Rainforest Rev: Successful Innovators and Venture Capital Ecosystem

November 5th, 2013

Join us for the Global Innovation Summit + Week, a celebration of the rise of the world’s innovation ecosystems!  The GIS+W seeks to catalyze innovation across entire organizations, communities, and countries.   It happens on February 17-21, 2014 in Silicon Valley. The event is by invitation, but anyone can apply for an invitation. The new agenda has just been released.
We are pleased to announce The Rainforest Recognitions, the world’s first contest for innovation ecosystems!  We seek organizations that have transformed their economies, catalyzed the growth of other businesses, and created multiplier effects in their ecosystems.  Winners in four categories will be announced and featured at the GIS+W. Click here for more info.

The Latest News on Innovation Ecosystems

Growing A Venture Capital Ecosystem (Part 2)
By Victor W. Hwang, CEO of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
Align the incentives of venture capitalists with the rest of the ecosystem. If VCs are incentivized to squeeze every last penny out of their companies, many of them will. While that might increase the return on a single deal, it won’t build a sustainable VC industry. VCs should not be measured against a simplistic notion of fiduciary responsibility, where their only obligation is to direct shareholders. VCs are also responsible to the broader ecosystem that helps generate the value they harvest.  Read morehere.

The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators
Harvard Business Review
Experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Some studies suggest that radical innovation confers sustainable competitive advantages, but others show that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with some studies showing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, but others arguing for it. Read more here.

Mapping 60 Years of White Flight, Brain Drain and American Migration
The Atlantic
A county that attracts new residents, maybe young people or retirees, likely has the right amenities to lure them. Maybe a certain job sector. Or golf course communities. The broad patterns emerge as the two coasts and much of Texas gain population at the expense of the Great Plains during the 2000s. It’s clear that Rust Belt counties around Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis have lost many young people, who have relocated, on balance, to places like San Diego, Austin, and Atlanta. Read morehere.

Crossing the divide
The Economist
Coping with cultural differences is becoming a valued skill. The advance of globalisation, particularly the rise of powerful emerging countries such as Brazil and China, means that companies have to deal with business and consumers from a wider range of backgrounds. Yet many companies are bad at understanding culture. Walmart advanced into the German market without bothering to make even the most rudimentary inquiries about German culture. The company lost $150m a year and soon decided to sell out to a German rival. Read more here.

Lessons from The puzzle of innovation 2
The Innovation Rainforest Blog, Jamil Alkhatib, a friend and collaborator of T2 Venture Creation
Lots of ideas came to my mind about the analogy between solving Jigsaw puzzles and solving the innovation process puzzle in organizations. During the innovation process, one has to understand the overall problem and not jump into details of possible solutions. Consider grouping process issues and possible solutions by theme, without judging the solutions for ‘doability’.  After that, you can define sub-problems to solve and do not go into details in this phase. Frame and boundaries are important in innovation as well. Read more here.

Leveraging the Innovation Ecosystem for Business Advantage: a Cross-border Study  
This report gathers insights from over 1,100 firms in Ireland and Northern Ireland on their engagement with the innovation ecosystem and on their internal capabilities. A positive relationship between innovation and export orientation, where firms who export off the island display a higher level of innovation activity compared to non-exporters. The vast majority of these innovative firms are micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees; they can be found across all sectors of the economy in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Read more here.
Young People in Omaha Are Able to Take Bigger Risks
The Atlantic
Omaha has become an attractive destination for people who are jaded or intimidated by anonymous, exorbitantly expensive big cities. It has a tight-knit start-up community, thanks in part to its cheerleading blog, Silicon Prairie News, and the Mastercraft building, Omaha’s gigantic co-working space in North Downtown. There’s a lot of old-school money and industry here, too: Warren Buffett, ConAgra, Union Pacific. The price of everything, from cocktails to houses, remains very, very affordable. Read morehere.
Sweden is Europe’s most innovative economy, Commission says
Sweden is the best country in the EU when it comes to getting new ideas to reach the market, according to a new innovation indicator launched by the European Commission. According to the indicator, Sweden is the EU member state which gets the most out of its innovation investments, followed by Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg. Read more here.
Tech entrepreneurship proves to be the answer for Greece’s economy
International Venture Capital Post
In spite of Greece trudging through the sixth year of decline, Athens’ think tank, Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE), claimed the state was headed towards economic solidity. According to Reuters, an increase in entrepreneurship would certainly aid in Greece’s recovery. To date, Athens had grown in the technology scene with favorable startups such as Taxibeat. Read more here.
Can diversity come to Detroit’s tech scene?
Crain’s Detroit
When you look at the incubators, accelerators, early-stage venture funds, angel groups, they are collectively charged with creating our most promising business of tomorrow.  Detroit wants to figure out how to infuse more inclusion into this budding ecosystem. Read more here.

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