Global Innovation Project

As years go by, I strongly believe that you must learn every day, apply it in an intelligent manner and, when possible, share that knowledge with others. Pursuing that goal, I undertook the Master in Business Innovation from Deusto Business School last year and, in 2017, I will be tutoring the project of one this year’s MBIers. This post is focused on the Global Innovation Project, from Kathryn White.

Kathryn worked for some time in the financial aspects of innovation at a scouting office from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in San Francisco. As Kathryn herself says in the website she set up for this project (http://www.global-innovation-project.com/project-overview/), being involved in that environment, she saw that what made Silicon Valley so successful was its ecosystem and culture, but recognised that this model is very specific to that area, and that other cities need to find their own models rather than trying to copy the Valley. She wanted to explore other models being used across the world, and to map out the state of ecosystems in different cities. She has a particular interest in the potential for developing nations to disrupt the traditional innovation hubs.

In a bold career move, when her international assignment in San Francisco ended, she left RBS and took a year to keep learning about Innovation (signed up for Deusto MBI as her choice for Innovation academic training), and to pursue her idea.

An important part of her Global Innovation Project will be travelling around the world to explore the specificities of the innovation and entrepreneurship environments in different countries. She is not going to the well known comfortable “near-by” places, but really around the world to countries like Indonesia (where she is now), Russia, Nigeria, and Argentina. Her goal is to characterise those environments, especially through their startup systems, the living tissue of innovation. If she succeeds, and I’m confident she will, she will have the data and structure to recommend to regional governments, based upon best practices in other regions of the world (probably more similar to them than Silicon Valley), how to design or adapt their innovation environments to improve their throughput and social impact. I recommend you to check from time to time the project’s website (http://www.global-innovation-project.com/) where she will be uploading updates from her travles and findings.

Intuitively, we may think that an Indonesian innovative entrepreneur is quite different from one from Chile or South Africa, and all of them from a Silicon Valley startup. But is that a fact? Or is it just part of our typical prejudices? Well, the work of Kathryn with her Global Innovation Project can help us all to better understand those differences and similarities, but most importantly, to use them as agents of change and improvement. Good luck with your work, Kathryn!

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