The agenda of the Summit features a unique blend of expert discussions, case stories, breakthrough methodologies, practical tools, hands-on application, and inspirational vision.  

The Summit is not a passive event; your participation matters. Most discussions will be "in the round" without a formal stage.  Most activities will involve live interaction in a creative process. The agenda is geared toward intensive relationship-building, practical implementation, real-time "making" of solutions, and design-based modeling. You will learn, bond, build, and create together with your peers. You will experience a unique environment that is designed for you to learn about ecosystems while creating one in real life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Registration Opens



Special Sponsored Breakout Session

Hands-On Innovation: Prototype Locally, Innovate Globally
"Today is a prototype for tomorrow" is the mantra of Dr. Leon Segal, founder of Innovationship and former IDEO office head. Join him as he shares stories of innovation through design thinking, the human-centered approach championed by Silicon Valley's leading companies, and offers practical advice for aspiring innovators

  • Dr. Leon Segal, Founder, Innovationship



Opening Ceremony: Welcome and Introduction to the Summit 

A New Paradigm for a New Economy

Today we see the emerging outlines of a new economic model, one that nurtures the growth of ecosystems that foster successful new ideas, solutions, and ventures. The Global Innovation Summit is a celebration for the builders of ecosystems. They are the "architects of the invisible." We are pleased to present several new professional models, tools, and networks that ecosystem builders use anywhere that people face big challenges to overcome. That means everywhere.

  • Victor W. Hwang, Executive Director
  • Mark Newberg, Deputy Director



Opening Keynote Interview  

The New Capitalism

Entrepreneurs and innovators are defining a new style of capitalism, one that is based on collaborative teams, shared success among diverse parties, a hands-on "maker mindset," and high levels of trust and rapid experimentation among creative teams. Why does this new model of capitalism succeed? How can we leverage its growth across entire ecosystems in communities, countries, and large companies?

  • Interviewer: Mary Kay Magistad (BBC Radio and Public Radio International)
  • Kamran Elahian (Chairman, Global Catalyst Partners)



Design Lab #1: The Rainforest Scorecard & Radar

All participants will be assigned to small teams in a massive real-time, hands-on “laboratory.” Every participant will contribute their
Rainforest Scorecard data to build the first ever mapping of global innovation ecosystems onto Rainforest Radar charts.



Evening Event: Celebration of Art & Innovation

A live indoor street festival featuring the most talented and provocative artists, musicians, performers, poets, and others from Silicon Valley and elsewhere.



After Hours

Meet other ecosystem builders from around the world. Have a blast doing it. 



Wednesday,  February 18, 2015


Special Breakfast Session

Sponsored by University of Waterloo

Regional Innovation Ecosystems: Foundations for Growth in the 21st Century

Innovation is a high-impact, contact sport. Using work-integrated learning and a pay-it-forward mentality to cutting edge computer science and quantum information, collaborative leaders transformed a blue-collar community into a high-tech, startup supercluster.

Join David Fransen, chair of the Waterloo Innovation Summit, and Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, for an intimate exploration of one of the world's top 20 startup ecosystems. 

  • David Fransen Ph.D., chair of the 2015 Waterloo Innovation Summit
  • Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech



Opening Case Study

The Shinola Story

Why open a watch factory in Detroit?  Shinola decided to make an investment in skill, at scale. The company transformed 30,000 square feet of raw space into a state-of-the-art watch factory inside a historic building. Their production combines meticulous hand-assembly with advanced technology and, as the company has grown, they’ve created an entire ecosystem around the art of manufacturing and craftsmanship.

  • Interviewer: Loren Feldman (Entrepreneurship Editor, Forbes)
  • Bridget Russo (Marketing Director for Shinola and Bedrock Manufacturing)



Design Lab #2: Thinking Outside the Box

When building an ecosystem, it always helps to view your challenges from multiple sides. Using leading edge design tools and approaches, the teams will begin to identify strategic issues, visions for success, and articulate solutions to the real challenges facing the participants on the team.


Conversation #1: Design. 

Our “Conversations” feature highly-interactive discussions among guest speakers and the audience. Our goal is to recreate the feel of an acoustic in-the-round concert, but with ideas instead of music. 

