Innovation in Silicon Valley Essay Example
Innovation in Silicon Valley
Over the past few years Silicon Valley has become synonymous with innovation. Just like Hollywood is a place where people go to become movie stars, Silicon Valley is a place where entrepreneurs go to build some of the largest companies in the world. I have heard stories of the enormous fortunes created by the technology industry in the Silicon Valley, and I was very anxious to come here. Coming to Silicon Valley is a dream of many young dreamers to come to the area with the hope of starting a successful startup. Having spent a short period at Silicon Valley, it is clear why some of the most successful companies have come from this place.
So my journey begins with a 13 hour flight over the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles and a short transfer to San Francisco. There I arrived at my hotel down town Union Square. San Francisco is a beautiful city and I was ready to interact with millionaires.
On Monday we began the first of our many site visits. First up on our list of companies to visit was US Market Access Center. US MAC is a tech accelerator that helps tech companies to quickly and successfully access the US Market. They have helped small startups to grow to global company through funding, partnerships and clients deals. US MAC has realized that smart firms manage for total innovation. US MAC is the home of legendary entrepreneurial culture that powers important technologies. Like any other accelerator, it provides the basics virtual and physical office space, conference rooms. US MAC believes in diversity and they work with clients from all over the world. Companies are also likely to succeed if they remain integrated with existing business (Nagji and Tuff 72). The teams working on adjacent innovations will also benefit from the efficiency that comes as a result of having close ties and thus get appropriate tools to take their work further. US MAC has realized the importance of networking; they work with more than 120 mentors and a number of innovation teams. One of the speakers noted that one of the key drivers of innovation is openness, and a closed door environment keeps you away from innovation opportunities. US MAC founders noted the importance of co-working with other business, as thy share their experiences and in the end come up with solutions that could have taken more than six months. Innovation is a social process; however it requires the necessary culture to ensure that discipline is maintained during the innovation.
Innovation requires an organization to have a particular kind of culture that allows collaboration, teamwork, openness where people want to take risks (McDonald, 12). Christensen, Marx, and Stevenson (5) argues that first step towards change initiative is to understand the level of cooperation between what people want and its extent. US MAC has cultivated innovation culture such as collaboration, trust and cooperation through leadership tools. US MAC offers innovation leadership to young entrepreneurs and offers a platform where they can experience as innovation practitioners. The US MAC culture motivate their student to be innovative, they work in teams which are responsible to develop product or service over the course of the program.
Last up for the day, we went to twitter. We spoke with various employees in Twitter who shared their experiences over their careers and how they can to work with Twitter. Twitter is a social networking platform that allows the use to send and read short messages. The expression of a moment or idea in form of a tweet has made it one of the largest social media companies. It was very critical for me. The employees indicated that when they started working for the companies, he found it they were consistent with his personal values. It was great to spend some time just chatting about his first hand experiences in innovative companies and to get his take on what you need to do to make it in the USA. One important thing I like about Twitter is their culture. One software engineer noted that their co-workers are very friendly and people are always willing to help. They conduct team meetings on the roof, and they compete in developing new products and this allows all employees to actively participate to ensure that their products are selected. This was echoed by Terblanche, indicating that a supportive organization culture encourages creative ways of solving problems and finding solutions. Terblanche also added that through socialization, employees learn how activities function. Twitter team meetings have been beneficial for the success of the company. Another attractive feature of Twitters culture is how it manage innovation portfolio. The compare ensure that they maintain the best talents, by offering good working conditions and this reduces the firm costs. Nagji and Tuff (71) noted that for a firm to realize to manage its innovation portfolio for a company to be able to execute its talent, integration and integration. Therefore, ensuring that the company has the necessary skills required for innovation is crucial (Christensen 36).
