GIS 2012 Day 2: Trust is Key to Collaboration
After two days at the Global Innovation Summit, when it comes to talking about how innovation ecosystems can be fostered, a common theme that a number of the speakers have touched on is a sense of collective trust and fairness that is the basis for a successful ‘Rainforest’ (the metaphor for innovation ecosystems at this summit). It is this nature that has allowed Silicon Valley to become so prosperous as a centre for innovation, inherent perhaps in its very inception with the collaborative journey of the traitorous eight in forming Fairchild, and what, as many speakers say, is necessary for hopeful ecosystems.
An invisible stumbling point over any economic transaction is an innate characteristic of human beings, whereby they are reluctant to complete such a transaction with anyone in front of whom there is a social, cultural, ethnical or language barrier. In the opening session of day two, Victor Hwang, executive director of GIS 2012, said that in Silicon Valley and successful rainforests, such barriers were overcome by a prevailing sense of trust within and between communities that allowed exchanges of ideas, and paved the way towards a number of collaborations that may not occur in other places in the world.
This is essentially a summary of the idea covered in the book that he and Greg Horowitt authored, entitled The Rainforest. This collaborative nature of the Silicon Valley community is a culture that could be developed and sustained by aspiring innovation ecosystems over the world.
This is a notion that was supported by Randall Kempner of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, a speaker at a later session about Rainforest Dynamics who argued that there were three aspects key to innovation – assets, network and culture, and whilst the first has seen a lot of, if not excessive attention, the last two are equally important, and in terms of culture, he stressed that an openness to people and collaboration are crucial for innovative activity to occur.