Innovation Inside: Building Innovative Teams

Innovation isn’t an individual endeavor; it’s a team sport. The art of building innovative teams requires skill, vision, perseverance, and the right culture. But how do groups of distinct individuals become high-functioning teams? What is the invisible architecture of human groups? Whether at the earliest startup stages, inside enormous organizations, or across an entire ecosystem, this panel will dive into practical team-building steps for an (often) impractical world. Drawing on real world experiences and global insight, we’ll provide stories and useful tools to improve the building of 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 (CEO, Collaborative Leadership Consulting
  • Patrick Davis (Senior Officer for Strategic Initiatives, Calvert Foundation)
  • Emily Mochizuki Lutyens (Co-CEO, Legworks)

Rubiks’ Cubed: Creative Problem Solving at Scale

Every ecosystem has its creative individuals, but what makes creativity happen at large scale? How should communities, companies, and countries deal with seemingly intractable problems? Here, we’ll explore how to construct entire ecosystems in pursuit of creative solutions. Creative communities are not formed only by accident; they can be intentionally built by engineering serendipity. Whether for the re-invention of a region, or to design innovative products to be launched around the world, our growing understanding of innovation ecosystems shows that practical approaches can lead to solutions for the most challenging puzzles.

  • 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

Few sectors have seen such rapid transformation as education. Traditional schoolhouses are now teaching alongside Internet-based Massively Open Online Courses. Textbooks are being replaced by electronic tools. This panel will explore the evolution of educational approaches, frameworks, and goals. What happens to education when students seek innovation skills as much as raw knowledge, when there are no obvious “right” answers to real-world problems? What is the difference between teaching science and technology, versus teaching innovation? From charter schools and online universities, to maker-spaces and project-based learning, we’ll examine where education is heading, and how we should adapt for the benefit of workers everywhere.

  • 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

How do you catalyze innovation from the very beginning, and how do you change entire systems to support the innovators themselves? These case studies will examine how large organizations, across entire regions, can become keystones of innovation ecosystems. We'll look at tangible steps, and hear from the inspiring leaders who have taken on these challenges across the globe.

  • Moderator: Tom Guevara (US Department of Commerce)
  • Prafull Anubhai (Ahmedabad University)
  • Isabel Alvarez-Rodriguez (External Relations, Inter-American Development Bank)



Networking Lunch with User-Generated Discussions

We encourage participants to create their own mini-events at the Summit. People can organize discussions around topics, geographies, tools, case studies, or whatever else they can come up with.



UAE Interactive Lunch Lab

How do we create a Culture of Innovation within Government?

2015 has been officially declared the ‘Year of Innovation’ in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has one of the fastest-changing innovation sectors in the world and we will share the recently-launched National Innovation Strategy and some early lessons learned from the UAE innovation ecosystem. We will then break into smaller groups and seek your ideas, recommendations, feedback, and collaborations for steering innovation in government and the wider society.  Join this exciting lab, and please bring your lunch and your best ideas! The session is limited to 35 people. Sponsored by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation.



Conversations #2: Capital

Atlas Hugged: When Big Money Builds Global Ecosystems

Financial institutions are critical players in ecosystems, but there are no recognized models for how capital can build ecosystems. This panel will examine institutions that have responsibility for managing significant amounts of capital, yet are redefining the role of capital in growing more than their immediate portfolios. These are leaders within organizations who’ve taken a different approach, looking for long-term value that falls outside traditional metrics. By embracing ecosystems as a means to achieving returns, or by building ecosystems to address big challenges, they are charting new paths for capital at scale. We’ll hear from financial leaders, both in public and private sectors, who are daring to innovate, and we’ll learn how their lessons can be applied to the challenges that ecosystems are confronting.

  • Moderator: Mark Newberg (Managing Director, 5 Stone Green Capital)
  • 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

How can startup investing succeed in emerging ecosystems? Venture capital is already difficult in established places like Silicon Valley, but it becomes even more difficult when the ecosystem is still maturing.  Here, we’ll explore how early-stage investments are made around the world. Whether it’s microlending in Africa, venture capital in Asia and Latin America, or angel investors in urban America, investors must understand the dynamics of their ecosystems in order to succeed.  What are the common patterns to the common challenges? We’ll hear from some of the most innovative early-stage investment organizations in the world, learn what they look for, see what they see, and get a peek into ecosystems that are on the rise.