On Tuesday we visited Mitchel Lake. Mitchel Lake provides specialist recruitment and embedded talents for innovators from startups to global brands in high-tech space. MitchelLake has also partnered with other organizations such as Snapchats, 99 designs among others that are leading digital transformation for digitally connected consumers and businesses. MitchelLake has been successful due to the culture created by its unique recruitment model that creates an environment of shared success and collaboration. Also, the founders are engaged and genuinely want to contribute and this motivate the employees do what they want. As a result, there is a lot of transparency in the company. Martins and Terblance (68) noted that organization culture is a major contributing factor on the extent in which creativity and innovation occurs in the organization. MitchelLake has created a business model that interaction between all levels of organization that influences overall organization behaviors. MutchelLkae founder noted that charcteristics of its culture include transparency, collaboration and tech-driven. All this were echoed by Marten and Turblance (67) as elements that influence creativity and innovation. Also, there is openness of thinking which enable idea generating on solving problems. Strong leadership and direction from the management is an important tool that can be used to create innovative culture.
The next visit was at Salesforce on Thursday. Employees took us through the background and history of the company. However, what I found most inspiring about the talk is about how they have developed themselves and progressed in the careers, as also gave their view about career in the traditional sense. Salesforce is a cloud computing company that develops new software business. It uses a new cloud technology that is integrated in clients business, pay-as-you-go business model. I also learnt that the company organization culture is very unique. There is teamwork; job orientation and the organization give the employees support to feet as part of the organization. A strong customer relationship management is the backbone of its culture. CRM has created a stewardship mentality in the business. According to stewardship theory, a steward seeks to attain the objectives of the organization, and this behavior benefits the shareholders such as customers Davis and Schoormand 25). Salesforce keeps customers happy with its products that make customers life easier, their software have helped business transforms their enterprises. Having the staffs behave as stewards has transformed Salesforce from $50 million in annual revenue to $5 billion.
The last visit was at Hacker Dojo on Friday. Hacker Dojo is a community of member with a unifying love of creating new things. It is one of the tech hubs in the Silicon Valley that is act as a working space, events venue and maker space. Members come together to launch software startups or build robots in a shared desk space. Hacker Dojo provides a space for member to come together in a collaborative environment to develop new products and software. One significant element that has helped this company to excel is their openness culture where everyone can express their views without fear. The company offers a space where people with similar vision can come together and share their thoughts. This collaboration enables accumulation of ideas that can lead to development of new products. When people have a similar vision, it works to benefit the company as it drives innovation. A vision translates the mission into the intended results, when people share vision a deep sense of purpose comes alive. Drucker (54) indicated that purpose and vision are the core practices of innovation. At Hacker Dojo like minded people come together to share ideas and work on them, these people have the potential to develop the next Facebook or Google.
That concludes my tour at Silicon Valley, and I have learned a lot about how culture is crucial for the success of any business. A positive culture where failure is viewed positively has contributed to the success of enterprises at Silicon Valley. I believe we are seeing the innovation revolution in today’s world, and it is important if we can make most of it. It was an amazing trip visiting all the tech-enterprises that I had only heard of.
Christensen, Clayton. The Rules of Innovation. Technology Review 2002, 33-39.
Davis, James and Schoormand, David. Towards a Stewardship Theory of Management.
Academy of Management Review, 22 (1997)1, 20-47.
Drucker, Peter. The Discipline of Innovation. Harvard Business Review. 2002 53, 56
Nagji, Bansi and Tuff, Geoff. Managing Your Innovation Portfolio, Harvard Business Review 67 (2012): 66-74.
Terblanche, F and Martins, E. Building Organizational Culture that Stimulates Creativity and Innovation . European Journal of Innovation and Management 6, 1 (2003): 64-74.
McDonald, Bob. Touching Lives, Improving Life: Why Innovation Matters and How to Make it Work. Innovation Institutes of India Global Conference. 2008
Christensen, Clayton, Marx, Matt and Stevenson, Howard.
The Tools of Cooperation and Change. Harvard Business Review 2006 1-12.
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