3 — Why Silicon Valley isn’t just one place anymore

The culture of “Human Centered Design” was initially born in Silicon Valley thanks to institutions such as Stanford D School or consulting firms like IDEO.

In the 1960s, under the influence of the Esalen Institute, Stanford’s engineering school started to focus on “creativity and empathy.” Finally, the designer David Kelley, who received a master’s in design from Stanford and got deeply into the empathy thing, started the design firm IDEO in 1978.

After founding the company, Kelley was a sometimes instructor at Stanford. In 2005, he approached the software billionaire and IDEO fan-client, Hasso Plattner (co-founder of SAP), with, as historian Peter N. Miller writes, “the idea of creating a home for Design Thinking”, Plattner donated $35 million, creating the d.school, or “IDEO.edu”.

With, as historian Peter N. Miller writes, “the idea of creating a home for Design Thinking”, Plattner donated $35 million, creating the d.school, or “IDEO.edu”

Among other things, the philosophy behind design thinking promotes the idea that — given the complexity and accelerating pace of both technology and markets — there is no way to come up with a successful product right at the end of the “Research & development” process. Rather than developing a product in a laboratory for years, companies must create low definition prototypes and put it in the hands of users as fast as possible to check whether it fits their needs or not.

This way of developing products and services would later give birth to the concept of “Product/Market Fit”, well known in the current startup ecosystems worldwide.

Y Combinator in California, the seed accelerator that is dubbed the Harvard of start-ups and whose alumni include the likes of Dropbox, Stripe and Airbnb has been a pioneer of this approach with an unbelievably high level of success.

Y Combinator

Today, this approach has spread all over the world and even though Silicon Valley is still a world leader when it comes to fostering innovation, long gone are the days when the San Francisco Bay Area was the only place to be for the world’s most profitable tech ventures.

As with the current “Brain Drain” of tech companies moving from California to Texas within the U.S. (in 2020 Tesla, CBRE, HewlettPackard and Oracle amongst other companies announced they were moving their headquarters out of California) there are also tech professionals moving back to their home countries after having learned and expanded their professional network within the valley.

A decentralized network of innovation has spread around the world and this trend has even accelerated as a consequence of the pandemic.

This Chapter is part of a series of 8 daily posts, if you liked it, thank you for sharing!

Here’s the table of upcoming daily contents:

1 — R&D is dead, long live innovation?

2 — How startups fail, learn and succeed

3 — Why Silicon Valley isn’t just one place anymore

4 — Is Huawei a design company?

5 — How SpaceX agile methodology gave birth to Starship

6 — About Xavier Niel, Ecole 42, Station F and Kima Ventures

7 — How Africa is becoming an innovation powerhouse

8 — Conclusion: Innovating in 2021

See you tomorrow!




Business & Customer Insights Manager @LVMH #UX #Innovation | #ESSEC #MBA | Ex @PwC @PublicisGroupe

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Nicolas Jambin

Nicolas Jambin

Business & Customer Insights Manager @LVMH #UX #Innovation | #ESSEC #MBA | Ex @PwC @PublicisGroupe

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