  • 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

Impact investing is one of the hottest topics in the financial world, yet successful investing remains challenging. Focused on generating investment returns by addressing social challenges, impact has captured imaginations around the globe, from the World Economic Forum to the heart of the capital markets. We’ll hear from some of impact’s leading practitioners, learn how they approach the dual challenges of making money while doing good, explore the ecosystem that has arisen to support their work, and dive into the decision-making behind investments that are changing the world.

  • 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)
  • Abigail Noble (Associate Director & Head of Impact Investing Initiatives, World Economic Forum)

Case Study: Investing by Geography
What happens when a region decides to invest in itself? How can a community leverage its resources to accelerate innovation? These case studies will examine the steps taken, and the process employed, to build innovative ecosystems in specific locations, and the lessons that can be applied wherever innovation seeks to spread.

  • Moderator: Ben Thornley (Founder & Managing Director, ICAP Partners)
  • Ahmed Alfi (Founder, Sawari Ventures)
  • Nasir Ali (CEO, Upstate Venture Connect)



Case Studies: Designing Ecosystems

We feature a high number of real-world Case Studies this year. Ecosystems are being built everywhere, but what actually works?  Come and learn about successes and failures, as told by real practitioners from around the world.

Ecosystems are being built everywhere, but what actually works?

Case Study: The Catchafire Story

How do you ignite a market? How do you begin to transform a sector? Catchafire has created an ecosystem of service, driven millions of dollars worth of benefit to non-profits and companies, built a tech platform for good, and made a market where none existed. From idea to execution, this is the story of how it happened.

  • Moderator: Cynthia Muller (Senior Director of Impact Investing, Arabella Advisors)
  • Rachel Chong (CEO, Catchafire)

Financial Health: New Solutions for Underserved Markets

What happens when an underserved market intersects with an overlooked opportunity? What if there were ways to secure a better financial future for the under-banked, while creating investment opportunities, and companies, dedicated to achieving just such an outcome. This case study will explore the work of Core Innovation Capital, a venture fund focused on financial inclusion and the Center for Financial Services Innovation, as they collaborate to change the landscape of financial access in America.

  • Arjan Schutte (Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital)
  • Jennifer Tescher (President & CEO, Center for Financial Services Innovation)

Case Study: Crowdfunding: Circling Up

Crowdfunding is one of the hottest topics around, but questions still surround it. What's really possible? What remains to be done? We'll focus on particular methods and real examples, while learning from a leader in the field. Building new ecosystems for capital isn't easy, but they can be transformational, and this case study will shed light on just how that transformation might be achieved.

  • Moderator: Mark Newberg (Managing Director, 5 Stone Green Capital)
  • Jason Yuan (CircleUp)



Design Lab #3: Building Solution Prototypes

Everyone at the Summit gets to be an ecosystem architect. All teams will create 3-D models of a real-world solution to a difficult systemic challenge. You won’t just talk about ecosystems. You will build them, in real life.



Ecosystem Design Gallery

The conference becomes a living gallery featuring over 50 ecosystem prototypes, tackling a wide variety of global challenges. You will get to share your creativity and ideas with everyone else. You will get to “see” ecosystems as you’ve never seen them before.



European Startup Showcase

Sponsored by European Young Innovators Forum

Featuring 7 of the most exciting startup companies from Europe.

Register here:



After Hours



Thursday, February 19, 2015


Special Breakfast Session

Sponsored by US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration and T2 Venture Creation

Something in the Air: Measuring, Understanding and Driving Innovation Culture

Think you’re making the best decisions to design an innovation ecosystem in your organization?   Join us  for an eye-opening discussion on how measuring and understanding what’s right in your organization requires more than just a lot of focus groups or discussion with your more creative staff.  Building a strong culture of innovation is a complex undertaking.  This session will be a conversation about what you measure, how you measure, and what conversations you have about culture that matter.”

  • 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

Leadership of ecosystems is a special craft, because ecosystems by definition defy authority. How do you lead systems that defy leadership? And what happens in a major crisis, when a leader must deal with massive challenges yet have few obvious levers? Crisis comes in many forms, and so do the solutions to it. From natural disasters to economic implosions, leaders are often faced with seemingly insurmountable problems. But success can be transformative, and leaders play a huge role. Here, we’ll explore leadership models that succeeded, stories of communities that pulled together, and the many ways that ecosystems can 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

Ecosystems thrive with greater diversity. Science tells us that diverse teams make better decisions, reach better outcomes, and achieve better results. So why is this so hard to implement in practice? We’ll explore the reasons diversity is so important, and why achieving greater diversity is so difficult in real life. And we’ll talk about concrete steps, using real-world examples, that can help leaders of ecosystems everywhere enhance diversity into teams, accelerate the process for diverse parties to come together, and increase the speed of innovation at scale.

