Rainforest Rev: One Week More, Wicked Problems, Innovation Leadership

The Rainforest Revolution

News on growing ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship


Count Down: One Week Until Global Innovation Summit + Week Starts.

It’s the greatest conference in the world focused on creating innovation ecosystems, the environments that accelerate the creation of innovative products, new ventures, and economic wealth.  Here’s what you’ll get…

–  Insights: discover how to catalyze and sustain systemic innovation in your company or organization, whether it’s 2 people or 2 million.
–  Practical Tools: learn how to define, solve, and prototype solutions for your challenges in our Design Labs; apply design thinking to overcome tough systemic challenges; hear the experts talk about the latest knowledge and the next big ideas.
–  Networking with Rock Stars: meet and work with pioneers on top of the world in startups, social impact, policy, academia, and creativity.
–  Finding Your Tribe: meet like-minded people who are engaged, passionate, intelligent, and determined. They face the same problems you do.  Together, we seek new ways of thinking and overcoming huge challenges.

Check out the GISW agenda and calendar at the bottom of the newsletter!

Register today at www.innosummit.com.





Don’t Try To Tame Wicked Problems: Part 1

Alistair Brett, International Technology Commercialization Advisor for T2 Venture Creation, from The Innovation Rainforest (blog)
A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is the opposite of a ‘tame problem.’ Tame problems are susceptible to logical analysis. Wicked problems are not. Most challenges in innovation ecosystems are indeed ‘wicked.’ The wicked problem is difficult to define. It has no single set of criteria for whether solutions are right or wrong.  There is always room for more improvement and potential consequences may continue indefinitely. Every problem can be considered a symptom of another problem. Formulae are of limited value because the problem is non-linear.  Each problem is a one-shot operation. Read more here.


The Innovator’s Leadership Imperative

Henry Doss, Chief Strategy Officer of T2 Venture Creation, from Forbes
Much of the success of any innovation culture rests on the foundation of individual and organizational trust systems. The trust quotient of an organization is stressed and tested when it is being led in a direction where change and uncertainty are the norm. Top-down, fiat-driven change is very unlikely to leave an organization in a powerful place. Change that is led by role models who are willing to accept personal risk to advocate change, and who will appropriately mediate the consequences of disruption, will in turn create long-term, lasting cultural norms amenable to adaptation and innovation. Read more here.


Angels And Universities: Finding The Next Google

Other than Stanford and MIT, few universities have figured out how to transfer their technology into successful startups. One reason for Stanford and MIT’s success is that their professors understand the importance of having relationships with entrepreneurs and investors. Their technology transfer offices understand that a successful partnership means more than a big corporate licensing agreement. Faculty, university tech transfer offices, startup entrepreneurs and investors each has a different agenda, unique culture, language and approach leading to misaligned needs. Read more here.


Innovation Alone Won’t Fix Social Problems

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Academia has embraced the concept of social innovation, which seeks to use entrepreneurial innovation to address the social issues of education, poverty, and public health. Noble though these intentions might be, emphasizing innovation alone won’t solve society’s ills. Students also need to be taught the basic civic skills necessary to bring about social change. Read more here.




As Technology Entrepreneurs Multiply in Vietnam, So Do Regulations

The New York Times
Starting a tech business in the communist country of Vietnam has its own unique challenges, including navigating the considerable and rapidly shifting regulations that govern the economy. Sometimes the rules aren’t always clearly stated or understood, so even entrepreneurs striving to comply can run afoul of regulators. Yet despite these obstacles, the tech industry is booming in the Southeast Asian nation, and new generation of startups is looking for investors. Read more here.


Unblocking The Pipes

The Economist
Africa needs a lot of capital. In contrast to its reception in the rich world, private equity has been warmly welcomed in Africa. But private equity alone cannot meet all of Africa’s investment needs. Even if they could raise enough capital, funds generally want to sell the firms they acquire within five years, whereas Africa especially needs longer-term investors to pay for railways, power lines and the like. It also needs a multitude of loans for small businesses because banks across large parts of the continent have proved very poor at providing these. Read more here.


New Entrepreneurs Find Pain in Spain

The Wall Street Journal
Government initiatives to aid entrepreneurs are uneven and tend to be dispersed among different agencies, with much of the responsibility left to local governments or educational institutions. Scarce capital, dense bureaucracy, a culture deeply averse to risk and a cratered consumer market all suppress startups in Europe. Spanish government has passed legislation for tax breaks, steps to limit entrepreneurs’ liability in case of bankruptcy and programs to teach entrepreneurship in schools. While economists say the measures don’t go far enough, they are helping Spain to grow faster than other major eurozone economies. Read more here.




Global Innovation Summit

The Global Innovation Summit is the world’s largest gathering for building ecosystems of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Here’s the agenda.

