Recipe: How to Bake Your Own Silicon Valley

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I’ve visited many a region that’s interested in creating its own “Silicon Beach/Mountain/Cliff/Island/Plane/Desert,” and that is truly wonderful. Along the way, I’m often asked what makes Silicon Valley successful.

The elusive recipe need not be hidden in a vault or passed down from Nana to her next of kin. Here’s a tried-and-true recipe that was handed down generation to generation in Silicon Valley for 60-plus years. Yes, it’s a family secret, but I’ll share it with you now.


INGREDIENTS:

  1. A culture that embraces failure. Only 5% of startups win, but they win big. Yet embracing the other 95% is required for persistent innovation.
  2. Ample education in technology & entrepreneurship. Successful tech regions have multiple colleges and a culture of continual learning.
  3. Plentiful Venture Capital — not just Gov money. Free-market VCs are needed to bolster the community, as govs can create friction for startups.
  4. Successful entrepreneurs re-invest — not retire. Once a CEO cashes out, he or she mentors others and invests funds back into the ecosystem.
  5. Density of population to foster serendipity. Most innovation happens in urban areas, fostering a frequent intersection of people and ideas.
  6. Attractive quality of life. Talented workers can work anywhere, so attract them with diverse culture, temperate weather, and quality lifestyle.
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How Corporate Innovation Programs Measure Success

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Corporate innovation programs are primarily measuring revenue to show success –but that’s a risk, it a small incubated program is being compared to the primary billion dollar business lines. ROI is a fallacy metric of corporate innovation. Basing program success on ROI too early, rather than dedicated innovation KPIs, will not yield an accurate representation of progress.

In our recent Crowd Companies research, “The Corporate Innovation Imperative” (available for download here), we found there is a startling chasm between what organizations are measuring around innovation and which KPIs truly indicate program success from infancy through maturity. Corporate innovators who implement realistic measurement plans that focus on innovation KPIs, not immediate ROI, find greater executive support and are given adequate time to deliver results.

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These Drones are Coming Over to Your House

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Ten innovations to watch in retail and logistics

By Jeremiah Owyang, with co-contributor Ryan Brinks

Drones come in many shapes and sizes, and are coming to a front door near you. Retail, logistics, and the way we shop and consume will never be the same.

We call this trend the “Autonomous World” when robots are able to augment, supplant and replace human workers at greater efficiency. It’s happening in all walks of life, industries and sectors, but the one area that will be most impacted will be the retail and logistics space. Earlier this month, I was a keynote at Etail, where over a thousand retailers were present to learn about how on-demand workers and autonomous drones will impact their business models.

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Corporate Innovation Challenges: Culture, Budgets, and “Frozen” Management

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In large companies, innovation is a willingness not to be understood for a long period of time


Corporate innovation leaders face many challenges when attempting to get innovation programs off the ground. Peter Schwarzenbauer, chairman of BMW (a Crowd Companies member), is quoted saying, “Innovation is a willingness not to be understood for a long period of time.”

Change agents are those whose radical, innovative ideas are not internally understood — and the culture of the company resists change that could conflict with existing business models. In our research, we tested to see if technology adoption, relationship with startups, or if understanding new trends would have been a primary cause of challenges — yet over and over, we heard that internal culture was the primary issue.

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Who’s Leading Corporate Innovation? Examining the Corporate Innovator Persona

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Experience and Education Set the Foundation for Leadership.

This is a detailed breakout from our recent report on the Corporate Innovation Imperative, over the coming months, more will be revealed about how large companies are behaving like startups –while using their unique capabilities as a large organization.

Attracting the right talent for innovation is a challenge for corporations competing with shiny, agile startups, as is long-term employee retention. Innovative corporations are building innovation talent pools by offering interesting programs, intrapreneur growth, and worthwhile incentives. Because, without a focus on attracting and maintaining innovation leaders, corporations are left seeking a hero to guide their journey toward change.


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Report: The Corporate Innovation Imperative

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Our latest research report is now available, which was focused on how large companies are internally getting ready for the many waves of technology disruption that are here now, and coming. Companies need to be ready, with a dedicated innovation program –not just knee-jerk reacting to each new set of technologies that emerges. We asked a number of companies on how they defined innovation, and heard this common pattern:


“Corporate Innovation Defined: Doing something new that solves customers needs –even if it may be in conflict with your existing business”

We’ve made a high-level partial version available to the public on slideshare, but the full report is limited to our members at Crowd Companies. Over the coming months, we will publish other insights around corporate innovation.

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Robots, Yes Robots, Could Be Trump’s Greatest Threat

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(image used under Creative Commons license via tecnalia)

The rise of automation is destined to replace some worker employment, and it could increasingly cause friction with efforts to create new jobs, a hallmark of the Donald Trump administration.

Many studies have forecast a day when repetitive and labor-intensive jobs will be recast by automation, though the jury is still out about whether the humans now holding those jobs will be elevated to more meaningful positions that utilize automation or will be replaced outright.

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Automation Is the Next Phase of the Collaborative Economy

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This may come as a shocker to many, but in the next few years, the peer-based sharing/collaborative economy will shift to automation.

I’ve studied this market closely and want to make some clear predictions on where things will head. Four years ago, I mapped out the Collaborative Economy, which is the phase where humans get what they need from each other (peer-to-peer commerce). In the next phase, the Autonomous World, robots will augment and replace humans, and they will serve humans. In some cases, robots will serve other robots as we advance further.

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Four Threats That Could Decay Silicon Valley

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By Jeremiah Owyang, from Silicon Valley

In many respects, Silicon Valley sits atop the world. Its growth and influence has made it the globe’s top location for innovation, STEM jobs, IT patents, venture capital funding, and Internet and software growth, and Unicorn startups galore.

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