Our Mission

Back in 2012, we put out a call that, frankly, we weren’t sure would be answered. We were driven by an ambitious mission:

Our vision is to make geography irrelevant to innovation. Every innovator deserves a fighting chance to pursue a dream, wherever they happen to be.

We believed there was a community of global doers who were trying to accomplish what others said was impossible.  They believed that every innovator could achieve great things if simply given a fighting chance, a level playing field, and a spot at the starting line.  That new ideas, solutions, and ventures could flourish anywhere, even in the most “unlikely” places and challenge-riddled regions. That we could cultivate entire ecosystems to support innovation. 

In other words, that we could design and build the infrastructure of the new economy.

So we trusted our guts.  We set a date, we found a space, and we put on an event.  The results... overwhelmed us.

The first Global Innovation Summit was a sold-out Silicon Valley success.  More than 400 leaders, from 49 countries on every continent (minus Antarctica) came together, representing governments, businesses, foundations, academia, professional services, the creative arts, and more.  What started as an idea became an expression of common belief, proclaiming loudly that: innovation is a great lever to transform the world, that economic value can be unlocked everywhere, and that serendipity can be designed across entire countries, regions, and corporations. We uncovered a community of “ecosystem makers” searching for a place to exchange ideas, a network to help them grow, and practical tools to solve real problems.  

We discovered a desperate hunger for answers.  Trillions of dollars and billions of lives are at stake when we consider the opportunity costs.  Think of the countless lives lost because life-saving therapies never make it to market, the hungry bellies of young children that could have been filled with the aid of agricultural technologies, the conflicts erupting over diminishing water supplies, the blood and treasure spilled over scarce energy resources, and the wasted opportunities because people with valuable information were unable to share it with others who needed it.

But the quest is not over.  The success of our first two Summits was the beginning, not the end.  To catalyze the potential of this community, to unleash the economic opportunities waiting within, we need your help.  To create new methods of finance, matching entrepreneurial innovation to the capital necessary for growth.  To deploy high impact innovations around the world, in health, water, agriculture, energy, and beyond, effectively aligning opportunities and needs. To nourish cultures that drive innovation, where ideas have room to rise, the resources to do more than dream, and the opportunity to create lasting change.

Whatever your mission, whatever your role, if you share these goals, if you believe that innovation is the path toward a better tomorrow, toward growth and progress across the globe, then we have a place for you.

So we ask you: join us for our third gathering of Global Innovation Summit + Week 2015.  Be a part of designing the future we all want to see.

Victor, Mark, and the entire team

Practical Tools for Visionary Leaders

We are convening a major gathering of leading entrepreneurs, executives, scientists, inventors, venture capitalists, journalists, investors, policy makers, social entrepreneurs, and innovation thought leaders. The Global Innovation Summit is the anchor event for Global Innovation Week.  Together, they form a celebration for people ready to take action in cultivating new innovation ecosystems. Our overall goal is to shift the paradigm for creating economic value by accomplishing these major objectives:

  • Assessing, measuring, benchmarking, and mapping innovative capacity
  • Designing real-life, real-time prototyping tools and frameworks to catalyze systemic, sustainable innovative growth
  • Implementing and experimenting with projects to build dynamic innovation ecosystems successfully

Leaders will share experiences, successes, and failures, and develop foundations for best practice. The Global Innovation Summit will focus on the critical elements of all successful innovation ecosystems, including the fostering of trust, innovation-friendly culture, linkages and networking, technology transfer, capital formation, leadership, partnership development, and mentorship. More than mere speeches, the Summit offers insights from leaders, case studies, and roundtable discussions with practitioners, coupled with abundant networking time for emerging market leaders to mingle with Silicon Valley executives and global influencers. Most importantly, the Summit provides practical tools for cultivating dynamic innovation ecosystems. Attendance at the Summit is by invitation or application.

Global Innovation Week is a public celebration of innovation ecosystems. Dozens of organizations from the Bay Area and the world will be hosting their own gatherings. All attendees of the Summit will have the opportunity to host their own events during the Week.

The Summit + Week follows in the spirit of a groundbreaking book on innovation ecosystems, The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley, which was awarded the Gold Medal for Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews.  Visit the website: www.therainforestbook.com.

How does the Global Innovation Summit differ from other conferences?

  • The Summit will not focus on building dynamic enterprises or products.  That is the "hardware" of innovation, and there are many great events focused on that.  Instead, we focus on building dynamic innovation ecosystems across entire countries, communities, or companies that can nurture the development of long-term innovative ideas, products, and solutions.  That is the "software" of innovation, and it is far more challenging.  We believe that designing that human software is the key to unleashing inclusive, sustainable, and sustained development.
  • We will provide new, different, and effective tools for building dynamic innovation ecosystems.  Our focus is on enhancing the quality of the connections, linkages, and relationships between people, rather than building mere institutions per se. It's fairly easy for leaders anywhere to construct the same set of institutions as they see in Silicon Valley. But these institutions will not, and cannot, generate the same results because they are not embedded in the same web of personal and professional trust-based relationships that are so prevalent in Silicon Valley.  
  • Culture is key. Explaining the dynamics of innovative culture in detail and showing how to weave an effective web of trust-based personal and professional relationships is one of the Summit's major contributions and differentiates this event from so many others.  As they say, "Silicon Valley is not a place; it's a state of mind."  The Summit's goal is to turn that intangible state of mind into a practical discipline that can be applied across all forms of business, government, and organizational development.

Victor W. Hwang on the mission of the Summit:

Mark Newberg on designing for serendipity:

Greg Horowitt on transforming communities:

Janet Crawford on the importance of female values:

Ade Mabogunje on humanity and its designs:

Thanks to Danny Gutknecht and Pathways for producing and hosting these videos.