February 17 to February 19.  Silicon Valley, CA

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 

  • Opening Ceremony: Welcome and Introduction to the Summit
    • Victor W. Hwang, Executive Director
    • Mark Newberg, Deputy Director
  • Opening Keynote Interview
    • Interviewer: Mary Kay Magistad (BBC Radio and Public Radio International)
    • Kamran Elahian (Chairman, Global Catalyst Partners)
  • Design Lab #1: The Rainforest Master Plan
  • Evening Event: Celebration of Art & Innovation

Wednesday,  February 18, 2015

  • Opening Case Study – the Shinola Story
    • Interviewer: Loren Feldman (Entrepreneurship Editor, Forbes)
    • Bridget Russo (Marketing Director for Shinola and Bedrock Manufacturing)
  • Design Lab #2: Ecosystem Mapping
  • Conversation #1: Design.
  • Innovation Inside: Building Innovative 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)
    • Jeanine Becker (Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School)
    • Patrick Davis (Senior Officer for Strategic Initiatives, Calvert Foundation)
    • Emily Lutyens (Co-CEO, Legworks)
  • Rubiks’ Cubed: Creative Problem Solving at 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
    • 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
    • Moderator: Tom Guevara (US Department of Commerce)
    • Prafull Anubhai (Ahmedabad University)
  • Conversations #2: Capital
  • Atlas Hugged: When Big Money Builds Global Ecosystems
    • Moderator: Isabel Alvarez-Rodriguez (External Relations, Inter-American Development Bank)
    • Per Fredrik Ilsass Pharo (Director, Government of Norway’s Climate & Forest Initiative)
    • Jason Baron (Managing Director & Head Portfolio Manager for Social Investments, US Trust)
    • Gordon Myers (Chief Counsel, Technology & Private Equity, International Finance Corporation)
  • Catching Waves: Investing in Emerging Ecosystems
    • Moderator: Allen Taylor (VP, Global Network, Endeavor Global)
    • Paul Breloff (Managing Director, Accion Venture Lab)
    • Jessica Loman (Director of Operations and Impact, Toniic)
    • Walid Bakr (Director, The Abraaj Group)
  • Making it Matter: Impact Investing at the Cutting Edge
    • 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)
  • Case Studies: Designing Ecosystems
  • Case Study: The Catchafire Story
    • Moderator: Cynthia Muller (Senior Director of Impact Investing, Arabella Advisors)
    • Scott Schwaitzberg (Head of Enterprise Business, Catchafire)
  • Financial Health: New Solutions for Underserved Markets
    • Arjan Schutte (Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital)
    • Jennifer Tescher (President & CEO, Center for Financial Services Innovation)
  • Case Study: Crowdfunding: Circling Up
    • Moderator: Mark Newberg (5 Stone Green Capital)
    • Jason Yuan (CircleUp)
  • Design Lab #3
  • Ecosystem Design Gallery

Thursday, February 19, 2015

  • Something in the Air: Measuring, Understanding and Driving Innovation Culture
    • Julie Lenzer Kirk (Director of the Office Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Department of Commerce)
    • Henry Doss (Chief Strategy Officer for T2 Venture Creation)
    • Alistair Brett (International Technology Commercialization Advisor for T2 Venture Creation)
  • Conversation #3: Leadership
  • Phoenix Rising: Triumph Over Crisis
    • Moderator: Michael Lesnick (Senior Partner, Meridian Institute)
    • Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (CEO, Afghan Institute of Learning)
    • Jeff Finkle (President & CEO, International Economic Development Council)
    • Earl Robinson (Principal, RLMcCall Partners)
    • Chid Liberty (CEO, Liberty & Justice)
  • Insight Included: Diversity by Design
    • 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, STLGip, Technology Law Firm)
    • Victor Hwang (Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Liquidity Corporation)
    • Mir Imran, Chairman & CEO (InCube Ventures)
    • Andrew Farquharson, Managing Director (InCube Ventures)
  • Case Studies: Leading Public Policy to Grow Ecosystems
    • Moderator: Greg Horowitt (T2 Venture Creation)
    • Juan Camilo Quintero (Executive Manager, Ruta N)
    • Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu (InfoGraphics Nigeria Ltd.)
  • Design Lab #4: Synthesis
  • Closing Keynote Conversation – Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit
    • Moderator: Loren Feldman (Entrepreneurship Editor, Forbes)
    • Nancy Pfund (Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Investors)
    • Fadi Ghandour (Founder and Vice Chairman, Aramex)
  • Awards and Closing Ceremony


Global Innovation Week

February 15 to February 21.  Silicon Valley, CA

Sunday, February 15

  • 11:00-5:00PM. Family Science Days. Host: American Association for the Advancement of Science. Location: San Jose Convention Center

Monday, February 16

  • Capital Ecosystems event. Host: Kauffman Fellows. nestGSV, Menlo Park
  • 5:00-6:00PM.  Rainforest Architects and Makers Reception (private). Host: T2 Venture Creation. Location: Marriott Hotel, San Jose
  • Brazilian Entrepreneur Leaders. Host: BayBrazil.

Tuesday, February 17 

Wednesday, February 18

Thursday, February 19

  • 11:00-1:00PM.  Innovation in R&D: Lunch & Learn (by invitation only). Host: BayBio. Location: South San Francisco
  • 2:00-4:00PM. Convening the Conveners (private). Host: Opportunity Collaboration and Global Innovation Summit. Location: Marriott Hotel, San Jose
  • 2:00-6:00PM. Rapid Urban Prototyping for Green Clean and Lean Cities. Host: Urban Innovation Exchange. Location: Prospect Silicon Valley, San Jose
  • 3:00-5:00PM. Startup Funding Disrupted: Understanding the New Venture Ecosystem.  Host: DLA Piper.  Location: Xerox PARC, Palo Alto
  • 5:00-6:30PM. PARC Forum (with Stanford design researcher Ade Mabogunje).  Host: Xerox PARC.  Host: Palo Alto
  • Tea With a Twist. Host: Global Privat. Location: Marriott Hotel, San Jose

Friday, February 20

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