers, employers, and specialized business services to a new location. Read more here.

A New Powell Memo

Social Evolution Forum
A cooperative effort is required to establish a new economic paradigm that will improve the quality of life for society as a whole, not just a privileged faction. Read more here.

Hey Silicon Valley, joiners are just as important as founders

The Washington Post
Recent studies show that joiners may not have the extreme risk-seeking behavior of a rock star CEO founder, but they are more than willing to head up the key functional roles — especially R&D — that make a start-up great. Read more here.

The Benefits of Mind-Wandering

The Wall Street Journal
Mind-wandering aids decision-making by allowing you to run future-oriented simulations in your head. It’s ideal not just for thinking about possible outcomes but also for thinking about how different outcomes would feel. Read more here.


A Fearless Culture Fuels U.S. Tech Giants

The New York Times
For all of Europe’s advantages, its technology sector lags that of the United States. A dread of failure may be one reason. Read more here.

How Sweden became the startup capital of Europe

The Telegraph
If you played a game on your phone today, listened to music online or video-phoned a friend, chances are you used a Swedish company. Read more here.

Rainforest Rev: Understanding Noise and Steve Jobs


Innovation Is The Art Of Understanding Noise And Signal

Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
Looking at data solely through the lens of prediction is almost certain to distort understanding and insight. When prediction is the most powerful force driving your leadership decisions, certainty becomes your primary currency, above all others. Information then becomes the place you go to hunt for things to support what you have very likely already decided is true or important, rather than what you might discover to be true or important. Read more here.

Get Your Lab Coat: 3 Innovation Tips From a World Bank Science Expert

The Huffington Post
To model something is a way to approach complex problems. Then, you break things down and simplify. You can reuse parts of ideas and don’t need to reinvent a new concept. You can reuse those parts as the basis of your new business. Also, scientific skepticism can balance out an entrepreneur’s passion. Read more here.

The Competitive Power of Counterintuitive Thinking

The Wall Street Journal
To understand Silicon Valley, perhaps it’s best to start with this quote from Steve Jobs: “creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” In joining the dots, entrepreneurs and innovators recognize new product ideas that at first glance seem counterintuitive. But upon reflection, these ideas become obvious, commonplace. Read more here.

The New Science of Intentional Change

This View of Life
The planetary limits have been reached and economic growth threatens our very existence if we don’t change our dominant cultural paradigm.  The great challenge of this epoch is planetary stabilization. Read more here.

Did the internet prevent all invention from moving to one place?

The diffusion of the internet has had varying effects on the location of economic activity, leading to both increases and decreases in geographic concentration. Some argue that the internet worked against increasing concentration in invention. This relationship is particularly strong for inventions with more than one inventor, and when inventors live in different cities. Read more here.


Start-up city

The Economist
Paris is changing. The young are no longer drawn to corporate life. Unemployment among graduates is 10%. Successful entrepreneurs and investors now show what is possible. Finally, the Socialist government, which once whacked entrepreneurs with taxes, has changed. Read more here.

With a clear vision, proposed tech corridor can happen

Albuquerque Journal
An internationally known urban planning architecture firm is recruited by the University of New Mexico’s Robert Frank and engaged primarily by UNM, but also by the city to help chart its course to the creation of a vibrant new urban technology corridor. This firm is adopting the “Rainforest” framework in its design of the new urban technology corridor. Read more here.

2015 Crossroads Report

A new report came out about Australia and its opportunity to transition from an economy based on resources, primary industries and domestically focused businesses to one based on high-growth knowledge-intensive businesses. Read more here.

Rainforest Rev: Aspen Institute and Innovation


Get to Know the Aspen Institute

Aspen Institute
Two books that really shape our thinking as we build out the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute are Victor Hwang’s “The Rainforest,” which explains that innovation is a result of networks and relationships — it’s not a top-down process, and “Searching for Necessity” by a design consultancy called TomorrowToday, which identifies amazing community based innovation work across the country. Read more here.

Innovation That Matters

The “secret sauce” of ecosystem development lies in the creation of effective networks that bring together broad arrays of stakeholders within an industry; facilitate open exchange of ideas; and bridge cultural gaps between different groups to promote effective collaboration. Read more here.

Startup Balance: Finding the Harmony Between Work and Life

Kauffman Foundation
This book illustrates the reality of surviving the entrepreneurial life while trying to find the harmony between the people that love and support them and the dreams they are trying to accomplish. Read more here.

Beyond capitalism and socialism: could a new economic approach save the planet?

The Guardian
To avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, the world needs to move beyond the standard choices of capitalism or socialism. That’s the conclusion of a new report released Wednesday by US think tank Capital Institute. Read more here.


Behind China’s Billion-Dollar Startups: Alumni of Alibaba, Tencent

The Wall Street Journal
A growing number of entrepreneurs who got their start at China’s three leading Internet firms—Alibaba, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. —and are now trying their luck at their own ventures. Read more here.

The Fintech Revolution

The Economist
From payments to wealth management, from peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, a new generation of startups is taking aim at the heart of the industry—and a pot of revenues that Goldman Sachs estimates is worth $4.7 trillion. Read more here.

