How do we grow the Italian rainforest?Pubblicato: 25 aprile 2012 | |
What is an innovation ecosystem? Why certain communities are able to develop it while other fail? And most importantly, particularly these days, how do you build an innovation ecosystem in places where it lacks?
Rainforest, from Greg Horowitt and Victor Hwang, describes perfectly how things in reality are. This great book starts with a very simple point. When building an innovation ecosystem the most important thing is not the ‘ingredients’ but the ‘recipe’.
This sounds all so true from here in Milano, Italy. We have capital, we have talent, we have a huge academia infrastracture, we have the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit of Italians, we have the incubators. We have it all. So how come this is not the Silicon Valley? The fact that we have abundance of the ingredients for a solid innovation ecosystem is a prerequisite, but it’s not enough. How do you ignite these ingredients to create the next Facebooks? How do you do it, so that it happens in a serial, consistent way? The secret to build an innovation ecosystem is how you put together capital, talent and ideas and how they interact. I fully agree and if there is only one thing I could add to this concept.
I would say it depends on the ingredients, the recipe and… the cook.
Greg Horowitt and Victor Hwang are veterans of the venture capital industry. But their firm is quite unique. At T2 Ventures they practise extreme venture capital. While doing direct investments (the first T), at T2 they help governments in building up and bootstrapping their innovation ecosystems. They practise venture capital in ‘extreme’ regions such as New Zealand, Mexico, Egypt, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Palestine.
Rainforest is a great book and a very interesting reading about the inner nature of innovation. It will not give you the recipe to build an innovation ecosystem, but the map so that anyone can build its own. I would strongly suggest the reading to all the many people, inside the government and out, which today are working on this topic in Italy. We have the ingredients (well one is very scarse, which is capital), we have a new cook – our new government – is very interested in this topic. Most importantly we have a newly fresh born generation of startups and innovators, which have emerged. It’s a first blossom, but it’s still too fragile and it could be killed just as fast as it was born by wrong governamental polices.
Now the thing to do is only to design and implement the Italian specific rainforest recipe. And watch out, because the wrong recipe and the wrong implementation will kill the newly born plants or will generate a long lasting raiforest in Italy.