  • Moderator: Adiba Barney (CEO, SVForum)
  • Kumardev Chatterjee (Founder & President, European Young Innovators Forum)
  • Ursula Oesterle (Vice President of Innovations, Swisscom)
  • Nola Masterson (Founder & Managing Director, Science Futures)
  • Bill Tobin (Partner, Strayer Consulting Group)
  • Eric Ball (Senior VP & Treasurer, Oracle)

Case Studies: Leading the Technology Commercialization Process

How do you bridge the gaps between ideas, research, and actual product? We'll examine some of the leading methods to make the jump, using real world examples of life-changing products that spun out of research labs and into the hands of consumers across the globe.

  • 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

How can public policy forge an innovative culture? The best leaders have the ability to build in the face of challenge, unite in a culture of mistrust, and see over horizons others don't notice. We'll learn from leaders who've been at the heart of ecosystem change, and have used the tools of public policy to make it happen.

  • Moderator: Greg Horowitt (T2 Venture Creation)
  • Juan Camilo Quintero (Executive Manager, Ruta N)
  • Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu (InfoGraphics Nigeria Ltd.)



Design Lab #4: Synthesis & Action

How do you transition from the creative process to begin implementation? This session guides participants to reflect and synthesize their learnings, then helps them shape their future to turn ideas into action and results.



Closing Keynote Conversation

Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Where does the entrepreneurial spirit come from?  How to encourage more of it?  This keynote interview features two of the most influential supporters of entrepreneurship in the world, one in social impact, and the other in the Middle East.  They will share insights, stories, and lessons on how to foster innovative risk-taking everywhere.

  • 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

We announce the winners of the world’s leading awards for ecosystem building: The Rainforest Recognitions.






T2 Rainforest Scorecard & Master Plan – Q&A with the Authors

You've heard about it. You've experimented with the new Rainforest tools. This session with Henry Doss and Alistair Brett, the authors of the T2 Rainforest Scorecard and the soon to be published Rainforest Master Plan, is all about how to get started using these tools in your area, plus an open Q&A about getting help with your unique conditions.


David Perez

David Perez currently serves as the 2014-15 Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. He is a repeat guest on the NPR storytelling series “Snap Judgment,” and author of the poetry collection, “Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypse” from Write Bloody Publishing. He is a professor of English at Ohlone College and has toured throughout the United States and Canada to give readings and book signings. His poem Surgir appears on the San Jose Mexican Heritage Plaza Founder’s Plaque.  In July 2012, Perez was voted “Best Author in the Bay Area” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s annual readers’ poll. He also received the Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship for Literary Art in April 2011 for his contribution to empowering Silicon Valley communities through the arts.

Charles Rangel

Armed with a top hat, a six-string, and a steak burrito, Charles Rangel braved the outer limits of space to perfect his stellar sound for the human race.  From the SxSW stage to the streets of Vegas, he is on a mission to deliver music to the masses. Charles began his journey as a street performer in 2009, in Venice Beach Ca. In 2011 and 2012, Rolling Stone Magazine featured Charles as their national "Street to Stage" artist. His unique percussive guitar style has won the hearts of many. He continues to travel as a street performer and compose for TV and film in Los Angeles. Recent credits include a Volvo ad, MTV House of Foods, CBS Lucky Dog, and the Esquire Network, just to name a few.


Kai Kight

Kai Kight is an emblem of purpose and ingenuity. He believes in a future where all feel compelled to offer their unique passion to the world. Described as a “virtuosic visionary”, Kai Kight teaches individuals and organizations how to become innovative leaders in their lives and work. A heralded violinist, composer and speaker, Kai has created impactful experiences for audiences ranging from top executives to MBA students. His mesmerizing and original violin performance beautifully becomes a sonic metaphor for the core of his message: to inspire people to compose a path of imagination and fulfillment. A product of Stanford University’s innovation mecca, the d. School, Kai remains fascinated by the leaders, artists, and companies who dare to be different. He has discovered some noteworthy principles which guide how they behave and dedicatedly empowers the world with his findings through his unique and effective CREATE: framework.