In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits

The New York Times
The fake companies with imagined sales are all part of an elaborate training network that effectively operates as a parallel economic universe. They are used to combat the alarming rise in long-term unemployment while keeping unemployed workers stay current with their job skills. Read more here.


Wold Cup Tech Challenge

June 4th, 2015 at Microsoft in Silicon Valley
Don’t miss the 2nd Annual World Cup Tech Challenge–tickets are 25% off with code WCT25! This year, 25 startups representing 18 countries are competing for the Cup. Get tickets now and secure a front-row seat to the most exciting startup competition of the year. You’ll be able to meet entrepreneurs from all over the world, as well as Silicon Valley VCs and investors; you’ll also have the chance to learn from and be inspired by our keynote speakers, who hail from Singularity University Labs, Google for Entrepreneurs, and Blackbox. Visit http://www.worldcuptech.com/ to get tickets, meet the competing companies (and vote for your favorite), and check out the judges and panelists.

Rainforest Rev: Innovation Begins And Ends In Idealism


Innovation Begins And Ends In Idealism

By Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes 
Innovation is found in idealism, in the notion that we all live and work — and prosper — when we are focused on making the world a better place. Innovation comes from the ability to bring together seemingly contradictory or conflicting points of view and approaches to the world. Read more here.

What if the Key to Job Creation is Baseball?

By Mark Newberg, Advisor to T2 Venture Creation, from The Huffington Post
A new way to measure how many jobs, above a baseline, any particular investment or initiative might be expected to produce. Similar to baseball’s Wins Above Replacement, or WAR. Read more here.

Building an Innovation Ecosystem: A peek beneath the canopy

By Evan Haines on LinkedIn
Make unwritten rules of creative cultures clear to new and existing members and ensure that they foster the right kinds of behaviors. Create or encourage the formation of communities where trust prevails over negative social pressure that buries innovative thinking. Read more here.

The Coase Lecture: Hubbard Applies Physics to Law and Economics

The University Of Chicago Law School
A professor equates neoclassical economics to Newtonian mechanics, the set of physical laws that describe motion at a macro level but doesn’t hold true at the nano level, and behavioral economics to quantum mechanics, which deals with physical phenomena at the less predictable nano level. Read more here.

Hayek and Business Management

Arnold Kling blog
Government often tilts the scale in favor of large organizations. The high fixed cost of regulatory compliance is one factor. Government has been a key customer in industries like aerospace, information technology, and finance. Read more here.


Cambodia: From Battlefield to Global Marketplace

Today Cambodia is one of the most open economies in Asia, where starting a business is relatively easy and foreign-owned firms can operate without a local partner. Read more here.

Tech Start-Ups in India Attract Big Name Investors, and Money

The New York Times
Intense interest from prominent investors is helping to drive eye-popping valuations among Indian tech start-ups. Read more here.

The rising number of female Egyptian entrepreneurs

Two key reasons behind the rise of female Egyptian entrepreneurs are a lack of public sector jobs, and continuing discrimination in the private sector job market. Read more here.

Rainforest Rev: Why Silicon Valley Will Continue to Rule?


Why Silicon Valley Will Continue to Rule

The Silicon Valley’s historian looks back to the past to envision its bright future – with Steve Job’s help. Three historical forces — technical, cultural, and financial — created Silicon Valley. Read more here.

But I’m not sexist – right?

Janet Crawford, Co-Creator of Rainforest Architects and Advisor of T2 Venture Creation, from The Guardian
Businesses need to stop equating masculine characteristics with leadership and represent women in more than just supporting roles. Ending gender inequity is a challenge that involves us all. We may not be to blame for the problem, but we are all responsible for the solution. Read more here.

Can Sherlock Holmes help us make decisions?

Alistair Brett, International Technology Commercialization Advisor for T2 Venture Creation, from the Innovation Rainforest Blog
In non-linear complex (Rainforest) systems wicked problems are the norm and deduction cannot be used. Forming an acceptable good reason that can be defended if they fail to hold up against a challenge will typically involve drawing non-deductive conclusions from observations. Read more here.

Regenerative Capitalism 

Capital Institute
A multitude of innovators and entrepreneurs around the world are experimenting with practical ways to reimagine capitalism so that it works for all levels of society, as well as for the planet. Read more here.

Millennials leaving government over lack of innovation, study finds

Federal News Radio
Agencies more willing to take on innovative projects and ideas are more likely to get the attention of millennials looking for jobs, according to a follow-up study to the 2014 Best Places to Work report. Read more here.


What Can Latin America Learn from the Israeli Open Innovation Ecosystem?

Cristina Pombo, a friend and collaborator of T2 Venture Creation, from Inter-American Development Bank
Israel decided to take the path of innovation and entrepreneurship that combined both public and private investment. Israel continues to increase its spending in research and development. Read more here.

The Miracle of Minneapolis

The Atlantic
No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well. Unlike America’s coastal megatropolises, Minneapolis doesn’t benefit from a proximity to other rich cities and their intermingling of commerce. Instead, it’s so far from other major metros that it’s a singular magnet for regional talent. Read more here.

An Incubator for Innovation

The New York Times
Silicon Valley, the nation’s engine for technical innovation, has turned its back on investments in clean technology. Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory has created a new kind of public-private model for commercialization to support entrepreneurial scientists. Read more here.

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.


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